Bee Smart, A Newsletter About Beekeeping - How To Make Splits

BEE SMART...Keeping You Informed About Honey Bees
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Volume 2 -------------------- December 10th, 2011 --------------------Number 15
Previous subscriber count: 570 Current number of subscribers: 628

Top Bar Hives: Criticisms & Compliments
by David Burns, EAS certified Master Beekeeper

Reverend Langstroth gave us the removal frame hive. Even though it was first met with reservation and criticism, it has now become the standard hive
in beekeeping to say the least. Very few improvements have been made to the Langstroth design over the last 100 years. Longevity of the original
design has withstood the litmus test . As beekeepers we are loyal to Langs because they have worked for us in the past. Langs are familiar to us. Barns,
garages, attics and basements full of used Langstroths equipment.

But now there is a new kid in town. Two in fact, two unfamiliar hive
designs, the top bar hive and the Warre hive. They are foreign to us.
Today, we'll examine the top bar hive.

Some beekeepers are even offended that any other design would ever be
considered viable, practical or workable. When something offends us we
often mock it and speak poorly about it to others. For years, top bar
and Warre hives have been viewed negatively by loyal Langers. Yet, these
alien hives have continued to slowly gain traction. Something happened with
beekeeping that catapulted top bar hives higher in popularity. Like
the flipping of a switch top bar hives have instantly gained popularity especially among
newbies, the next generation of beekeepers.


Top bar hives are inexpensive to make and operate. Often, they are made from
scrap wood and a piece of tin for a roof. A TBH is a horizontal hive in a wooden box.
No foundation is used and only the tops of frames are installed to help the bees begin
to draw their own comb. There is no standard size or design. Recent interest in top bar hives
have produced beautiful hives with observation windows and cedar shake roofs.
Natural beekeepers are attracted to top bar hives because the bees build their own comb as no foundation is used, just a top bar. This results in chemical free wax for a
few years and can assist with regression of smaller bees. Regressed bees is a debatable issue. Some say smaller bees are able to combat varroa mites better because of the
smaller cell size and earlier emergence of bees, giving mites less time to reproduce in the cell. Again, the jury is still out on this one.

Certainly top bar hives are very easy to work. There are no heavy boxes to lift, no supers to add or remove, and no queen excluders. It is beekeeping
simple and natural.


Many criticisms of the top bar hive are unfair and unfounded. For example, some say you cannot harvest honey or overwinter a top bar hive. With proper management and
preparation, top bar hives can overwinter well and produce harvestable honey. Top bar hives do require a different management practice. Top bar hives do produce honey
but usually less than Langstroth hives might produce. Though some have figured out how to place top bar frames in an extractor, most will either crush the honey out of the
comb or scratch the caps open and allow the honey to drain out. Some criticism are legitimate. TBHs are awkward to transport on a large scale. It's also more difficult to add
more room for extra honey. Depending on the size of the TBH honey production can be very limited. Some TBHs sold are less than three feet long which is hardly long enough
for the colony to make extra honey or prepare for winter.

In conclusion, TBHs are fun and very effective for the hobbyist who just want to keep bees to help pollinate gardens and orchards on a small scale. I recommend that new
beginners start with the traditional Langstroth hive and become familiar with beekeeping. Then, branch out to try a top bar hive for fun.


Last year one of our most popular items was our starter kit that comes with
2 hives and 2 packages and equipment. This year, we are calling this our
Freedom Kit. The hives is assembled and painted. Click here for This kit is
a great way to get started in beekeeping. Starting with two hives is always better
because you can share resources between hives and if one hive becomes queenless
it is easy to move over a frame of eggs to save the other hive. FREE SHIPPING
through December 16th.

Thanks for joining us for another lesson in beekeeping. We'd love to hear from
you and hopefully peak your interest in beekeeping. Feel free to contact us at:

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841

FREEDOM KIT: 2 Completely painted and assembled hives with bees and supplies

Join us Saturday January 21st for Our Basic Beekeeping Class!

Mark your calendars and join us on January 21st, 2012 for our Basic Beekeeper's Workshop at the Farm Bureau in Danville, Illinois from 9am-3pm. This class
is filling up fast, but we still have openings. This is for people who do not know anything at all about bees but want to start and for those who have kept bees for a
year or two but want to be trained by a certified master beekeeper.Click here for more information.

Ask your friends to sign up  for this newsletter FREE at http://www.honeybeesonline.com/ez.html

To view our previous newsletters, click here.

BEE SMART is free and comes right to your email inbox. Produced by Long Lane Honey Bee Farms and is written by EAS
certified master beekeeper, David Burns

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms is located in Central Illinois and sells nucs, packages, queens, and hive equipment.

www.honeybeesonline.com Contact us at: 217-427-2678


Bees In The News....


Drift Watch Helps Protect Honey Bees From Harmful Chemical Spraying. Read more...

Is The US Still Importing Questionable Honey? Is The Country Of Origin Being Hidden? Read more...

Interested In Getting Into Beekeeping? Find Out How To Become A Beekeeper

Wondering About Top Bar Hives? Join master beekeeper David Burns' Video as he walks you through a top bar hive buzzing with bees.


Our WINTER-BEE-KIND BOARD insulates the top, provides upper ventilation and
comes with 5 lbs. of candy and pollen already poured out onto the underside for the bees to eat
should they need it during the winter. Our WINTER-BEE-KIND BOARD insulates, ventilates
and feeds (Sugar & Protein) your bees as a single one piece item.

Just install it above your bees and put on the top cover and you're set! We've named it
'WINTER-BEE-KIND.' The candy portion faces down toward the cluster and the insulation
faces up.

We use a special piece of insulation that is backed with a thin piece of metal to help reduce
condensation in the hive. It almost looks like a mirror. And it has a notch in the front
to provide an upper entrance as well as a place to help excess condensation to escape.
Do not delay. This can be placed on your hives any time, even when it's cold. You can install it
quickly so that the cold does not hurt the bees.. The WINTER-BEE-KIND also comes with our
recipe on how we make our candy so that you can refill your candy section when needed, usually
about once a month, depending on how much honey is in the hive. Comes in both 5, 8 and 10 frame.

CLICK HERE FOR 10 Frame Winter-Bee-Kind to place your order or call us at 217-427-2678


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at http://www.honeybeesonline.com/ez.html

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Bee Smart is a publication of
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 E Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms is here to serve the beekeeping community with beekeeping equipment, 3 lb packages, nucs, queens and more.


Check out our FREE online Beekeeping Lessons