TOP BAR HIVES

3

Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 17-05-2011

Tags: , , , ,

OUR TOP BAR HIVE

 

WHY WE CHOSE THE TOP BAR HIVE.

 

It is a big cedar “log”.  Just what a bee would find in the wild.  Well, almost.  It is actually an easily built box that will house a hive of homey bees.  The design has many advantages for the home or hobby beekeeper.  First and foremost is the reduced weight lifting required by the bee keeper.  I used to keep 50 langstroth hives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langstroth_hive).  That’s the hive most of us envision when we think of bee hives.  It is a great hive for commercial beekeeping and travels well across country to pollinate the California almond crop and a lot more.  The problem is that although producing a lot of honey, it requires the beekeeper to lift the 3 to 5 – 40 to 50 lbs. hive boxes every time he  needs to inspect the hive which is weekly.  With the top bar hive we still need to inspect but it entails lifting a 7 lbs. bar out of the hive.  That is a big difference especially when you consider it is usually 90 plus degrees and the beekeeper is encased in his bee suit.  Another advantage, so it is said, is that the bees are happier in this long, single story “log”.  Ours is 48 inches long and can be used to split off additional hives if we so desire.  This design was first modified by the Peace Corps for use in Africa as a better way for non technical communities to practice beekeeping.  Build the box, introduce the bees and enjoy the honey and what it brings to the rural African lifestyle.  I first witnessed the building of a top bar hive at the Peace Corps training center at The Penn Center in Frogmore, SC many years ago.

The top bar hive does not produce filtered honey.  The comb will not withstand the pressure of the honey extractor as it rotates to spin the honey out of the comb.  The product is comb honey with whatever honey leaks out of the comb when it is cut to sizes that will fit into a jar.  This is my favorite honey.  I love to chew the comb until the honey is gone and I don’t even notice the wax when it is spread on a slice of toast.

We have introduced a hive of honeybees into the Sea Island Garden primarily as a way to increase our production of food crops.  Our natural honeybee population has disappeared and with them went the productive garden.  We also all missed the familiar sound of their foraging and I guess the honey played a little part.

Both Peggy and I are past beekeepers and I think that with a little luck, some others will join in the fun.

Gordon

PEGGY AND HER BEES

IN THEY GO                                                                                                                                     ALL DONE

PEGGY AND GORDON   BEEKEEPERS

Comments (3)

Can’t wait to taste the results!

I WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO BUY SOME!!!!

Save Me Some Too! Enjoyed my walk through the garden yesterday, 5/23/11. The entertainment by Rebecca, Davis’s sister-in-law was wonderful and do hope to see the video from under the wisteria shown on the blog sometime soon. Rebecca is quite talented.

Write a comment