Bees Gardening

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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

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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