Thursday, March 22, 2012

Installing bees in a Top Bar Hive

Yesterday a small group of friends got together to install Kittie and Chucks bees in their new Top Bar hives! I'd only seen one of these hives before and it was a rough build. These hives were very professionally made, they even have a window you can see inside.

Kittie and Chuck also have a gardening and bee blog, be sure to check them out!
I should have taken a video, instead I took 19 still frames that I turned into a short movie. This is Chuck shaking 3 pounds (15,000) of bees into the top bar hive.
 Here are the 2 brand new Top Bar hives ready for a package of bees each. A package is 3 pound of bees and a queen.

 This is a queen cage, the queen comes with attendant bees to feed her. The white stuff on one end is bee candy, the bees take about 3 days to eat through the candy and free the queen. This way the other bees get used to the queen and accept her.
 Kitty installing her bees! These are their first bees...
 The bee box in front with straggler bees, they will hopefully all climb in with the queen before dark.
 Here they are attaching the queen box to a top bar. Top bar hives the bees build comb on the top bar instead of a frame with foundation.
 Proud new beekeepers!
 Here is that window to see the bees. It should remain closed most of the time as the bees like it dark. Pretty cool huh?

OK, guess what I have started a simple Kenyan Top Bar hive. Thus far I have made a 1 x 12 pine into a 1 x  14 using biscuits(wood wafers inserted into each piece of wood) and wood glue.


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Pretty cool. Love the window, what fun for kids to learn about bees, seeing inside the hive! Ok, ALL of us, big kids and little kids.

meemsnyc said...

What beautiful beehives! I am taking a beekeeping class, and I hope to have hives in the future!

Andrea said...

Those are very sophisticated beehives. We cannot afford that here, when wood is already expensive and difficult to get.

chuck said...

Randy, those are great! Thanks for posting and thanks for being there for moral support.

Freda Cameron said...

Always entertaining and educational!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We seriously considered going top-bar when we started out, and I looked into some of these hives. They really are beautiful. For us it's just too much extra management at the moment. Swarm prevention is much more difficult, and also some people super them, it's a bit tricky. They are lovely though. I've seen a few of these after a while, and unfortunately those windows tend to get glazed over with wax and propolis, so you can't see in them, but it's a lot of fun to watch them when they first build up. Great hives though if you want lots of wax for candle making, and I'm still tempted to add one to the farm.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Impressive! I never knew such a beehive structure existed.

L. Ambler said...

An interesting and informative post. I always learn something from your posts. The top bar hives are architectually pleasing.

Anonymous said...

please, i would like to know where your friends got these top bar hives, as they are lovely, and i may want to get one like them, thanks, virginia

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Anonymous said...

Bought my top bar kit from Added a window and pretty legs to be very decorative. Reasonably priced at $165.