Monday, April 09, 2012

New Kenya Top Bar Hive!

I know some of you have been waiting to see the Kenya Top Bar Hive I built and Meg painted. Found plans on the internet and modified them to suit my needs. It was built mostly from scrap wood, the bars, roof, trim and legs. I bought the 1 x 12s spruce for the main box and joined them to become 1 x 14s, spent about $30 on that wood. The bottom screen and roof tin was scrap I had laying around. I'm a handyman, so I get lots of left overs and cut offs.

The legs are treated 2 x 4s. Normally one should not paint treated lumber until it has dried for 3-6 months, these 2 x 4s were about a year old, so painting them was not a problem. You can see under the back where you can insert a sticky board to do mite tests.
The landing board is cedar so it can remain unpainted and still hold up a long time outside. The sides are painted also, you'll just have to wait for another post to see them and the window I made to look inside. Funny thing about this hive is Meg has an antique bread box, looks just about like this hive in design and size. The package of Italian bees for this hive are coming this Saturday.
My last post was the bee cut out, my first as lead person. It was a blast, I stayed mostly calm and the bees did not get too upset. Anyway Yesterday I looked at the hives in the morning. Found the Kimberly swarm collected last Monday had absconded, only one bee was in the box. So we went from three beehives to four on Saturday and back to three hives on Sunday.

 Wait look up a swarm from the new feral bees 30 foot up in one of our oaks. I took this photo and the below video from our roof top. Meg found it as I was showering getting ready to be with Meg's family for Easter. Couldn't do anything that high up in the tree anyway. So I placed some honey comb in a swarm box on the woods deck and some comb in the new top bar hive before we left. The swarm trap was still 12 foot up a tree very close to my swarm. We returned 4 hours later and bees were coming and going in the swarm trap up in the tree. So I've got frames in the swarm box I'm letting them move in then I take them down after dark in a few days and place then in a dual nuk, back to 4 hives...


Meg and I crushed and strained feral honey last night, not bottled it yet we might have a gallon of it. Strong taste lets you know your eating honey that is for sure. Our first honey harvest, yeah! Now I have 2-3 pounds of old wax I'm going to melt in a solar melter and see if we get yellow wax or not.

Back to gardening. Meg's mother is moving Meg has been bringing home plants from her garden. Hostas, hellebores, daisies, daffodils, Lilies of the Valley and others. One hellebore was 3 foot across, still another one like it left there. It'll wilt out and reduce in size some what, still beautiful.

9 comments:

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Yellow wax? versus.... ?? Again a wow post on bees.
Glad you and Meg are getting plants from her mom's place. Those plants are special.

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Amazing. Hope you are able to catch that wild bunch. I'll stay posted.

Sam Smith said...

If your crushing brood comb (dark comb) it gives the honey a stronger taste, I have been playing around with the idea of drip extraction to limit that added flavour from brood comb :) Some folks like the stronger flavour though.

chuck said...

Love the festive TB! Well done!

Kitty said...

Gorgeous paint job, Meg. What a cheerful home for them them to return to.

Thanks for bee updates, Randy. I look forward to hearing how those bees do.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I'm sorry Queen Kimberly absconded. It can be a challenge convincing them to stay without drawn comb. The nice thing about spring though, is there's always another swarm around the corner.

Great job on the hive construction. I'll be interested to see how you like managing a Top Bar compared with a Langstroth. I love how Meg painted the hive entrance too, it's beautiful!

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Busy times at the Garden Paradise!

I like the paint job. For some reason, I got the thought in my head that it would be awesome (and hilarious) to do it Jamaican bobsled style.

Kim and Victoria said...

Love that hive, very cute painting.
Lucky you, some free plants. I finally broke down and ordered some double hellebores online.

Skeeter said...

Love the new whimsy bee home! Yikes you had a big job with the below post of the shed. I cringe when reading how you were stung as I was stung over 2 dozen times at once last summer. but I do love the bees and do not kill them as I know they have a job to do.... Love that sweet nectar as well... Happy digging of Megs mothers plants....