The Honey Bee Revival – TopBar Hives
I am always on the lookout for kinder, more sustainable ways of beekeeping, I believe TopBar hives are the way to go for people keen on keeping bees in a more natural environment.
I first read about TBH`s two years ago after finding an excellent British blog called `The Barefoot Beekeeper` written by Phil Chandler. Everything he spoke about made a lot more sense to me, instead of keeping bees in a Langstrothe hive which is what most people use – you know the kind, you see them painted all sorts of pretty colours, dotted around the countryside – the TBH is usually one long box. Mine is coffin shaped, with two round holes for entrances and bars of wood across the top, under the roof, to which the bees attach the comb they make from wax and fill with baby bees, honey and pollen. The plans for this hive can be down loaded from Phil`s website and according to my friend who built mine, are easy to follow.
One of the advantages of the TBH is there is no heavy lifting of boxes of honey which are very weighty when full. In the TBH the bees attach the comb to each bar, this being very easy to lift out separately – you do have to do this slowly and carefully as the comb can break, leaving you with a very sticky mess – it is wise to do this early morning or later on in the day when it is not hot and the wax comb will be harder.
My TopBar stands in the front garden where I can watch the action from the dining room table, I don`t think the neighbours have figured out what it is yet !
In the next instalment I will talk about the delicious honey and pure wax comb that is made in my TBH.