Sunday, April 25, 2021

Hanging Top Bar Hives ~ Three Sizes

TA DA!!!!

Look what I did yesterday! Been meaning to do this forever and it finally percolated up to the top of the Neverending To Do List. Some friends were over a couple days ago and helped me get the hardware off the old porch swing and drill holes in the board the hive will sit on. Some other friends invited me to dinner and a visit Friday, so I took the hardware with me since I knew the He of the couple would have larger washers I needed. So by Saturday I had everything I needed for the project. Thanks to friends. 

Blue=existing entrances. Red=new ones.
I've been doing projects in stages, small steps every day. Things get done a lot easier that way and I don't wear myself out. I'm getting older, so can't expect to go all day like I used to. After too many disappointing days being a hardhead only to fail AND spend the next day painfully, I finally decided to give that shit up and just deal with the fact that I'm not twenty anymore. What a wonderful thing! Giving myself permission to NOT finish things in one day! Such relief. And, interestingly, I get so much more done now because instead of being disappointed in how little I got done, I'm happy that I reached my daily goal. Disappointment weighs you down while happy gives you energy, so I end up doing more than I thought I would. Bonus!

Awwwwwww. Cute little nuc box.
So yesterday I thought I'd just go hang the board and call it a day. It went so easily and I was so happy with it that I thought I'd clean out the best topbar of the two and just set it on the swing board to look at it. That went so well that I thought I'd screw it down so the wind wouldn't send it flying. That went so well that I thought I'd drag the other top bar to the house so I could clean it out the next day. That went so well that I cleaned it out, took it apart, cut it into two, cut new ends for the second nuc box one, screwed them all back together, drilled new entrances, and hung 'em on the swing, too! 

So now I have a 44" top bar hive, a 30" top bar  hive, and a 14" 8-bar nuc box. Ain't it kayewt?! I've always wanted a cute little top bar nuc box.  Only thing left to do is fashion a top. Not sure what I want to do for one yet, so that'll wait for another day.

Feeder w/follower & divider boards either side.
Spot of melted wax, too - hot out already. UGH.
I also cut some divider boards - three of them. I already had some follower boards, but those don't fit snugly enough to keep bees from going around them. I wanted to be able to divide a top bar completely in two to have two colonies in it if need be. I always thought that would be handy in case I saw some SURPRISE! swarm cells and wanted to make a split on the fly. 

I'll keep the follower boards that bees can get around so I can feed them in the empty cavity part of the top bar. But now I have options, man. Options are nice. And are all easily stored at one end 'til you need them. You can always make one divider board, then drill a couple holes in it and add a swing-cover of sorts - then you'll have both in one board. I'll probably do that next time I build one from scratch instead of redo an existing one. 

I'd bought some extra-long bars when I bought the extra regular sized  ones. The long ones fit perfectly into a Lang box. Handy. I know there's an idea in there somewhere. Maybe I'll build a top bar to use those bars on so I can switch the frames from topbar to Lang. Wouldn't THAT be handy when a top bar gets too packed and I'm not ready to harvest or split the colony. Or maybe I'll use them on the Long Lang I've always thought about building. Who knows. But that really WILL have to wait for another day.


  1. Hiya! Just found your blog today! Do you have any updates on the hanging hive?

    1. Nope, Moonshine, I sure don't. I was hoping to populate the mid-sized one with a package or a swarm, but it didn't turn out that way after all. There's always next year though!

      You have bees? Want bees? Ever tried a top bar? I've used these before and they're nice. Just haven't had any bees in either of these for a couple years now - been busy with my Warre hives and Langs.

  2. I don't have bees, but I have bee-KEPT and it was a thrilling, life-changing experience that helped me overcome my phobia of them! I'm an amateur gardener in zone 9B (Sacramento) and have done my best to stock up on pollinator attractors for spring. Sowing seeds this weekend and next! I somehow found you through your protests of Baker Creek, and I LOVE you. Thank you for keeping it left-leaning out there!

    1. Thank you for the compliments, Moonshine! You've touched on something I've been thinking about for a while now - what to do with my blog now that I'm pretty much retired from teaching gardening, and have been kicking around the idea of not shying away from political stuff anymore. The Baker Creek post is about the only one that gets any traffic now, and it gets a LOT. I don't know if I'd post a lot of out-and-out political stuff, but I'm thinking more about not shying away from it like I have when writing a regular post.

      Then there's the downside - for every comment you see on that Baker Creek post, there are three racist bastards I deleted. That post gets about a thousand views a month, so you can imagine how many comments I get. I've been trying to decide if I'm willing to deal with that every day on multiple posts. I'm leaning toward "yes", but am still thinking.

  3. I think you've found a space that needs you.... :) Your voice is powerful. Please use it. I love how you write.


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