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2017 Top Bar Hives

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2017 Top Bar Hives

I love top bar hives. They are simple, effective and efficient.

2017 30" Production Top Bar 

I have been using top bars in our beekeeping business for the past 4 seasons and spent the 2016 season converting my best stock into top bar hives exclusively. During the conversion process, I used top bar hive "supers" to get my bees in Langstroth boxes to build the combs I would need to expand my numbers. These short top bar hives have holes in the bottom to allow the bees to move up into the top bar box. I blocked the bottom entrance and forced the bees to go through the top bar entrances. Since bees abhor empty space, they quickly started drawing combs off of my bars and before I knew it I had 10 fully drawn combs to use.

I would then move some of the drawn combs once they had brood in them to a bigger top bar hive. Where we are located, small hive beetles can really take over a growing colony. To combat this, I built these much shorter than what is typically recommended. I halved Les Crowder's length and went with a 22" length box. The bees were able to maintain this space very well and kept the beetles to a minimum even during the prime beetle time of July and August.

I think that the 22" hive is still a bit too short for my "production" hives. This year I am building the full-size hives at 30". This gives them a volume that fits in with Tom Seeley's recent research covering the benefits of smaller hives for bee health. The standard length usually varies between 4'-5', but every time I've seen a top bar hive in that range locally, the hive beetles have decimated it.

2017 12" Top Bar Nuc

I still have a need for smaller mating nucs and hives to start splits in, so my other length has now been adjusted to 12". This creates a top bar nuc situation and my plan is to use them for housing my queens that I will raise and sell this year. This size allows for 8 top bars, which will be easy to move to new yards.

With Spring quickly approaching, I am very excited about the upcoming season and what will happen. I will continually update this site and our YouTube channel with the progress. I learn new things every year and I know this year will provide more opportunities to grow as a beekeeper and learn about these fascinating insects.

 

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Welcome!

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Welcome!

It's an exciting time of year to be a beekeeper. We have been getting all of our hives ready, frames built and extra gear ordered. This year is looking to be our most expansive and busy year yet!

It was decided last year after playing with a few top bar hives that we would be shifting our entire operation over to top bar hives. That is still true but we decided that to better serve local beekeepers that use Langstgroth hives, we will also maintain 10 frame deeps and 5 frame nucs for sale. 

The plan is to start breeding bees and rearing queens this year from our best stock. We are dedicated to not using treatments of any kind and allowing superior genetics and natural selection to provide a local bee that doesn't require constant chemical inputs. These bees will be for sale starting next Spring and we will start taking reservations as early as this summer. Queens and queen cells will be available starting in April of this year and going for as long as the weather permits.

In addition to selling Langstroth style nucs and single deep body hives, we will also be selling top bar style nucs and full top bar hives. We have decided to go with a modified version of Les Crowder's top bar hive plan. We are encouraging all of the local beekeepers interested in top bar hives to also use this plan so that we may have interchangeable frames. The modifications that we've made include a slot cut into the bottom board to hold Beetle Blaster beetle traps and entrances on both sides of the hives. There will be a post later to fully explain and demonstrate the changes I've made to adapt this hive to local conditions and my methods of keeping bees.

We are going to start using a GoPro camera to make videos of our practices and help educate the public about bees and beekeeping in Northern Louisiana. Also, we intend on posting interviews with local and well known beekeepers in the near future. More details on this will be coming soon!

Thanks for taking the time to visit our website. If there are any questions or comments, don't hesitate to let us know!

Aaron & Lauren

 

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