Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day #232 Another Visit to That Top Bar Hive

For a great way to end the month of May, I visited Steve Merritt’s top bar hive. You may recall that he was someone I met last October at the very first meeting of the Gwinnett Beekeepers Club, and he offered to show his relatively new top bar hive to anyone who wanted to see it.

I took him up on his offer, but it was so close to the beginning of winter, the bees weren’t doing much.

Well, Tuesday I went back and spent time helping him do a hive inspection. We both found out that there are definite disadvantages to the top bar system. Since there isn’t any wooden frame around the comb that the bees build, if they goof (or even if the day is just too hot—it was 95 degrees on Tuesday), the weight of the comb is too heavy for the wax attachment on that top bar.

Some of the comb collapsed as Steve lifted it out for the inspection. The good news is that his beautiful, fat-bodied queen most definitely was on one of the combs that stayed in one piece. She was so busy laying eggs, it’s a wonder she even knew we were there.

Steve took a lot of pictures of the bees and said he'd email them to me so I can share them with you. I think you'll enjoy them.

I’m also thinking I’m really glad I didn’t go with the top bar plan. From now on Steve is going to be shifting his focus to the Warré hives that I wrote about in an earlier blogpost. He already has built five of them.

And—the comb that fell off? I brought a chunk of it home and am planning a homemade bread and comb-honey breakfast! Yummy in the Tummy!

BEEattitude for Day # 232:
       Blessed are those who plant trees for shade, for they shall avoid excess air conditioning.

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Jamey said...

Oh, this is good to know - I hadn't thought about problems with the wax combs and heat... I was planning to do an inspection of my TBH this weekend - but with the temps expected to be in the 94+ range I think I'll wait. (It's got to get cooler soon, right? Right? ;)

Jamey (aka Jim) Griesser

... I do have a window built in the side of my TBH so I can do a quick visual check (without having to don my helmet/veil and light the smoker) to make sure nothing looks terribly out of whack. So far everything looks good.

Fran Stewart said...

Glad I could be of service.

It can't stay in the 90s forever!

I was out at 6:30 this morning watering the bee-plants, hoping they'll hold their blooms for a while.