Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How To Build a Top Bar Hive

I'm getting a lot of interest in the free 'How to build a top bar hive' ebook, especially since I made a PDF version available. The most remarkable thing is that the majority of feedback I am getting is coming from women!

Now I have been to quite a few beekeepers' meetings and you can usually count the number of women present on the thumbs of one hand, so it is great that women are attracted to this particular branch of the craft. There is, of course, no good reason why women should not be beekeepers, but I suspect that a lot of you have been put off by the heavy lifting involved in using 'normal' hives - and maybe by the rather 'male', controlling attitude of modern beekeeping?

I'm speculating here and would be pleased if some of you will tell me your reasons for being drawn to top bar hives and sustainable beekeeping.

The Barefoot Beekeeper is more-or less on track for release around the end of April. Perhaps May 1 would be an appropriate date - or maybe May 2 on the full moon and a biodynamic 'flower day'.

This online publishing business has become complicated of late by the addition of new formats, my favourite being DNL (see http://www.desktopauthor.com/ where you can find the TBH book under 'samples'). Unfortunately, this format is Windows-only at present, so I will have to produce a PDF version as well for the anarchists!

OK, that's enough from me. Best wishes for your beekeeping efforts and do email me with comments and questions. I can't promise a rapid response, but I will do my best to answer everyone.

Happy beekeeping!

Phil Chandler


Newbee said...

I love your site. I wish I had found this before buying two standard hives. I am in central florida and I guess I will using these two hives to go back and forth to the orange groves. But I will be building several TBH to house my splits into. Thank you for the info.

Stacy McKenna said...

I was introduced to the concept of top bar hives by the Dervaes of Pasadena, CA (www.urbanhomestead.org). I just started attending the Los Angeles County Beekeeper's Association meetings in November, and being female, I concur that the demographics are largely male (though we seem to have a very strong female contingent that does a lot of the group's "grunt work" for education and outreach projects).

Being new to both forms of beekeeping (the LACBA members being largely Langstroth hive users) I didn't have a strongly formed preference. I'm still in the data gathering phase, really (and recently learned my area explicitly does not allow apiaries in my building zone). But I think the appeal to me of the TBH is simplicity. I'm an engineer by education, specifically environmental/civil. We have a tendency and reputation for over-designing EVERYTHING. We like the "controlling". But, I have always appreciated the effectiveness of a simple solution that still addresses all of the problems. My husband, a hobbyist woodworker, is similarly inclined. The Langstroth techniques, while logical and well-suited to an engineering frame of mind, seem somewhat labor intensive and highly susceptible to error. I like the idea of the top bar hive for its greater simplicity (especially with regard to honey collection). The issue of weight never really registered with me (a former gymnast, I often don't contemplate that factor until it's too late!).

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