Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Building ATop Bar Hive- Video
Are you thinking you might want to manage bees? Are you a "do-it-yourself" type of person? Would you like to see your bees build comb without the use of foundation? Would you like to build a hive from recyclable materials? Are you afraid of the heavy lifting that accompanies the more traditional, Langstroth box hive? Then, you might consider building your own top bar hive, an alternative approach to housing your bees.
Top Bar hives have a long history, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, they are used in development projects in Africa where these hives are made from almost any materials at hand. They are gaining popularity in the developed world, perceived as a more sustainable method of apiculture.
Monta has built two hives for us and they are much more pleasurable to work than our Langstroths. The honeybees build out horizontally instead of vertically, meaning there are no heavy, honey filled boxes to move around during late summer. The bees, themselves, seem less defensive since opening up a top bar hive is less intrusive to the bee colony. The bees are allowed to build cells to their own specification, rather than working from a "pattern" provided by the wax or plastic foundation placed in a langstroth frame. Recognize, there are some disadvantages as well. The bees do produce less honey in a top bar, and it cannot be extracted using a honey extractor.
Below is a video that will discuss building these type of hives. For learning how to manage bees in these hives, visit Phil Candler's website and purchase his instruction manual The Barefoot Beekeeper. Enjoy!