What’s Good For The Bees…
Like many Top Bar Hive users, we too have come to learn the benefits of a Top Bar Bee hive. In a TBH the bees build the comb naturally, the way they have been building combs for millions of years. They use wax that they create themselves. This wax is produced from wax glands located on their legs. In traditional bee hives, sheets of wax foundation are installed in the frames and the bees draw off the design on these sheets.
One of the problems with this wax foundation is we don’t know where this wax comes from. It could have been recycled from beehives that died out due to viral or bacterial infections. It might have come from beehives that were treated with chemicals and/or pesticides. Wax is soluble. It absorbs chemical treatments and can compound them over time. Once melted down and reused to make wax foundation for conventional beehives this wax can have large accumulations of toxins in it.
We here at NC Beehives prefer not to introduce any chemicals into our beehives. We feel that bees have been building beehives naturally for millions of years and that the chemicals invented during the past 50 yrs or so have contributed to the current plight of the honeybee. We don’t believe that when Langstroth invented the conventional hive that he would have ever imagined that science and technology would advance so much that it would make his beehive a vessel that could harm the honeybee.
Raising bees naturally and chemical-free is the only way we raise bee’s here at NC Beehives. In our beehives the bees also build the combs to the sizes that they need them. Brood comb is smaller because the workers are smaller female bees. Drone comb is larger because the male bees are large bees. Honey comb is a different size too. When a Naturally mated queen bee is bred she can mate with as many as 4 or 5 different drone bees. It is believed that when the Queen bee dips her abdomen into a comb she knows by the size of the comb what egg to lay. A worker bee egg is a fertilized egg whereas a drone bee egg is unfertilized. She can determine whether the egg gets fertilized or not.
We have been building Top Bar Hives for almost 8 yrs now and have made the mistakes that many current TBH builders and beekeepers are making today. We don’t put our hives on legs but we do build stands for these hives. Our stands are low to the ground and must be placed on a sturdy base and not just set on the ground. It has been our experience that these heavy beehives, if used with legs, can sink into the ground after a soaking rain. This can cause combs to break off making a mess of your new beehive. We also don’t use any hinges on our beehives. Due to a hinge coming loose, and a bad experience trying to screw that hinge back onto a beehive with 50,000 bees in it, we’ve stopped the use of any hinges on our hives. Our Observation Windows are set into the wood with no glues or caulks needed. We take the extra time needed to router out the wood and inset the windows. We have found that simply securing the windows to the inside of the beehive, using glue or caulk, allows the bees to more easily attach their combs to the window making it hard to use the Observation Windows effectively.
Wood is important. We want our new beekeepers to enjoy their new beehives. We offer a standard beehive made of Pine wood. Pine is a beautiful wood that is inexpensive and easily available. It is a good wood for beehives but it doesn’t hold up all that well out in the environment. Our lid design keeps most of the rain off the sides of the hives but it doesn’t always rain straight down. The option we offer is Cypress wood. Cypress wood only grows in the SE United States. This can make it too expensive for builders in other parts of the country to use. Cypress wood grows in the swamps and is some of the most water-resistant wood on the market. Its turns a beautiful silver color over time and will outlast any hive made of Pine.
Finally, the cost of a new beehive is often the leading reason why some people choose not to start keeping bees. With some Top Bar Beehives costing close to $600, beekeeping can quickly become too costly for some people. We here at NC Beehives are more concerned about the bees then we are about becoming rich off of building beehives. Our hives are some of the most cost conscious hives on the market. Starting at $175 we believe that it is now within reach of almost anyone to become a beekeeper.
There are many benefits to raising bees in a Natural Chemical-Free manner. Listed above are just a few of these benefits. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We answer many questions each month and always answer questions as quickly as possible. We don’t claim to know everything about beekeeping and we too have had our trials and errors. We are just regular people who love the honeybee and we want to help new beekeepers to understand and raise bees naturally too. Thanks