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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I live in a rural area of NY, 50 minutes drive from Albany.
    Interestingly, I know of two beekeepers within 90 minutes of me that sell TBHs they make themselves. (they sell their bees as well if you like) One is very cheap and somewhat rustic hive, but works just fine- he has over 300 hives of his own running. The other is rather pricey and 'custom' TBH- oriented towards the well to do organic gardener/dabbler.
    I just think it's interesting that there are two choices in my area already for those wanting to buy TBH pre-made. There is also a TBH one year apprentiship course being offered 30 minutes from me. (too rich for my blood though)
    If I hadn't have been given an established Lang hive as a gift that got me started in BK, I likely would have started with TBHs. I may get one anyway at some point. I love comb honey, for one thing...and TBHs are visually psychologically less threatening to others in the neighborhood. They look more like planters or cold frames in the back of one's garden.

    I think there is a big market developing out there for home garden backyard hives now. there are big 'urban chicken'/'urban beehive' movements going on. I have many friends who never used to mention anything about gardens, chickens, and bees, all talking about such things for their own little 1/2 acre plots now. The movement is spreading quickly.


    We put in a big new veggie garden in our backyard that was formerly just lawn. The garden fence guys told us that their normal fence orders were way down but that their new veggie garden fence jobs had quadrupled this past year, keeping their business afloat pretty well.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I've got to say, as I get ready to get back into bees and I really look hard at it all again...


    ...The Langstroth is a brilliant design.

    It really is. I can see why it became the standard for so many people. It just really works amazingly well. As a designer myself, I know that all designs are in some way, a compromise. The need for compromise is what makes design necessary at all; how do we get the most of what we want with the least of what we don't? In that sense, the Langstroth Hive is amazing.

    But as time has gone on, new parameters for what we want has shifted enough to get a lot of people looking again for other methods - and interested in trying new things on their own. Now the tbh is not new, but just new to a lot of people. Urban beekeeping has made it desirable to work with hives that people do not easily recognize as hives. Urban beekeeping also requires a method that doesn't require a ton of storage space. Industry standards have also created added expense over the years (and the same will certainly happen with tbh's as they gain popularity - the simple fact is that North Americans cannot support themselves and their habits without making a fair amount of money - so if one takes the time to build and market a tbh, it has to cost a fair amount of cash.)

    I imagine, that the industry will soon expand to sell the Lang, the ktbh, the ttbh, and the Warre all side by side. They have the network of suppliers and the eyes of the consumers. I'm sure they will continue to dominate the market and sell all the 'new', 'organic', and 'natural' products consumers demand.

    But for now, it seems like a bit a pioneer period again.

    And that period of trial, error, experimentation and potential for growth is dear to the spirit of our culture.

    Adam
    Last edited by Adam Foster Collins; 12-01-2009 at 09:29 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I keep 3 Warré vTBH hives because I agree with the Abbé about his method's much lower effort and cost, and better match to bees' needs. Warré tried and rejected Langs and similar outsized/framed hives 70 years after Langstroth, so calling modern TBHs and their management regressive or primitive is just ill-informed. Nobody is advocating a return to skeppism.

    • Varroa dislike breeding in the cozier Warré climate.
    • The honey boxes are lighter and easier to handle.
    • The infinitely-nadired Warré stack does not prompt swarming.
    • I don't need to maximize honey production
    • I have a use for the pressed wax (don't have to fret about wax moths)
    • I'm content with my sweet-tempered Carniolans.

    What's not to like?

    In this postmodern era, folk seem especially likely to drift away from conformity and orthodoxy, in this case, Langstroth-style boxes and methods. Live and let live; a little diversity should be welcomed, not sneered at as a threat.

    //AST
    Last edited by A. S. Templeton; 12-04-2009 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Bad flow

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Needville, TX (near Houston)
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I see your point to the original post. But let me explain my scenario. I have some acreage that we raise horses and cattle on, and my husband also farms cotton on some leased land. We are starting our family, 2 young boys. I thought having a personal fruit orchard would be great, as my boys would be able eat fresh fruit from the trees, as I did on my grandfather's farm as a child. Luckily, my new orchard had a feral group of bees living in a 5 gallon bucket with a cracked lid. The bees lived in that bucket for at least 3 years, and my fruit blossoms had bees all the time. Last year, no bees in the bucket, and very few on the blossoms. A fire ant colony had built up around the bucket and killed the bees. I decided that I needed some bees. I asked around to see if anyone would like to come put a hive on my property, but it seemed to be too much effort. I was offered to buy a hive and keep bees myself. I have no experience with bees. A Lang hive is costly, heavy, and time consuming. Not to mention harvest is a large lengthy operation. I just want my trees pollinated, and now maybe a bit of honey. The point I'm getting at, if you stayed with me this long, is my boys will grow up around bees, and will surely observe their habits, and have no fear of them. As they get older,they will take part in the small harvests from the TBH. There is a good chance that my boys will grow up to become bee keepers. Being young men, there is always a need for spare money, and I expect they will be able to handle the weight of the Langs. I foresee the Future Beekeepers you are looking for will likely come from the children of the families with a "garden" top-bar hive or two in their backyards.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Wink Re: People, a top bar hive?

    diamondjfarms

    I'm with you.

    I have 5 Lang hives from an original poly hive I gave away - all from swarms. I'm on 1/2 acre in a suburb outside of Philly, "American Dream" like neighborhood. Two are in my yard and three in a neighbors. I needed the first hive like a hole in my head, and started with the idea my boys will get something out of it.

    We got to four because I can't bear to lose bees to a swarm and get a kick out of the watching onlookers' big eyes. Now the whole neighborhood gets bees on their flowering trees, flower beds and gardens and I expect I'll get more hassle if I stopped. I split last year, went to five and got my buddy back on line after his died that winter.

    My sixth hive is a top bar because I got sick of spending $200+ every time they throw a swarm. I put it on an eight acre landlocked wooded parcel I picked up at a tax sale in '87 for next to nothing. No right of way and too many obstacles for 4x4. No good for a lang, but I'm thinking perfect for top bar because I carry the harvest in a 5 gallon bucket. Once in place, lang or not, they're not going anywhere and I doubt anyone will make off with non-standard gear.

    With screwed butt joints it's as solid as any of my hives, took no more time to assemble and cost next to nothing in comparison. If I can break away, I'll check on them this weekend. I sure do hope they made it because I'll use it for splits.

    At the cost my five hives I can build thirty-five top bar hives. If they only make 1/3 the honey, at that number I'll be a couple hundred pounds ahead. If I lose ten the next winter, through splits I'll have them back before our short honey flow ends.

    By the bee, they are not the most efficient pollinators, but when your army outnumbers the competition by 1,000 to 1, you have a "no brainer." Why can't I do the same? Besides, I don't have room for hives here and I can't put Langs where I have the room.

    Don't worry AllTek, you'll never see them.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    If you think about the time frame that the langstroth hive become the hive that everyone used across North America it took a fairly long time to go coast to coast. There was a lot of resistance to it for one reason or another. But what really turned the Lang hive into the hive of choice was when the foulbrood acted came into play. This is when the hive was force onto the beeks for the good of all.
    In my area it was around 1913 when inspectors where hired to go around the province changing beeks over to the Lang. Even though the Lang was used by some most where using a wide variety of hive types.

    Part of their job was too inspect for signs of foulbrood. Amazingly not one case was found in two years throughout BC. It wasn't long after the Lang took over in this area that the foulbroods started showing up.

    This really speaks volumes in my opinion that maybe the box hives, log gums, crates, etc with there natural comb really makes a difference in bee health.

    I think it's great that we can have TBH's

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,898

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    >This really speaks volumes in my opinion that maybe the box hives, log gums, crates, etc with there natural comb really makes a difference in bee health.

    No question, the Lang hive made commercial beekeeping what it is today, it allowed people to earn an income from bees, unfortunately, IMO, along with all the positive aspects of the modern hive come the negative aspects of replacing what is natural for something more controlled. We probably will never fully understand HOW the honey bee has been weakened by our interference, but there is no question in my mind that we caused it.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Spotsylvania,VA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Outstanding debate between Big Bear and Alltek! You kept it civil and I learned a lot from both sides of the fence. At first I thought he was just bashing TBH keepers and now I understand he was coming from a deeper concern of commercial beekeepers being essential to our farming and crop needs and passsing the torch down to future generations so that we may continue to enjoy our fruits, veggies and nuts. We can not all be keeping bees just a hobby. It would be short sighted. I am glad that Big Bear could also help Alltek see why TBH are worthwile too and why many are drawn to them. I am going to be starting out with bees in a TBH for my first time and showing my kids as much as they are willing to learn. Our family is looking forward to Easter weekend here in VA (that is when the bees arrive).

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Spotsylvania,VA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I have been looking through the achives way too long! Sorry for the old thread

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Bonn, Germany
    Posts
    123

    Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    >

    ... , but there is no question in my mind that we caused it.
    I didn't!
    For sure!

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Stone Lake, WI
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Agreed-Questioning and re-evaluating the last 100 years of beekeeping indeed. Just because humans have used something for a hundred years means little, its been a mere blink of an eye and no-one alive now is an expert.

    thomas
    Last edited by Barry; 03-06-2010 at 01:29 PM.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    The thing is that hobbyists with couple of hives are providing for majority of pollination. Overall hobbyists are more "essential" to our farming and crop needs
    Last edited by Barry; 03-06-2010 at 01:29 PM.
    Sig

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Stone Lake, WI
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Is that true?
    thomas

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,898

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    >I didn't!
    For sure!

    I think you know what I'm getting at.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    This thread seems to have tailed off into incomprehensibility...
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas894 View Post
    Is that true?

    Use common sense. Of course it is true.
    Sig

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,596

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by beenovice View Post
    Use common sense. Of course it is true.
    So, if all of the commercial pollination providing beekeepers stopped providing bees to orchards, groves and vegetable patches, everything would be alright? Tell that to Valasic Pickles Inc.

    Back yard beekeepers may provide the majority of incidental pollination to suburbs and surrounding environs, but I don't know what else you might be writting about.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    So, if all of the commercial pollination providing beekeepers stopped providing bees to orchards, groves and vegetable patches, everything would be alright? Tell that to Valasic Pickles Inc.

    Back yard beekeepers may provide the majority of incidental pollination to suburbs and surrounding environs, but I don't know what else you might be writting about.
    I am pretty sure that hobbyist beekeepers provide majority of pollination not only in suburbs and surrounding environs but on commercial crops also. I am talking about the big picture. Not just almonds and big commercial growers but all things considered. Ecosystem...ding, ding

    If you don't agree with me and if you have any relevant data on this, please do share. I am interested. It may be different where you live....
    Sig

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by beenovice View Post
    I am pretty sure that hobbyist beekeepers provide majority of pollination not only in suburbs and surrounding environs but on commercial crops also. I am talking about the big picture. Not just almonds and big commercial growers but all things considered. Ecosystem...ding, ding

    If you don't agree with me and if you have any relevant data on this, please do share. I am interested. It may be different where you live....
    I think this is definitely not the case in the United States where it seems that the majority of our hives are managed by commercial operations. It may very well be the case in Europe, however.

    Matt

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I only found this : http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/dept/abf.html

    Take into account that commercial beekeepers have greater numbers at one place while hobbyist are here and there providing better coverage....
    Sig

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