I put together our Beethinking top-bar hives a couple of weeks ago and they’ve been sitting in our family room waiting for a decent weekend when we had the opportunity to put them out. We did so today.
We went back and forth about where to put them. It wasn’t as though we are limited on space, but we wanted to take into consideration things like where the grandkids like to play when they are here, morning sun, mowing around them, etcetera.
In the end we opted to put one hive between two trees (cherry and apple) and the other on the other side of the apple. They are facing south. This was in part to minimize mowing impact for my wife. I don’t know if the positioning will help with a bit of mid-day shade or not during the summer, but we’ll see. Does anyone think the location between the trees and with a tree in front of one will be a problem?
One thing I realized is that we’ll never be able to put those hives where they can be seen from a road. Around here we have people willing to break in to electrical power stations to try to steal copper wire from live circuits (and often regret it, if they live) so I doubt bees would be much of a deterrent.
After setting them up and getting them level we went ahead and baited them with lemongrass oil. Although there were a few bees foraging around our feet while we worked (small flowers in the grass were attracting their attention) we don’t expect the weather to warm up enough for serious bee traffic until after Easter, I think. But we baited it anyway.
I did decide I needed to tie down the hives somehow. The method I came up with was to use an auger-style tie-down point (purchased at Tractor Supply in their trailer section) and ratcheting tie-down straps. We’ve had trees broken on our property from storms last year, so I don’t want to take any chances. After coming up with this plan I found that Christy Hemenway has a Youtube video about preparing a top-bar hive for winter winds using the same method with a dog tie-out point.
Next up is beekeeping school starting the first Wednesday of April. We get our first package from a member of the association we joined April 19th, a couple of days after school ends. I’ve also ordered a package from Gold Star Honeybees, but won’t get those until mid-May as earlier shipping dates conflicted with a trip I have planned. Actually, I may be asking if I can get an earlier shipping date as I’ve just learned that my original plans have to change.
Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!
My wife bringing out one of the hives:
Myself with the second hive:
And the hives in their new locations: