May 3, 2021

Hive Types - Part 2: Top Bar Hives with Christy Hemenway (S3, E49)

Hive Types - Part 2: Top Bar Hives with Christy Hemenway  (S3, E49)

We continue with our five-part series on hive types other than the standard Langstroth, with Christy Hemenway. Christy has been working with top bar hives for just over 14 years now and has developed a good sense of how they work. She started out...


ChristyWe continue with our five-part series on hive types other than the standard Langstroth, with Christy Hemenway. Christy has been working with top bar hives for just over 14 years now and has developed a good sense of how they work.

She started out liking them because – It’s all about the wax – clean wax was important to her and top bar hives produce clean wax. No foundation to fuss with and no contaminants to worry about, so it’s perfect for cut comb honey, or the crush and drain method of harvesting liquid honey.

But there’s a lot more. NO heavy lifting is a definite plus with these hives, because all you ever have to lift is a single frame at a time.

The top bars are set such that they snuggle up next to each other, so no openings in the top of the hive when you open a top bar hive, which keeps the bees inside, not flitting around, giving you a hard time. And, because they are beveled on the bottom, there is actually more surface for the bees to attach the comb than if just a straight wooden stick. There are a few tricks to learn when handling top bar hive frames, but overall, pretty straight forward with lifting and turning and rolling frames.

The only downside she sees is that these hives won’t produce a ton of honey for you and they are a tad more difficult to move around than a Langstroth, but they are perfect for a smaller scale backyard beekeeper who worries more about the bees than the honey.

In a lot of ways, these are very different from a Langstroth hive, but again, if it’s good for the bees, it’s probably not so good for the beekeeper. Which would you prefer?

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:

 

Honey Bee Obscura

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We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer BetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong Microbials Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website: https://www.strongmicrobials.com

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help Global Pattiesensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at http://globalpatties.com and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

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We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments: questions@beekeepingtodaypodcast.com

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at www.beeculture.com

Bee Culture Magazine

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

Growing Planet Media, LLC

Christy Hemenway

Beekeeper, Owner

Christy Hemenway started with bees in the spring of 2007, just after Colony Collapse Disorder got its own acronym and drove the increase in public awareness and consternation about the ultimate survival of honeybees.

After learning a big word -- “lipophilic,” (meaning: tending to combine with lipids or fats, ie beeswax) and discovering that researchers had found that the world’s recycled beeswax supply was contaminated with the toxic, lipophilic chemicals used since the 1980’s to combat the ubiquitous varroa mite, Christy began to focus on the value of clean, natural beeswax combs, made BY bees, and FOR bees.

Seems like when the bees are in charge, they do things a little differently than we ask them to do when we provide them with foundation. From that premise, Gold Star Honeybees was founded, specializing in beekeeping in top bar hives, to support the natural systems used by the bees, especially the making of their own clean beeswax comb. That’s why we like to say “It’s All About the Wax!”

Christy's list of books available at Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Christy-Hemenway/e/B008C8BNAS