Wednesday, October 21, 2009
At last - my first TopBar hive !
I am finally the very proud owner of a TopBar hive, built for me by a clever person I met at a talk I gave to the local Organics group here in Hamilton. P used the plans from the BareFoot Beekeeper site that I had down loaded for him - there is even a window on the other side that has a sliding cover so I and the Grandchildren can watch the bees ! It is made from un-treated macrocarpa wood which means it won`t need painting and will slowly fade to a silver colour - it smells good to .. I love it !!
It is situated in a nice sunny,sheltered spot in my front garden where I can watch all the comings and goings from my windows as I drink coffee and read the paper or just watch the bees ! It is actually quite close to the foot path and road but can`t be seen from either of those places. My langstroth hive is at the back of my house and you would never know that was there unless you are the monthly meter reader who comes to read the electrics !
A nice lady rang on Sunday to ask me to come and collect a swarm she had in her garden - I was on the way out in the pouring rain to visit my family, so, rang my kind bee friend and he captured the quite big swarm which I swept into my TB that night - that is what is happening in above photo - notice bars across the hive opening, which all going well the bees will make comb from and attach to under side of bars,then fill with babies, pollen and honey. The poor little things were getting quite edgey by this stage, I got stung afew times but that is understandable, after having spent 2 very wet and cold nights out in the open, dropt into a nuc box, crowded in like sardines then tipped into another box in the dark, I would be too !
The next day dawned warm and sunny with some of the girls venturing out. They don`t seem to mind the lack of a landing pad, mind you, in the wild there is no such thing outside a hole in a tree. I do have another entrance P made at one end which I can unscrew and use if I want and it has a small landing strip, maybe later in the summer if the weather warms up and there is alot of action around the hive.
I am delighted with my first TB hive, it just makes more sense somehow to keep these amazing insects in a way as close to their natural habitat as possible. Totally un-practicle for commercial beekeepers I know, but if you can do it like this - why not ? The honey I collect is a wonderful bonus for me, but I keep bees so I can add my bit to keeping them alive and for the pollination skills they so abundantly use and which we humans depend on ..