Bee equipment review: National multi function crown board

I’ve been lucky enough to be sent a special crown board to review by a small beekeeping business in Kent called Bee Equipment As well as selling beekeeping equipment online they also keep around 300 hives in the Kent area and sell nucs and queens.

As its name suggests, their multi function crown board (£16.65) can be used for several purposes: feeding, treatments and swarm control.

  • Feeding – Rapid top feeders fit easily onto this crown board. The depth allows shallow feeders.
  • Treatments – Treatments can be carried out when you turn the board over – so that there’s room for Apiguard trays, for instance.
  • Swarm Control
    1) Firstly find all the queen cells and allow to reduce to a single visible queen cell. Using the normal position, cover the hole in the Multi Function Crown Board.
    2) Find the queen! (easy, right?)….
    3) Place two frames of brood in a brood box above the Multi Function Crown Board and shake as many bees as you can from the box. Fill the bottom box with frames or replace existing ones.
    4) Release the queen into the bottom box, put the Multi Function Crown Board on followed by the second box full of bees with the yellow cap facing the opposite direction to the bottom box (there is a hole with a yellow cap on the side of the crown board).
    5) Take out the yellow cap, place the Multi Function Crown Board on top and close.
    6) Flying and foraging bees will leave the top box with only nurse bees remaining. Leave for approximately two weeks for the cell in the top box to hatch, and hopefully your queen will be laying.

Multi-function crown board

The swarm control idea is pretty exciting… especially if you are stuck for space and want to be able to do swarm control vertically. It’s too late for us to try it out this year, but I shall have a go next year if I can. Think it’s a similar concept to the Horsley Board.

I can’t review the swarm control function properly yet, but I can review their customer service – and I have to say their delivery service was maybe the best I’ve ever had from any company.

First I received an email to say the delivery date, giving a 1 hour delivery time slot and the option to change the delivery date, collect from a pick up point, deliver to a neighbour or have the order delivered to a safe place at my address. In a matter of seconds I was able to change the delivery date to a day I’d be at home. Brilliant!

Bee equipment order

On the delivery day I was sent another email giving me a 1 hour delivery slot – and it was delivered during that slot.

So useful! There’s been so many times I’ve had to stay in for hours waiting for orders from companies because their delivery time slot was all day. Especially not fun when you’re with an extremely active, easily bored toddler.

Order delivery













The product itself feels sturdy and well made. It’s good to support small local companies so if you want excellent customer service and competitive prices, plus a wide range of products, why not give Bee Equipment a try.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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4 Responses to Bee equipment review: National multi function crown board

  1. The Apiarist says:

    Hi Emily,

    I presume the little yellow bit on the side wall is some sort of entrance/exit for bees? Do they also provide some sort of circular one way escape for the centre?
    It looks nicely made and with exemplary delivery service – good to see.

    I think they’ve missed a trick not providing a big fat chunk of Kingspan or Celotex insulation to wedge into the space within the deep rim. The majority of my crownboards are like that, though made of perspex so you can see what’s happening without opening the hive.

    I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with using it for swarm control – I suspect you might want to double check for late developed QC’s and/or reverse the hive to bleed off more flying bees. If you don’t there’s always a chance they’ll swarm as the virgin(s) emerge anyway.

    A Horsley board is for swarm control and allows you to control the movement of bees between the two boxes. I built and used one a few years ago but found it was more trouble (both to make and use) than a Snelgrove board or a simple split board. Wally Shaw has a good (simpler than Snelgrove’s version!) account of using a Snelgrove board and I’ve written extensively about vertical splits using an upper hive entrance and a single colony manipulation. Both work pretty well … and both have fewer moving parts to be seized up with propolis than a Horsley board.



    • Emily Scott says:

      Hi David, yes the little yellow plug in the side can be removed and used as an entrance or exit. No one way escape was included. Thanks for the swarm control advice. The Snelgrove board sounds good if you have bees at the bottom of the garden but I can only visit about once a week so can’t be precise about the days as the Snelgrove sequence requires.


      • The Apiarist says:

        Snelgrove is time-sensitive if you follow the inventors instructions. If you follow Wally Shaw it’s a bit easier. Most people I know who use them don’t follow Snelgrove …

        I seem to remember that the nice article Michael Badger wrote about the Horsley board described its inventor using it as a solution to swarm control of colonies he could only rarely visit.


  2. Pingback: Bee equipment review: National multi function crown board | Beginner Beekeeper

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