You know that heart sinking feeling when something goes wrong? Yeah, that.
That’s what I experienced Friday, September 12th, when I did a hive inspection of the Kenyan top bar hive (KTBH). It was mid-day, mid-seventies, so not too hot. And I found some of the comb close to the entrance (starting with comb 14 of 20 [20 being the newest comb]) curling at the edges towards the entrance, which I have heard happens. And I have also heard to cut the comb off the top bar a little at the edges, push it back where I want it to be & the bees will fix it back onto the top bar. I did this to comb 18, 17, 16 and put them back into the hive. While comb 15 was hanging on the outside of the hive (over a Langstroth inner cover in case anything dropped – I was thinking “queen” when I set it up), I adjusted the edges and turning away, heard a sickening “thud” as 2/3 of the comb broke off the top bar and plopped onto the inner cover on the ground. Continue reading “Kenyan Top Bar Hive – Learning Experience”
My father & I built a Kenyan Top Bar Hive (KTBH) from the plans in Phil Chandler’s ebook “How to Build a Top Bar Hive.” We chose to make it from rough cut lumber because we heard the bees would use more propolis to line the inside of the hive & since propolis is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, I thought “more propolis is good for bee health.” Propolis is created from tree resin and other plant sources and the bees use it as calk or glue in the hive.
My father, doing manly things. (I’m afraid of saws! I like my fingers as they are.)
I started out last year learning about beekeeping by listening to podcasts. And Phil Chandler’s Barefoot Beekeeper podcast was a big influence on me in the first few months of my journey and worth checking out if you’re thinking at all about keeping horizontal top bar hives.
A top bar hive is a hive that uses top bars, not frames. Frames have support around the comb, and a top bar is just a bar usually with a guide or cleat across the top and the bees build comb that hangs down from it.
“One swarm captured and Two queenless hives.” Kinda like “two turntables and a microphone”… or not.
So, I caught a swarm with my dad last week!!! OMG it was so exciting, I almost hyperventilated. We installed them in a homemade Kenyan Top Bar Hive (KTBH) I wasn’t planning on using until next year. So now I have 2 Langstroths and a KTBH. I’ve been scrambling to re-read the KTBH info I originally read a year ago (and promptly replaced in my brain with Langstroth info). I’ll write about that hive another time – it’s doing great at the moment.
Hi there! Just wanted to say, “Hello world!” I live in upstate NY and for a year (spring 2013 to spring 2014) I attended local beekeeping meetings and classes, getting ready to start keeping some bees in our backyard as a hobby. I bought 2 packages of treatment-free bees, picked ’em up and installed them into two medium, 8 frame Langstroth hives on April 26, 2014. I have a Kenyan style top bar hive that’s currently just a big bait hive. And I have an electric fence around it all.
I can’t remember now what triggered my fascination and why I started learning about bees, but I’m not a big fan of honey (my hubby, family & friends are!). I love animals and bees are so different from the mammals, birds and reptiles we usually keep in our houses, I’m fascinated and wanted to learn more. I also thought I might help out our local plants with some extra pollinators. And I’m attracted by the challenge of trying to keep a hive alive in these difficult times for bees. As I learn more, I think the future of honeybees maybe in people’s backyards. It’s not easy for commercial beekeepers to keep bees alive with the treatments that are put on the commercial crops & all the stresses of shipping bees. Backyard beekeepers may be an important piece of puzzle when it comes to saving the bees.
My hope is to be a treatment free beekeeper: no chemicals in the hive, not even essential oils. That may mean some tough love and letting some failing hives die – I’m not necessarily very good at that, so we’ll see. Since my bees are from treatment-free stock, I’m hoping they’ll do well. We’ll see. I can change my mind at any time. 🙂
Hope you keep reading to see how everything works out. I love honeybees!!! <3 <3 <3