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Top Bar Hives for Bees
February 8, 2012
11:18 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Thanks for posting CanadianKate! 

I have read the Barefoot Beekeeper and want to use the most natural approach when we get started.  I had just sent a message to Angela to ask her what book (or 2) she would recommend as I have a LONG LIST of possible books for reading on the subject but wanted to see what others found most helpful.  The Barefoot Beekeeper assumes you've worked with bees before and are changing over to top bar hives.  I wanted to start there, however, because I wanted to read the positives for the top bars and get a “take” on that before reading the general information.

So…now I'll ask you…of the books you recommend, and knowing that I am inclined to allow the bees to reside as naturally as possible without the use of excessive meds/pesticides, etc., and allowing them to keep enough of their honey for food as they need, what book (or 2) would you recommend as my next read?

February 11, 2012
2:48 pm
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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The Barefoot Beekeeper is an awesome book. Catray and I both know Phil Chandler from another blog we are on.   As well as Matt Reid, Kenny Any and other wonderful, knowledgeable beekeepers.  Phils book is from a UK perspective. Nothing wrong with that other than many of us get more severe winters/ summers than they in the UK and we have other  “issues” that are more common here in the USA. Bee clubs are a great resource “IF” they support TBH beekeeping.    TBH is completely different form of beekeeping  than Langstroth.  Diseases get both and all unfortunately. Thats where the bee clubs come in handy. Helping you to diagnose and treat your hive.  I have not found a one or two fits all book for TBH. I believe the best teacher is experience. I love books and buy many as I told Leahs Mom. However most often what I am or have experienced isnt always in the books. For instance, this past fall Cathy noticed something than called me. It was freaky! The hive was literally removing all their Drone pupae and dumping them out of the hive. ALIVE. Horrifying! I have never seen this, read about it or heard of it! I immediately got in contact with Kenny Any and he knew exactly what was happening and why. Im not trying to deter anyone from buying books. Im a huge Bibliophiliac…Latin for Lover of books! I just dont want to suggest something and not have it fit you. Many books are expensive, kindle or not. Bee clubs usually are free or a small dues is expected. Blogs seem to bee the up and coming and you can get immediate results and find others in your area. A Bee Buddy is a grand tool to start out with. Hold your hand, walk you through, etc…When you first get your package of bees and have to release them into their new hive can be scary to some. Jokingly we wonder why bee suits are white…they should be yellow. Again this a joke… when you first open that package and thousands of bees are coming at you, some may want to….. wet their pants and run!  I did say “some” not “all” and it is a joke! Thats where having someone there to help you at first is a great help. They wont laugh at you when you have a yellow bee suit….  You are on the right track Leahs Mom. Keep going!!!!

February 11, 2012
2:55 pm
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judydee
Memphis
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Don't leave us wondering–WHAT was going on with the hive????

February 11, 2012
3:13 pm
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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They were just getting ready for winter.  We knew they throw the drones out, but did not realize they would start with the drone brood!

February 11, 2012
3:33 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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Thanks, again Angela.  I sent a message to your regular email address.

I'm looking forward to meeting you and Cat sometime soon!!!!  shimmy

February 11, 2012
4:54 pm
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UlrikeDG
Banty
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Angela P said:

Bee clubs are a great resource “IF” they support TBH beekeeping.    TBH is completely different form of beekeeping  than Langstroth.

I think Urban bee clubs are more likely to have TBH keeping members, than state-wide or commercial clubs. 

Ulrike in Iowa

February 11, 2012
7:34 pm
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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Woot WOOT!!!

February 12, 2012
4:54 pm
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Katsat
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A new beekeeping club has started up in Kittitas County, Washington.  We are definitely supportive of top bar hives.  For more info, check out our page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/295086047207591/?bookmark_t=group

February 13, 2012
3:11 pm
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Canadiankate
Nanaimo, BC
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Hello,

I think Angela's comments above are well-taken.  I really recommend that you seek out many sources as you are learning about beekeeping.  Then take what works for you and leave the rest.  One thing I have experienced is that when you ask a question, the answers will often be different depending on the beekeeper or source you asked.  Another thing I felt when I started out was that having my first hive was alot like having my first child.  I worried about everything, figured it out as I went along and gained confidence as I gained experience.  You will make mistakes, you will lose a hive and you will learn.

I do bee keep mainly in Langstroths, but also have a japanese style hive and am building a TBH. I am trying out foundation-less frames this spring.  In our club, there are the whole range of opinions and ideas.  I have just found fellow beekeepers who have the same values around it that I do and work with them.  That does not mean that the other beekeepers have nothing to offer.  Again, I take what fits for me and leave the rest. happy-flowerI choose to keep my bees as organically and naturally as possible, refuse to use scary meds and make sure I put the welfare of my bees before taking honey for myself and family. And I have club members who feel the same.  We share information, request that the Club library have books that reflect this ethic and I educate myself on blogs, list serves, conferences and books.

Right now I am part of a group learning how to raise queens and hives sustainably within our group so that we won't have to bring bees in from off-Island. Local bees, sustainably and respectfully kept are a better long term solution- for us its about being stewards for the bees. :)

And the list of books I mentioned in an earlier post are the few I would start with if I was to start again. :) Even if TBH and Langstroths are set up differently, some of the basic stuff is the same, like how to recognize what is happening in the hive.  

Have fun-but I warn you, bees are so amazing that they are addicting!

February 13, 2012
3:15 pm
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Canadiankate
Nanaimo, BC
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And in terms of my 'white' bee suit?  It was just washed and on my first check of my hives yesterday, it is now polka-dot yellow.  

Just part of the fun!

April 16, 2012
12:55 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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April 16, 2012
12:57 pm
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Leah's Mom
Northern Indiana
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My husband, Chuck, and I visited Angela P and her family yesterday to see her top bar hives and learn a bit about beekeeping before we jump in.  

She gave me the first bee for our hive (ha, ha…see photo)… and she also made some bath salts and homemade soap for me!

 angelap-gift-low.jpgImage Enlarger

So…we go to visit her and invade their space and she makes ME a gift and goodies to eat too…  Her hospitality is incredible. 

Thanks, Suzanne…we would never have met without the forum!  (Almost got to meet Catray too but she had a wedding…)

April 24, 2012
3:59 pm
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maltvarm
Manitoba
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LK said
We are from Manitoba, Canada, which is located just above North Dakota & Minnesota.

I am not sure if we will do one this spring or not, but the idea still is fascinating to us. If we do build, I will let you know.

Funny thing is, we had been talking about maybe trying to make handmade hardwood coffins to sell and were researching them…yes, you heard right…and then we got this email. My first comment besides “Neat, you have to see this!” to my husband, was “Kinda looks like a coffin…especially on a stand…what would people say if they saw this in our back yard?”  laugh We enjoyed that so much. Either way, I like the way these are set up.

Hi there LK!

Just wondering if you ever did get any TB hives in Manitoba?  My husband is starting with swarm traps this spring, and we are hoping to catch a few!  He has built himself TB hives, and is excited to start.  We are also from Manitoba.   :)

April 25, 2012
7:09 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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Leah’smom, we need to set up a get together-soon I hope!

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