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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Grinton, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    102

    Question

    I am a hobbyist beekeeper in the uk. I have heard a lot about TBHs on this site, but I haven't found anyone in the UK who knows much about it. Does anone know of any UK based information/supplier websites on TBHs, or is there some reason they can't be used there (ie. too cold)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,508

    Post

    I don't think much (except maybe ideal volume) varies much from one place to the next. The bees are pretty much the same. But here's a link to some top bars in the UK:
    http://www.gbka.co.uk/ourpicturegallery.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,508

    Post

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Grinton, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    102

    Post

    Cheers, MB.

    I might contact them and see if I can get some plans/supplier info.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    I am going totally top bar next season - in process of conversion already. I have designed a simple-to-build TBH that flat packs for transport and takes standard UK National frames, deep nationals and top bars - all at once if you like! I will post pictures soon and maybe plans when I get the time.

    I am currently working at Buckfast Abbey and have my own hives on a nearby organic farm. Feel free to contact me if you want to exchange info.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Hey buck, is Buckfast Abbey hiring? that just sounded sooooo coool.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    Hi Hawk,
    They might be if I decide to go, which is a distinct possibility, for various reasons not unconnected with crap management, too many chemicals and a lot of manual box-shifting due to primitive equipment. It may sound cool, but don't be fooled...
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Yeah, but tell me it's not gonna look great on your resume.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    A french guy living in Chester, UK
    Posts
    133

    Post

    Are they not following Brother Adam's way of keeping bees anymore?
    What was described in Brother Adam's books sounded like he was the best in his practices... is this not the case then?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    Bro. Adam's methods of selection and breeding are no longer practised in any recognisable way. It tok a lot of care and control to maintain the Buckfast strain and the current incumbent does not seem to be interested in doing so.

    Personally, I have become more and more convinced that organic/biodynamic methods are the way forward and that is where I want to focus my own efforts. It seems to me that constant recycling of foundation wax is bound to have a detrimental effect on the bees long-term, as chemical residues are bound to collect and become concentrated, encouraging the trend towards resistant parasites. I'm very keen to continue to experiment with top bar techniques, allowing the bees to build their own comb, and treating where necessary only with organic compounds like oxalic acid.

    I will be posting pictures and notes at www.biodynamicbees.com fairly soon.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Yo Bucky, it still sounds cool but I see what you mean. I'm way too proud of being chemical free (except for purchasing foundation which will be corrected). I also think comb should be harvested every three to five years.

    But that's easy to say when I've never managed 2,000 hives. Commercial guys have to cut some corners. When I get there I'll figure it out but I think you'll find mostly agreement on these pages.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    I think I'm beginning to have problems with the whole idea of large-scale, commercial beekeeping. Corner-cutting is part of it, but it seems to me that crowding 100+ hives into a small area must create problems for the bees as well.

    Our home apiary has about 50 hives and there is a lot of robbing, mostly (I think) due to too much competition for available forage. No doubt the large helping of Italian blood in our bees plays its part too.

    Maybe more people should keep fewer bees - more of a cottage industry than big business?
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    I think most commercial guys in the U. S. have figured that one out and they don't keep 100+ hives in one yard. Depening on forage it's 20-50 hives from what I've heard. That's the very reason for multiple yards.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    606

    Post

    above i saw a referance to biodynamics. is this the rudolph steiner biodynamics?
    all that is gold does not glitter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    Is there another kind?

    There's some info at http://www.biodynamic.org.uk if you are interested.

    I think of biodynamics as 'organic plus a spiritual dimension'. Some of the concepts are a bit 'off the planet' when you first read them, but having seen some very impressive market gardens and farms run on these principles, I have to believe that there is something in it. I wouldn't describe myself as a Steiner disciple by any means, but he certainly had some interesting insights.

    Biodynamic standards are overseen by Demeter, which is more concerned with the way bees are kept than the actual plants they forage on. Unfortunately (IMO) to be certified by them you still have to comply witht he organic standards as well, which specify (I think) a 3km radius around the apiary has to be organic certified land or uncultivated land, making it nearly impossible for UK beekeepers to comply. This is why all UK organic honey is imported, which I think is a shame. However, I have heard that the Soil Association are looking at the possibility of a new 'wild crafted' standard, which should cover beekeeping.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

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