Last year I built a Top Bar Beehive and waited impatiently for a swarm of bees to admire my construction and lay claim to it.
Well, I didn’t really think that would happen (???), but I was hoping to get a call from the local beekeepers association with a swarm but it never materialized.
I didn’t want to let this spring go by with no bees, so I purchased a 3# package of Italian bees from an apiary and installed them about a month ago. I’ve been watching them travel in and out of the hive with interest and this morning finally went in for an inspection.
Here I’ve removed the roof and exposed the bars underneath:
My neighbor, who has been a traditional beekeeper forever, built a hive like mine and said his bees built comb perpendicular to the bars, so I was concerned mine might try to do the same thing.
I was very pleased to see this:
Isn’t that a pretty sight? Clever things. Look at the lovely white cells ready to be filled with honey.
That was the outermost bar. Here’s one further in:
Worker brood. (Thanks, Anna.) And some honey.
Same comb, closer up.
I didn’t use a smoker and I didn’t need one. The bees were docile and went about their business for the most part. The hardest thing was getting the bars back in place without squishing any bees between them. None of the comb I inspected was attached to the sloped sides of the hive. I used a knife to unstick between the bars, but there was minimal attachment there.
I’ll be back in a few weeks to check on their progress.
If you are unfamiliar with “natural beekeeping,” here’s a good place to start for an overview:
Look in the left-hand column under “Read” and click on “An introduction to Natural Beekeeping.” It’s a brief and easy-to-understand free summary.