Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Why Top Bar Hives?

    I have 4 top bar hives and enjoy them very much. I chose top bars for two main reasons, 1-no lifting heavy supers, as all the honey and brood are on the same level, and 2-smaller cell size, i figured that the wild bees didnt have enlarged foundation to work from 200 years ago, and probably didnt battle with the pesky varroa mite to much. I am not a commercial beek by any means and i dont plan on being one. I have bees for pollination of local plants first, and honey production second.

    My question is, Why did you choose the Top Bar Hive, and how many do you have? I would like to hear other reasons for going this route.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    Reasons I am going with a top bar hive:

    * Will only have 1-3 hives.
    * No need for a honey extractor.
    * No need for full frames.
    * No need for foundation.
    * No need for a queen excluder.
    * No need for having supers and storage space for extra supers.
    * Bees will build more to their own desires (I am not in it for mass amounts of honey or wax).

    Will I be able to transfer top bars from hive to hive? As long as I do not break the combs off, yes.

    Cost of my hive: about $70. Added a few things since I originally finished it. Handles, shingled roof (leftover shingles from prior home owner). Top bars are constructed with some scrap lumber from shipping crates I got out of a burn pile.

    Top bar hives give people with limited budgets a way to get into beekeeping. Top bar hives are not designed for the type of commercial beekeeping that we have had since about 1851. Removable and interchangeable framed hives are great, but they are not the only way. I was thrilled to discover the top bar hive. For those only wanting a few hives and not having the expense that goes along with langstroth hives, top bar hives fit in just fine.

    I was really discouraged by family members when I said I wanted to get started in beekeeping. They were surprised to learn about top bar hives and the low cost to construct one. I was warned about the cost of the extractor or renting an extractor, all the extra supers, and other equipment I would need. Not so with a top bar hive.

    I am ready for honey bees in my top bar hive here in Ohio.

    I currently just have one top bar hive. However, a second one will be built over the winter and placed on a friend's property.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    All the reasons listed above. Plus, it is fun to have something different than most beeks have going on. I think free-standing comb is a thing of wonder and beauty. I love having pure wax to make balm (and soon soap) with. And, I love, love, love my observation windows, something I couldn't really have reasonably gotten with Langs but could cheaply build into my topbars.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    1) I believe top bar hives are less intrusive, thus interfering less with bee activity and better maintaining nest scent and environment.

    2) I believe top bar hives are less intimidating to people as you are only working with one exposed bar at a time. The bees appear to stay calmer for a longer period of time (so I have read and observed, YMMV)

    3) I believe there are advantages to having natural comb drawn and natural or bee determined cell sizes.

    Big Bear

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    Well
    #1 Is expense, I figured I spent about 70.00 cad on each hive, thats all inclusive top-bars, wood, screws, bolts ect, and I can make everything myself from local wood.
    #2 Less work, less lifting, hurt my back while working the summer for a beek with langs, no storage feeding cleaning frames, supers ect. I like the fact everything is left with the bees.
    #3 (Most Important of all for me) All natural, mainly cell sizes I think they are created (evolved depending on what you believe) to behave a certain way for a reason nothing is random. Free drawn comb is amazing and beautiful, they seem to build smaller cells at the center of the hive and larger ones at the exterior and even larger ones for honey, I know exactly what cells are going to be honey storage by their size.
    I was also thinking the other day about how they cluster for the winter, since they continue to lay brood even in the winter they need to keep it warm, they can keep more brood warm on smaller cells? This would mean better over-wintering and faster buildup in the spring. Also might mean more foragers because fewer have to stay to cover brood, all of this is just conjecture but it makes sense.

    Sam.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    ann arbor,MI,USA
    Posts
    38

    Question Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    Thanks everyone for your discussion on top bar hives. I'm going to go down that road this spring and am in the process of trying to gather as much info as possible to assure some small means of success. Any suggestions on sites or experimentation dedicated to the top bar strategy. Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    I'm interested for the hands-on aspect of it, as well as the low cost. I'm planning to keep bees in the city, so having a hive that few recognize as a bee hive will help keep a lower profile, and hopefully needlessly alarm fewer people.

    Langstroths have been used by family members all my life, and I love them. I think they're an amazing design.

    Top bars are just another way to interact with the bee, and I want to try it.

    Adam

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    BRescue-

    Get the book "the Barefoot Beekeeper" all about top bar hives, lots of great information and a must have as far as i am concerned

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lewiston, MI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    This is great information! Thanks for posting. I'm really looking forward to keeping bees in a TBH.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Why Top Bar Hives?

    biobees.com is the The Barefoot Beekeeper website. The book is available in print or as a digital copy. I bought the digital copy. You can print it out, but there are no page numbers so don't drop it unless you have secured it fully or hand written the page numbers.

    beesource.com is also a great resource for tbh beekeepers. I found this website first and seem to have settled into it.
    Last edited by FindlayBee; 11-15-2009 at 06:23 PM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads