Bees anyone?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by hiker125, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. hiker125

    hiker125 Songster

    Apr 6, 2010
    I am wanting to get into bees. Is there anyone out there who is doing the top bar hive? Are you happy with it? Anything you would change?

    Did you build or buy your hive? If bought, where from?

    Bees- Did you capture a feral swarm or order some? If ordered where from?

    What about other equipement? Any other things that I need to think about?[​IMG]
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I don't have bees, and I hardly know anything about bees, but I love them! I see you are in Indiana. Please check carefully into Top Bar hives first before getting one.

    I saw a video/website that was promoting them, and they said that the Top Bar hive isn't recommended if you have VERY cold weather.

    Our neighbors have a hive, and they come over to my yard. One even landed on me once. They come up to my face and look right in my eyes!! Absolutely adorable. They are so gentle. And they love my spearmint once it flowers.
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  4. SteveP

    SteveP In the Brooder

    Sep 2, 2010
    Saint Joseph MO
    I used to as a younger man on my grandparents farm, since they passed when I was younger and I have now moved to my own farm I have not been able to find a feral swarm to capture. Top bar hives are ok if your winters stay above 40 degrees, if they get much colder than that you will lose them to cold kill, or so I have been lead to believe. I have always used a Queen excluder, three boxes with no excluder the first year and then add 2 boxes the next year with the excluder under them so she has three boxes to build her army in. I have never ordered bees simply just found a swarm (my first swarm came from the AC unit on top of the local Dairy Queen!!) and dropped the majority of it into a box then head back to the farm with them. The one other esential piece you might need is a smoker, I never wore a suit just used smoke a bit heavy.

  5. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I've been looking into the top bar method too. I'm curious to see who answers. I think it would be a doable project for the not to handy hubby and I.
  6. hiker125

    hiker125 Songster

    Apr 6, 2010
    I have read that you can insulate the hive during the winter. At the author lives in Colorado. much colder than So. IN so I think if I insultate I should be OK.

    The Top Bar Hive seems simpler to me. I don't need a ton of honey, just enough for my family. I also like the hive on the backyardhive because it has a window in it for observation. My daughter would LOVE that.

    I also think that getting a feral swarm makes sense. I want to go as naturally as possible and we have alot of problems around here with the varro mites (maybe they are everywhere). The few folks who I know that haven't medicated lost their hives. We don't have any African bees up here, so a feral swarm probably won't be too aggressive.
  7. Anguissette

    Anguissette Songster

    Jan 31, 2010
    Eastern NC
    I would LOVE to keep bees......the only problem is that I am allergic and terrified of the buggers!

    Good luck to you though! [​IMG]
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Yes, I loved the design of the top bar too!
  9. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    I have a langstroth hive. There is a company near me that sells langstroth hive bodies and all the equipment needed so it was the easiest for me. I haven't done a lot of research into top bar hives so I'm not sure what the advantage is. My langstroth hive works well and is easy for me to monitor. My swarm was a wild one that I captured from a friend's fruit tree. It was a fairly easy capture and I got very nice bees. I think the most important equipment for me, besides the hive of course, is my hat and veil, and my frame lifter. I have some friends who inspect their hives without a frame lifter and they have a much harder time of it, trying to grasp the frames to life them out. I'll hopefully be posting some pictures in the next few days of my hive inspection.
  10. hiker125

    hiker125 Songster

    Apr 6, 2010
    POTTERWATCH (BTW- LOVE the name). Please please please post pics. I love to see whateveryone is doing.

    Have you "re-queened" your hive? Is this necessary? It seems to me if you like your bees, there should not be any reason to replace the genetic queen stock.

    Are the varro mites bad in CA? They are horrible here. Do you medicate at all?

    I am really into helping the bees because I have heard that every third bite we eat can be attributed to a bee and I like to eat! [​IMG]

    Do you plant any special flowers/plants for them? I would like to have a bee and butterfly garden out front.

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