Journal Of A Long Strange Trip
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  • Top Bar Hive Update

    Posted on May 31st, 2009 Dirk No comments
    I needed to move the top bar hive (TBH) off of the mound where I captured the swarm.  I should have moved it before the bees were in flight for the day.  I have a few bees that are flying around the old location.  I only moved a few feet, so I hope that everything will settle down by this evening.

    I also removed the syrup feeder from my top bar hive.  I found that the bees had drawn some comb on the feeder that did not follow the top bars.  I had to cut that comb out of the hive and put the bars back into place.  This gave me my first harvest from the TBH and first honey for the season.  I would suspect that it is mostly sugar water honey, directly from the feeder, but it still tastes wonderful.

    Overall I like how the hive is starting out this year.  If the hive continues to put on weight like it has, soon I will not be able to move it by myself.

      

     

    Golden Mean Top Bar Hive

    Golden Mean Top Bar Hive

      

     

    TBH Observation Window

    TBH Observation Window

      

     

    Burr comb removed

    Burr comb removed

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  • Bees 4 – Beekeeper 2

    Posted on May 19th, 2009 Dirk No comments

    This morning I took the Top Bar Hive out to get swarm number three installed into the hive.  They seem to be taking well to the top bars.  I have placed a top feeder on the TBH to help the bees get established.  It is said that bees will use up the same about of energy and food stores to produce a pound of wax as they do to produce 7 to 8 pounds of honey.  I figure that a few gallons of sugar syrup should help get things going.  Once the bees get a little more comb drawn out, I will put a little pollen substitute into the bottom of the hive.

    The other swarm from Sunday had left the yard. So far this year I have had four swarms come out of my hives.  I have been able to capture two of them.  In basebase terms, that is a .500 average.  This leaves me at a current count of eight hives.  Just a couple more weeks to get things prepared for this years honey flow.

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  • More Bees

    Posted on May 18th, 2009 Dirk No comments
    Golden Mean Top Bar Hive

    Golden Mean Top Bar Hive

    This past weekend I had some more excitement on the beekeeping front.  On Saturday I went to the Nuc making workshop that Martin James was holding.  While there I was helping Mike and Kris Monson with their nuc and package of bees.  In talking with Mike and Kris they told me that they were starting one Langstroth hive and one top bar hive.  They had built two of the top bar style, but were only going to use one of them.  They offered to let me take one of the top bar hives so I could try it.  The hive is like the top bar hives found at BackYardHive.com

    Sunday morning I went out into the backyard to cut weeds and do some other gardening chores.  As I was starting back towards the house I heard bees buzzing in a place that was away from the hives.  There was a swarm of bees in the tall weeds at the top of a mound of dirt.  It looks like I won’t have to buy a package of bees for the top bar hive after all.  The top bar hive (TBH) was not ready for use.  It needed a divider board and some plexi-glass installed into the observation window.  I grabbed a Langstroth hive body and put some of the top bars from the TBH into the box.  The bars are sitting skewed in the box.  I taped some cardboard over the top and went back outside.  Scooping the bees as carefully as possible I dumped them into my makeshift TBH.  Once it seemed like the bees were going to take into this temporary hive, I started on finishing out the TBH to get it ready.

    In the middle of this, my wife tells me that the bees don’t like the TBH and that they have swarmed into one of the apple trees.  So I head back out to check on what is happening.  Turns out that the bees are still in the TBH and that another swarm has landed in the orchard.  I dig around and find top and bottom boards and grab a super.  I pull two frames that have honey and pollen and put those into the box and start scooping bees out of the tree.  It looks like I was able to catch that swarm as well.

    I have caught three swarms this spring and have increased to nine hives.

    Later on Sunday, Mike and Kris came over and said that they had given me the wrong TBH.  The one that they had meant to give to me didn’t have a groove routed in to accept the plexi-glass.  Of the two Top Bar Hives that they made, one of them had the observation opening routed on the outside and not the inside.  I had already installed the window and covering in the hive that they had meant to keep.  I traded them back anyway, since it is still a free top bar hive to me.  I’ll just route out the opening and install the window.

    Once the bees have some comb drawn out on the top bars I’ll get them moved into the TBH.  Since I have a little work to do on the hive, I am hoping to move them on Tuesday.

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