Something that might interest you......

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by melwynnd, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. melwynnd

    melwynnd living More with Less!

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    Dec 25, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    Hi everyone, :)

    I've been playing around with the idea of having a couple of hives of bees for my little seven acres homestead for a while now. Cost of all new equipment has been prohibitive though :waa: . However, I just stumbled on some info about a beekeeping method used by peace corps that I may just try next spring.

    Here's one website about it,

    http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm

    Sherry
     
  2. robinkd2

    robinkd2 Active Member

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    Sep 17, 2002
    Location:
    Carthage, TX
    Hello. I couldn't afford the regular beehives, so we just finished building a top bar hive. The materials to build it cost us under $50, paint and all. We have bee balm in it and sugar water on the table near by. There is usually at least one swarm of bees through here each year so we are hoping they will decide to move on in. If not, we have a friend with bees in an old house on her property and I will try to get some from there. For a starter hive, I think this should be just fine. Robin
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Location:
    Kansas
    I have always considered a top bar hive to be a really good way to go.

    If you are interested, a Langstrom hive plans can be had at www.beesource.com .

    True, I lack the skills to do that kind of joint, but the plain joint is working fine. I simply screwed the sides together. I think it just means that a hive box will last me 10 years instead of 30.

    When you handle a comb from the top bar hive be sure to not tip it sideways or the weight of the honey can break the comb.

    Also, comb can be crushed instead of extracted, and the honey simply strained through a kitchen colender and poured into a jar..
     
  4. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's not uncommon to find used bee equipment for sale at farm auctions and such. If you've got a local bee keeping club, join. Many times equipment is for sale within the club. That helps keep the cost well down. As does making your own. You can spend a whole lot of money on every bell and whistle (and the catalogs make it clear you need every one of them). But you can cut many a corner and get by just fine.

    The thing I don't like about the top bar method is that it's total destruction of the comb. Having had bees a few years now, I've learned to treasure drawn comb. When my hives are drawing comb, they are not producing honey. This might not be an issue down in warmer areas, but as far north as Maryland, it would really affect honey production and hive survivability for the winter.
     
  5. melwynnd

    melwynnd living More with Less!

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    Dec 25, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    Thanks everyone for the input!! :)

    I am just as interested in the wax as the honey. My family doesn't really use much honey, but we didn't use nearly as many eggs before we got hens or as much milk before we got a cow, so I'm sure we could use more. I just HATE to pay the grocery store prices! But I like to make soap and candles, so the wax would come in handy!

    I think I'll build my tbh's this summer(I'm a really terrible carpenter, so the less to build the better :haha: . There's a local beekeeper who will order package bees for me in early spring with his own, so I'll get a discount.

    It's so like me to just plunge into things. One advantage to that is I often find out you CANT do things after I already HAVE :D . Funny how that works. I don't usually worry about making mistakes much, makes it easier to improve. I also have almost no reaction to bee stings(not even wasps) so I'm not too worried about being stung.

    If anyone would like to see some pictures of my little homestead it's here:

    http://www.sherrysapothecary.com/Homestead.html

    Sherry
     
  6. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    I tried a TBH a couple of years ago. The bees seemed to like it, but I did a couple of things wrong. First off, I decided to deter mites by putting screen on the bottom instead of a solid board. This might have worked except that I used one layer of 1/4-inch screen. When I do it again, I'll use two layers, separated, of 1/8-screen. What happened is that yellow jackets attacked the bees as they were crawling around on the bottom of the hive, stinging them through the screen, and then eating them. Bummer. I couldn't figure out how to fix the screen problem with a hive all full of bees.

    They still multiplied well and collected some honey, but I suspect they didn't like the constant attacks, because suddenly there were a lot fewer bees. I think they swarmed when I wasn't looking. So we went into winter with just a soccer-ball-sized hive of bees. Since the hive was screened on the bottom, it seemed to get pretty cold in the winter, and the bees faded. Still, they were hanging on, and we got our usual two weeks of lovely weather in February. I was trying to feed them, and they had some interest. Then, just when it looked as though they'd pull through, we had a cold snap, and I mean really cold for our area, that lasted quite a while. At the end, the hive was dead. :waa:

    The other mistake I made was in building a slope-sided hive using OSB for the sides. After a while, the sides flexed outward, and the bars would slip down inside the hive, causing general mess and havoc. Another difficult problem to solve with an occupied hive.

    Still, I do think the TBH has a lot going for it. The next time I try it, and I will, I'll make the screen removable, and replace it with a solid board when it gets cold. I'll also make a hive with vertical sides out of ply or solid planks.