Sunday, 9 March 2014
It's been frightfully cold and windy for weeks on end which has provided plenty of opportunity for indoor project work. Hubby has been busy making top bar hives for our property. I have requested 2 packages of bees but am attempting to catch at least one swarm (2 would be amazing). It's too early yet for such theatrics, but I'm getting ready for when the time comes.
Here's a good look at the top bars (this one is actually upside down - the flat side goes up and the triangle tip points down into the hive).
If you look in the picture below, you'll see how the bees attach and run comb from the tip down. Again, this picture shows the bar upside down. The comb would be formed DOWNWARD into the hive as the bars rest on top of the hive walls.
Here's a good pictures to show you how the top bars sit and how the comb runs DOWN into the hive.
We need quite a few bars if we plan to have 2 hives and possibly supers for each one so hubby's been making lots of bars. He bought 2x2" fir stock and cut it himself - plenty of angles!
Here's a picture of the follower board (used to compress the hive/guide development).
And the top bars being placed...
Side view with the window placed - I'm so excited to watch the bees at work! Note that the window will be covered when we aren't actively checking on progress inside.
I need to prime and paint the exteriors and Kelly's currently making the lids (2 standard and 2 with queen excluders to facilitate supering). Still lots to do, but we ARE inching closer thanks to my amazingly talented and patient husband :)
*******Edited to add*******
I've been asked quite a bit about the choice to build Top Bar Hives vs. using a Langstroth Hive. Truthfully, because we have not yet kept bees, I have no personal experience on which to draw from. I only have my permaculture education/training and my experience in the garden to reflect upon. Right angles aren't found typically in nature, whereas The Golden Mean IS found all over the natural world in every living thing, in particular, bee comb! It only makes sense to create an environment for the bees that is patterned off shapes found in the natural world. The bees will teach us a great deal and we are more than ready to learn.