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02-25-2015, 10:56 PM
I think everybody’s beekeeping depends on their own unique situation and desires. Beekeeping takes many different forms around the world and there is no one right way. It all depends on the circumstances of the person engaged in this activity. For me it has led to the use of top bar hives, both because of them being so inexpensive but also because they work well for Africanized bees.

Here’s a glimpse of one of my top bar apiaries in Honduras. It’s a “visit” to show how I set up my apiaries and some of the activities involved with it. It shows a bit of what I do but also why I do it my way.

Musings about Top Bar Hive Beekeeping: A Visit To An Apiary


02-26-2015, 01:49 AM
Nice to see your work. Thanks for sharing.

02-26-2015, 07:39 AM

Thank you for sharing.
I have questions about your bees you say they are Africanized.
I read somewhere that only a small portion of them have the really
High aggression that they are known for is this true? And if so when
You get a colony of this aggression do you requeen with a local
Queen or buy a European queen?
I have heard they swarm with very little population.
How do you manage them for swarming?
And how is your honey yield if they would rather make bees than honey?

02-26-2015, 10:31 AM
I can't imagine driving my pick up over that bridge!
Do you transport hives on a scooter?

Random Dude
02-26-2015, 11:51 AM
Ran into a swarm / hive of "Africanized" bees in Panama back in the day, and they tore up everybody that swatted at them, but didn't seem too enthused about stinging anybody that remained calm and didn't swat at them. That experience taught me that those "killer" bees have had some very bad press over the years.

Nice set up you've got down there.

Best of luck.

02-26-2015, 06:38 PM
Paul Graperunner, your questions about Africanized bees give me another topic for a future blog entry. I’m sure that somewhere down the road I’ll be writing something. This post will be some initial thoughts for that blog!

My bees are one hundred percent Africanized—no cross breading or selection to make them more docile. Queens can be bought in Honduras but they are expensive and it’s not done on a large scale. Breeding my own queens would be the better option, but I don’t have the time with my teaching job. I deal with what I get with the swarms.

Over the years I`ve learned when I can do more intensive intervention in the hives and when I can`t. The time of the year definitely plays a big part in defensiveness. The rainy season generally seems to be the worse time for going into a hive. There is nothing flowering really so all the old field bees are at home and ready to get cranky. There were some times where the bees got so crazy that the best thing to do was simply close up the hive and leave.
During the harvest season the bees’ temperament is a bit better, but I still need to get fully suited up especially if it is several hours of harvesting. Gloves and a veil are a must. I can sometimes get by wearing just a couple shirts instead of the overalls if I go into just a couple hives. The more hives you enter, the more ornery they get.

I don’t do intensive management—no time really with my teaching job and Africanized bees don’t make it easy. The bees give me what they want and I`m grateful for it. It’s a nice extra income considering the little amount of time I invest in management.

So this means the hives will swarm but I don’t let it bother me. I always see the positive in that the hive will have a nice young queen. And what better queen than one that was raised naturally by a strong hive. No mass production, grafting or shipping involved with it.

As far as honey, they can make a good amount. Most of my boxes are over four feet long and the hives up in the coffee zone will fill that from one end to the other with comb. Half of it can be honey.


Janne WBVC, The bridge is stronger than it looks. There are two other similar bridges right in the valley that cross this river. I think this is the only one now that a car can actually pass over. And it’s actually a private bridge between the farm and the park, both being owned by members of the same family. It is a sort of tourist attraction also for the people who go to the park. Those other bridges are now in bad shape, used only for people traveling on foot or maybe bicycle/motorcycle. The cables are probably good enough but the wood planks all need to be replaced.

I do haul bees on my scooter—to an extent. I have a board that I can bolt to the back rack so I can strap down two trap hives. It actually works better for moving top bar trap hives than a truck because it is much easier to avoid rocks and ruts. Except for the main highway, most of the streets and roads in my area aren’t paved. There is too much jolting with a truck and it results in comb collapse.

So the trap hives go on the back and all my other equipment is usually in front under my feet. If I haul honey, I put a different board under my feet to extend the floor out a bit so I can set two buckets there. I think it’s actually easier to load down a scooter than a motorcycle.


03-08-2015, 08:41 PM
For those interested (and those who speak Spanish), I have now posted this blog entry in my companion blog, Refexiones Sobre Apicultura.