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Top Bar Hives for Bees
September 27, 2010
9:14 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Im a beekeeper, I do top bar hives. First year. I was wondering if there are any other top bar hivers out there? In particular what are you doing to prepare for winter? Of course I d love to hear how your hives are going too. Thanks, Angela

September 27, 2010
9:50 am
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lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
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I don't have bees yet, but hubby is making me a top bar hive. I have never known anyone that actually had one so I hope you don't mind me asking you this question.

Am I going to get very much honey for our consumption from a top bar hive?

I have read such conflicting statements on this subject. I know I will get plenty of beeswax (which is great!) I am just curious about the honey aspect.  I do not want to  use traditional hives for various reasons.

September 27, 2010
1:14 pm
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Hey Melinda, Glad to hear your doing TBH!  This is my first year and I will be harvesting my honey, well some of the honey, this coming spring. Im waiting for the bees to over winter and use what they have made and stored first and foremost for them. I have heard lost of stories too. What I have heard from more experienced TBH is that yes! You get lots of honey. One lady told me she harvested 100 lbs from one tbh!!!! And keep in mind that wasnt all, you never take all the honey. Save some for the bees please. Im hopeful about the honey too. Not sure Id need that much though. Im still holding my breath, Im in Michigan and its getting cool here. Winter is hard on the bees and I hope, pray and cross everything that my bees make it through. They seem to be a strong hive and thats in their favor.

Thanks again for choosing TBH, Lets keep in touch :)

Angela

September 27, 2010
2:46 pm
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rileysmom
Rural Montana
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Hi Ang…….lurk ….lurk!!!!

September 27, 2010
3:32 pm
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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HA! HA! You are sooo funny!  My way out there….rural…sister! LOL!   You make my day.hug

September 27, 2010
4:06 pm
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lavenderblue
WNY
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AngelaP, do bees need to be kept in the sun? Top bar hives look so unlike any bee hives I've ever seen that I'm considering starting one here in town until somebody asks what that wooden box is. But I don't have a lot of room or a lot of sun. I'd have to keep it kind of hidden, sort guerilla bee keeping.

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.  Ogden Nash

September 28, 2010
4:11 pm
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KentuckyFarmGirl
Kentucky
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Beekeeping is something I've always wanted to do but never have.  I like how these hives are made and they look/sound easy to take care of.

Living, learning and loving on our little farm in Kentucky! 

Soapmaking for Beginners and My Country Blog of This and That

September 28, 2010
4:27 pm
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Flatlander
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You girls are  brave, I think bee's are soooo creepy.

Not in a million years would I even consider keeping a bee.

September 28, 2010
6:05 pm
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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lavenderblue said:

AngelaP, do bees need to be kept in the sun? Top bar hives look so unlike any bee hives I've ever seen that I'm considering starting one here in town until somebody asks what that wooden box is. But I don't have a lot of room or a lot of sun. I'd have to keep it kind of hidden, sort guerilla bee keeping.


 

Hey Lavenderblue, I really hope you do get to keep bees even if they are “guerilla” bees. I know a guy in downtown **** Major city in Michigan left blank for incrimination purposes ;)…anyways, he has 50 “guerilla” hives. Go for it. IF theres a will, theres a way, I say. Besides its not like your keeping lions, tigers and bears!

 No they dont need to be in direct sunlight. If possible have the opening to the hive facing east…If not, dont worry. They get to where they need to go. As long as they have a happy, healthy home, with room and a food source, your set. Bees will travel approx 7 miles in search of nectar/pollen. 

Check it out. You wont be sorry. 

September 28, 2010
8:25 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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NYC just changed their laws so that beekeeping is now legal!  There are a lot more terra gardens as well as rooftop and patio gardens in NYC than anyone realizes, not to mention the parks! 

Even if you don't get a million pounds of honey in return, having bees will provide a return in garden production that is well worth it!!!  Gardens NEED bees!!!  I've considered trying to keep bees, but it's pretty intimidating.  It's tempting for me to give it a try, but my time and current assests are a bit limited.

I'm so looking forward to hearing all about your efforts!!! 

Located in N.E. Ohio

September 28, 2010
9:50 pm
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bonita
north east IL
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A friend of mine kept bees on the roof of his building (3 story) for years. At one time he needed to be very secretive about it, but no more! About a decade ago, he helped establish hives on City Hall's roof garden and more recently on the site of a now demolished industrial building in one of the city's depressed areas. The bees there are tended by the under-employed; the business is dedicated to sustainable
agricultural practices. The 60 hives are owned by the members.  In addition to honey, they make several types of pure beeswax candles and a few honey-based beauty products. 

Urban bee hives along industrial train tracks. (That's the Willis, nee Sears, Tower in the distance.)

 Beez izz good!

Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

September 30, 2010
7:23 am
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Runningtrails - Sheryl
Barrie, Ontario
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I have wanted to keep bees in top bar hives for years. I haven't started it yet, but consider it every spring. I am glad more people are using TBH !

Sheryl - sherylgallant.blogspot.com - providence-acres.blogspot.com

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  - 1 Thes. 4:11

September 30, 2010
7:37 am
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hershiesgirl
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KentuckyFarmGirl said:

Beekeeping is something I've always wanted to do but never have.  I like how these hives are made and they look/sound easy to take care of.


 

I have a good friend that makes his living with bees, and I am very fascinated with those busy little pollinators!

 

The beehive should be in as much sun as you can put them in. Shade attracts hive pests– hive moths and ants, and will create an environment for moisture buildup on your wood which can result in mold and moss growth.  Avoid facing them North, to keep cold winds from blowing into the hive in colder weather. East is good.

 

I don't know anyone that has tried the top-bar hives, so I am anxious to hear about them. I know there are pros and cons to both types of hives, but the simplicity of the top bar makes it very tempting to try.

September 30, 2010
8:19 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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BuckeyeGirl said:

NYC just changed their laws so that beekeeping is now legal!  There are a lot more terra gardens as well as rooftop and patio gardens in NYC than anyone realizes, not to mention the parks! 

Even if you don't get a million pounds of honey in return, having bees will provide a return in garden production that is well worth it!!!  Gardens NEED bees!!!  I've considered trying to keep bees, but it's pretty intimidating.  It's tempting for me to give it a try, but my time and current assests are a bit limited.

I'm so looking forward to hearing all about your efforts!!! 


 

I so love hearing of change for the better! Thanks for sharing….Now on to the next city, town or other places where bees are needed!knight

September 30, 2010
8:31 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Here are some sites that might of interest. I hope its  o.k to post them here????

http://www.biobees.com

http://www.beethinking.com

http://www.stellerapiaries.com   my BEEps!

http://www.bushfarms.com

http://www.outdoorplace.org

http://www.sparkybeegirl.com

http://www.michiganbeekeepers.com This one is extra special ;)

 Im really trying to get more interest  into TBH and beekeeping methods. The more you learn about it, you cant help but get just as excited!!!

My TBH ( Top Bar Hive) Is based on the Kenyan design. I/we modified the design for the northern climate. We added a base board over the bottom. In Africa, where these hives originated, they dont need to be worried with such silliness as “snow!” There is also Tanzanian. Id like to try that one this spring.

Do a google search, read study and learn about all things that you find fascinating, especailly TBH!

Best of luck fellow beekeeper.sun

September 30, 2010
9:01 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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hershiesgirl said:

KentuckyFarmGirl said:

Beekeeping is something I've always wanted to do but never have.  I like how these hives are made and they look/sound easy to take care of.


I have a good friend that makes his living with bees, and I am very fascinated with those busy little pollinators!

The beehive should be in as much sun as you can put them in. Shade attracts hive pests– hive moths and ants, and will create an environment for moisture buildup on your wood which can result in mold and moss growth.  Avoid facing them North, to keep cold winds from blowing into the hive in colder weather. East is good.
 

I don't know anyone that has tried the top-bar hives, so I am anxious to hear about them. I know there are pros and cons to both types of hives, but the simplicity of the top bar makes it very tempting to try.


 

TBH are quite  different than the traditional langstroth method. TBH- I think- focus more on the bees, after all they know best. Hive pests are  waaayyyy  fewer. For instance that pest, Verora Mitespinning-devilthat is so rampant in langstroth is almost, not completely, but  ( very) few and far between for TBH. Moisture, with the design of the roof, it creates a natural chimney. Ants are always an issue. You can place the legs of your TBH in shallow buckets of water or apply Vaseline or another like substance to the legs and ants get caught in it and cant get through. Do keep the weeds down around your  TBH so other hive pests cant have entrance. How wonderful is that? No chemicals either.happy-flower

I say Try it, you'll like!yes

September 30, 2010
2:34 pm
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hershiesgirl
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I am waiting till we move to N Alabama to start beehives. 1- I don't want to have to move them and 2- here in FL we have those nasty Africanized bees moving in, and that just scares the poo out of me. :)

October 1, 2010
9:59 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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I am very interested in learning more about the Top Bar hives… been doing a little reading online about them.  Please fill us in on the basics of starting a TB hive… can it be started in the fall, or is it best to wait till spring?

October 1, 2010
10:34 am
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Pete
WV
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Uhm.  Going to display complete ignorance here (like what else is new? cool), but those pics of the bee boxes look like every other bee box I've seen.  Is something different inside them?

Neighbors had bees growing up, and they sure seemed easy to care for, but what does a kid know!  All I remember is setting up the boxes, then getting some bees somewhere.  Since they were known all over to be beekeepers, they got fairly frequent calls to come get a stray hive that was somewhere it shouldn't be.  The harvesting of the honey was a glorious time.  Just loved sucking on that comb!!  Yummy!  (If you helped with the processing just a little, you got to snag some of those stray bits of comb which still had plenty of honey on it to make the “helping” entirely worthwhile.)

Don't remember these neighbors doing anything special for the bees during winter – just let them hibernate.  Ice, snow and freezing temps didn't seem to bother them too much.  The hives were set up on the east side of a barn. 

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

October 1, 2010
12:22 pm
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hershiesgirl
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CATRAY44 said:

I am very interested in learning more about the Top Bar hives… been doing a little reading online about them.  Please fill us in on the basics of starting a TB hive… can it be started in the fall, or is it best to wait till spring?


 

Catray, you should wait till spring. Your bees have to have time to “set up housekeeping” and build up a store of honey to eat, in order to survive the winter when there is nothing to forage.

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