I'm just curious for all you top-bar beekeepers, did you learn to keep bees with the traditional Langstroth hive first or did you start out with a top bar hive? If top bar was your first, how would you rate the learning curve?
This is my first year keeping bees. And I began with a top bar hive for many reasons, which I won't go into here. And I also began late in the season- mid July. It has been a fantastic experience, and I've found it "easy" so far. I'm hoping to encourage other gardeners to get a start in bee keeping, more so for the pollination from the bees, than the honey production per se.
What has been your "first year experience" with the top bar hive? Have I just been extremely lucky this first season getting to know the bees and their habits without going through the spring and summer build up and having to worry about swarming, etc. Would it be a bad thing to encourage other gardeners, based on my limited experience? I'm sure we will all have different levels of success during some years, but the more people I talk to, the more that are interested in keeping bees.
When I visited the local bee clubs and said that I was using a top bar hive, their response was not very enthusiastic at all. Most of them were downright discouraging. All of them said that I needed to keep bees the "traditional way" before I tried a top bar hive. Had I not been so bent on doing this type of hive, I probably would not have gotten into beekeeping at all, and that would have been a real shame.
I'm having so much fun, I even set up a facebook page for my bees. You can follow them here: