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Top Bar Hives for Bees
March 18, 2011
10:16 am
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Karen in Alabama
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Angela P said:

 Karen is it because they think you cant inspect and remove each individual frame?  Im in MI and we had a similar law, Honey Law Act 412, that was changed almost 20 years ago. TBH as well as skeps are legal here. Thank goodness.

If it were me, Id push for it! But then again, thats me…

Don't know the reason. When I see him I will ask. Like I said he is a really nice guy, and is a beekeeper himself. I think Buckeye girl might have hit it on the head, as they think the traditional might offer better protection.

 

I only every heard of TBH when I got onto this site last week, and so what is a Skep?

March 18, 2011
11:33 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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A skep is usually made from wicker, they go way, way back. They look like a dome.

March 18, 2011
12:06 pm
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Karen in Alabama
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OK, Thanks I have seen those, didn't know what they were called.

March 18, 2011
1:38 pm
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Sonia
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Hey Everyone,  just wondering…do you all use the smoker or the sugar water to calm your bees?  I was told, and also have read on the Internet, that spraying with sugar water was better than using smoke.  The reason being, smoke makes the bees think there is a fire, so they will start to gorge themselves on food.  However, the sugar water will calm them without stressing them out like the smoke does. 

I am thinking that I will use the sugar water, instead of smoke, to spray the bees when necessary. It is also mentioned that it acts as a masking tool to cover up their pheromones when you combine a queenless hive to a healthy hive, and when adding a package of bees to a new hive. There are other reasons, but right now those are the only ones I can remember at the moment.  Which method do you all think is best to use?

March 21, 2011
5:00 am
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Sonia
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This is a really cool site just for Top Bar Hives.

 

http://kandykasts.com/top_bar_hives/jim_satterfield/TBH_Beekeeping/main.htm

March 21, 2011
8:52 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Hey Everyone,  just wondering…do you all use the smoker or the sugar water to calm your bees?  I was told, and also have read on the Internet, that spraying with sugar water was better than using smoke.  The reason being, smoke makes the bees think there is a fire, so they will start to gorge themselves on food.  However, the sugar water will calm them without stressing them out like the smoke does. I am thinking that I will use the sugar water, instead of smoke, to spray the bees when necessary. It is also mentioned that it acts as a masking tool to cover up their pheromones when you combine a queenless hive to a healthy hive, and when adding a package of bees to a new hive. There are other reasons, but right now those are the only ones I can remember at the moment.  Which method do you all think is best to use?

Sonia, You will not need to buy a smoker. Your right, just use the sugar water and you are all set. Just another beauty of TBH…easy, and affordable!

March 21, 2011
8:55 am
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Sonia said:

This is a really cool site just for Top Bar Hives.

 

http://kandykasts.com/top_bar_hives/jim_satterfield/TBH_Beekeeping/main.htm

Way cool! I loved it.

March 21, 2011
4:32 pm
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The Reluctant Homesteaders
Willamette Valley, OR
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Hi Sonia, I use sugar water in a spray bottle exclusively since I have asthma and don't really want to be breathing in smoke of any kind. The bees are the better for it I think.

To tell you the honest truth I started out wearing all my gear and armed with a spray bottle and now I open my hive anytime I feel like it, even when I'm wearing my puffy black coat and fake fur “Russian” hat (if that outfit doesn't look like the opposite of what they tell you to wear- I don't know what does!) and the bees are completely nonplussed by it.

I used sugar water spray from the very beginning when I captured my swarm last spring. I have a video of it on my blog. http://thereluctanthomesteaders.blogspot.com/ click on bees or video it's called “swarm”.

My experience with it is the bees get so excited about the free food that they don't really notice what else is going on. It does also wet their wings and keeps them from flying around too much.

March 22, 2011
5:34 pm
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Sonia
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Hi Reluctant Homesteader wave

I really enjoyed your blog and your videos.  I have started my first Top Bar Hive this year, but unfortunately, I have to wait until May to get my bees.  I bought my bees through the the Bee Club and they were late in getting their bees this year.  However, I do have my gorgeous new hive to look at in the mean time. smiley-puppy

Looking at the bright side is that I get even more time to study the TBH. I had to work hard to get that H in there, LOL!

What I am reading about now is the use of essential oils for pest control.  Wintergreen and peppermint seem to be the favored oils to use.  It is said to add the essential oil to a grease pattie that is put on top of the hive.  There are recipes on the Internet to follow, and I believe I might give this a try.  Here in the South, the hot and extremely humid conditions become a breeding ground for hive beetles and other pests, and I want my bees to be healthy and happy without having to use all those chemicals and pesticides.  There is one product that looks interesting.  It is called Honey-B-Healthy.  I think I might give this a try.  What do you all think about these kinds of supplements?

March 23, 2011
2:07 pm
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Angela P
SW Michigan
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Honey Be Healthy is wonderful, I use it and  highly recommend!

March 23, 2011
6:55 pm
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Sonia
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Angela P said:

Honey Be Healthy is wonderful, I use it and  highly recommend!

Thanks Angela!  I will definitely add this to the supply list.

March 24, 2011
12:38 am
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The Reluctant Homesteaders
Willamette Valley, OR
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Hi Sonia! I'm glad you came to visit our blog. We have a lot of fun.

As far as doctoring my bees- I don't. I am completely organic in every way, so I am using a watch and then decide method, which I don't recommend for those who only check on their hives once in a while. I commune with my bees almost every day. I love hanging out with them!

I would recommend very highly these videos by the Florida Extension office http://www.extension.org/pages/25099/university-of-florida-bee-disease-videos

They are well done and to the point and explain the first signs of a disease. They also contain several non-chemical methods to use first before you get out the big guns. Including a recipe for grease patties. Just remember that even if something is “natural” it can hurt your bees. Bees are delicate and I have gotten some very unscientific suggestions from other “Natural” beekeepers.

I feel the bees know best and if they have everything that they need, they will be healthy. Anything we do to them to get rid of “pests” (which are insects also) can't be too good for the bees.

 

March 24, 2011
2:55 am
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Sonia
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The Reluctant Homesteaders said:

<<I feel the bees know best and if they have everything that they need, they will be healthy. Anything we do to them to get rid of “pests” (which are insects also) can't be too good for the bees.>>

 

I could not agree more Reluctant Homesteaders.  I am still learning and reading as much as I can to educate myself in caring for my bees.  I do not want to treat the bees or hives for mites, hive beetles, etc. unless I have to treat in order to keep them healthy.  However, the use of Honey B Healthy sounds interesting.  The product articles says that it works on building the bees immune system, and that just sounds like a good idea. 

So much to learn and so little time. The month of May is not that far away, and soon my bees will be here.  I want my little girls to be as happy and healthy as they can be in their hive. Well, it's back to reading more articles.  BTW, that Florida Extension video is very interesting.  One interesting tidbit I came across on one of the other sites, is that the bees learn to recognize your scent and then will accept you as not being a threat to their hive. That is just so amazing! 

March 30, 2011
6:51 pm
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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My Top Bar Hive just arrived!!!

March 31, 2011
3:30 am
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The Reluctant Homesteaders
Willamette Valley, OR
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Hooray! Do you know where you are going to put it? I put mine under a deciduous oak and it works great. Shady in the hot summer and warm sun in the spring.

 

March 31, 2011
6:21 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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I have a couple of ideas.  One is at the back of the fenced part of our yard, but inside the fence.  The garden would be between it and the house.  The other idea is between a shed and the fence.  That would keep it out of eye view, make them fly high, provide shelter from wind.  It is shady and I worry it might be too shady, as the land on the outside of the fence is all wooded.  Also, our lawnmower is in the shed.  Would the sudden start up be an issue?  On the good side of that, we would not have to mow around the hive, as it is all mulch there.  Any thoughts?

April 1, 2011
3:22 pm
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Sonia
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CATRAY44 said:

My Top Bar Hive just arrived!!!

Yay!!!!shimmy

Now the wait for the bees begin.  Mine arrive in May.  Sure wish it was sooner.

April 1, 2011
3:29 pm
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Sonia
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CATRAY44 said:

I have a couple of ideas.  One is at the back of the fenced part of our yard, but inside the fence.  The garden would be between it and the house.  The other idea is between a shed and the fence.  That would keep it out of eye view, make them fly high, provide shelter from wind.  It is shady and I worry it might be too shady, as the land on the outside of the fence is all wooded.  Also, our lawnmower is in the shed.  Would the sudden start up be an issue?  On the good side of that, we would not have to mow around the hive, as it is all mulch there.  Any thoughts?

So far from what I have read and been told by my area beekeepers, is to keep the hive in as much sun as possible to help control the 'bad pests' such as mites.  So, I would think the back part of the fenced yard would be best.  That is where I am looking to put my TBH.  However, the beekeepers around here say some shade is ok, but not too much. 

Also, the guy (my bee mentor) who built my hive suggested I buy two of those plastic concrete mixing tubs, dig down enough to place them in the ground back to back.  Get 8 cement blocks total, and place them them into two columns of four blocks..bottom row one direction and the top row in the opposite direction and repeat this for the second column.  Place the TBH on these blocks, then fill the tubs with water for ant control. Now, I did get four of those skinny flat topper blocks to create a solid top, and it all looks really cool. 

April 3, 2011
7:31 pm
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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I found a really neat free “e book” on honey bees…

 

 

And… an online course..

 

http://www.beemaster.com/site/honeybee/beehome.htm

April 4, 2011
1:39 am
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Sonia
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Great site Cathy!  I really enjoyed reading that.  Now, I want to try that online bee class. 

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