Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Importance of Beeing a Beekeeper - part 1

Building the Top Bar Hive kit

For years now, Mr PB has been reading about and talking about beekeeping.

You may remember that we bought a Beepol Bumble Bee lodge from Dragonfli, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having a Bumble Bee colony in the garden. They were fascinating!

We were devastated when the lodge became infested with Wax Moth larvae and we lost all the bees. It would appear that other people had experienced the same issues though, because the following year when we ordered another Beepol, Dragonfli had added some Wax Moth deterrents to their range.

We tried, we really did. We installed the special anti-Wax Moth door, but again, the colony were overcome by the horrid larvae and the crazy silky webs they create. Dragonfli have since introduced a Wax Moth Concentrated Repellent, which you dilute and spray all over the hive every 2-3 weeks for full protection. We haven't tried it, so can't comment on it's effectiveness.

This year, Mr PB decided he was going to put all his research into practice, and build himself a Top Bar Hive, a more natural method of keeping honeybees which is championed here in the UK by Phil Chandler, The Barefoot Beekeeper. I made contact with Phil via Twitter, and asked him if he felt there were any advantages to a Warre (pron: Wah rey) hive over a Horizontal Top Bar Hive. Phil was incredibly helpful, and we decided that we would stick with the horizontal type.

beekeeping top bar hive kit
Hive on it's back, showing long bee entrance
Beekeeping top bar hive kit
Two ends on
After investigating the options and cost implications of either building from scratch, or building from a kit, Mr PB bought a cedar self assembly kit from Bees n Blossom on Ebay. It looked really good, but the instructions were absolutely impossible to follow, and building was a lengthy, sweary process!!

beekeeping top bar hive kit
Mesh grille fitted to the bottom
Beekeeping top bar hive kit             
Part of the ventilation underneath
These are some photos of the early stages, it took so long that I kind of lost interest (oops) and didn't bother to document any more than this.
Time was against us though, as this was the end of April (2015), and our bees were going to be ready for collection at the beginning of May!!
Eventually the darn thing was finished, and sited next to the greenhouse, it looked super!

Beekeeping top bar hive kit
Hive with legs on, showing the viewing panel on the front

Now on to Part 2...

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