Top Bar Bees

| 3/5/2014 9:24:00 AM

Gina GainesI can’t imagine there is anyone left who hasn’t heard about the serious decline in our bee population and the dire consequences to life on this planet if something isn’t done to help. There are a number of apiaries across the country, but they are not able to correct the problem alone. The best remedy for this problem is the backyard beekeeper. 


BEE stuff

I kept bees about two decades ago but had to give them to my brother-in-law when my life became too hectic to take proper care of them. He’d only had them for a few years before the now infamous “colony collapse disorder” wiped them out. It left us sadly disappointed. I am now at a place to resume beekeeping, but my back is not as young as it used to be. Smoothly rearranging 30-, 45-, and 90-pound hive boxes full of buzzing stingers is a feat I am no longer physically capable of. And purchasing expensive hives, frames, and comb sheets won’t fit into my screaming budget. So what is a backyard beekeeper to do? Why … pull out the DIY beekeeper inside you, of course!

If you are interested in beekeeping and share my creaky predicament, you might want to investigate the Top Bar beekeeping method. The traditional method of keeping bees in our country is using vertical Langstroth hive boxes. With this method, you move different depth boxes containing 10 or more frames each. These heavy boxes are rearranged periodically as the bees work in order to keep the brood strong and the honey flowing. The Top Bar hives are horizontal and consist of only one “box.”  With this method, you leave your long, horizontal box stationary and move only one, or a few frames at a time to achieve the same purpose. Because you move a smaller number of frames at a time, you must visit a Top Bar hive more frequently than a Langstroth, but the work isn’t back breaking. 


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