At BackYardHive, we are committed to information and hive technologies that encourage and enable backyard beekeepers to be successful.
Our primary focus is on improving bee ecology and beekeeping methods that respect the honeybee. Our hope is that by introducing new hobby beekeepers to the rewards of beekeeping that there will eventually be backyard beekeepers worldwide that will help bring back the feral bee population and improve the genetic diversity of the honeybees. This diversity is critically important to the survival of this most precious natural resource. Thank you for being a part of the solution and being a part of the growing community of backyard beekeepers we are helping to create at BackYardHive.com.
A Vision Evolved
Since we started Backyard Hive over seven years ago, we’ve conducted many beekeeping workshops, sold hundreds of hives, attended beekeeping conferences all over the world and answered thousands of questions from beekeepers just like you.
DVD - How-To Top Bar Hive Bee Guardianship
In that time, we’ve learned a lot! We’ve honed our technique and evolved in our approach to beekeeping. We created the Bee Guardian movement (www.beeguardian.org) and crafted better hives as we observed our bees’ behavior. We’ve solved challenges faced by ourselves and our fellow Bee Guardians. And as we looked back, we realized it was time for that knowledge to be compiled and passed on to you.
The BackYardHive Top Bar Hive is an Easy Way to Keep Healthy and Productive Bees Without the Need for Special Equipment or Invasive Practices
The Backyard Hive Top Bar Hive has many advantages to the backyard beekeeper. This hive is easier to use, inexpensive to purchase, and it requires much less equipment and expertise to get into the adventure of bee keeping.
Are you an accomplished woodworker with some time on your hands? If so, you may want to build your own topbar hive the BackYardHive way.
We now offer Top Bar Hive plans for both our Golden Mean hive and the Original BackYardHive. The plans provide all of the measurements, specifications, and materials you will need. Of, course, we can't supply the time, tools, and expertise, but if you are ready to tackle the project, these plans will help.
You can view our Top Bar Hive Plans by clicking here
How to catch a swarm of bees
My bee-wrangling journey began very simply, with a call to a bee supply company in a neighboring town. I was looking for a swarm to purchase; the woman I spoke with informed me that they were out of swarms (I called in June, too late in the season), but that she could put me on their “swarm list” if I wanted. (A “swarm list” is a list of people who volunteer to remove bee swarms that show up in people’s yards.) I had no experience with swarms whatsoever—I’ve never even seen one in person—but I had a friend who had told me about catching swarms and who I knew I could call for advice...
How can I help prevent the decline of the honeybee?
Become a Bee Guardian
What is a Bee Guardian?
A Bee Guardian is interested, in aiding bees as a species in order to recapture their genetic vitality and diversity. Bee Guardians utilize beekeeping methods that respect the honeybee and oversee the local environment, ensuring it to be safe for the bees.
I want to share with you a very simple method of harvesting comb from a top bar hive. This should give you an idea of the potential yield and the relative simplicity of working with the top bar hive. The best part of this single comb harvesting method is that it can be done in less than 30 minutes and you will still get to the office on time!
All You Need to Know for Winter Feeding
Ideally, in the winter bees will hibernate by forming a ball where they circulate in a "dynamic system", an inter-weaving pattern much like penguins in the antarctic use to keep all the members warm. In a continual flow, the bees on the outside move inward into the center of the ball, and the bees in the center move toward the outside of the ball. If you were to put your hand in the hive in the winter you would find it pretty warm in there. Honey is passed from one bee to the next until all the stomachs are well fed. Their biggest challenge is to slowly move as a ball of bees to a new honey store as the old is depleted.
If you are just starting beekeeping or thinking about starting, then this is the time to
catch the wave to get setup for bee season. The first year of caring for
bees in the top bar hive is a simple setup.
You will need to:
1) Purchase or build a hive
2) Find a resource and order bees
3) Find a location for your hive
4) Purchase protective clothing
5) Coat the top bars with beeswax
6) Install the swarm or package of bees
The spacers are the thin strips of wood (1/4" thick) that come with our top bar hives and are described in our hive plans. Bees in natural habitats do not create equally-spaced combs. In a tree hive, for example, the bees will create two basic spacings. The typical space between brood combs is 1 3/8", but the spacing for honey combs is slightly larger at approximately 1 5/8". The 1/4" spacer, when placed adjacent to a topbar, will create the larger space needed to accommodate the fatter honey combs. The spacers are a unique development that Corwin designed after observing for the last 18 years how the bees built their comb in the top bar hives. The use of spacers in the honeycomb area of the hive encourages good alignment of the combs throughout the hive.
For the average size swarm or 3 lb package of bees, place your false back 10-12 bars from the entrance for a small hive or our Backyard Hive and 8-10 bars for our Golden Mean Hive. To install the spacers, start behind the false back and insert the spacers in between each top bar moving toward the back of the hive, placing each one on edge (not flat).
Our DVD visually illustrates this. Once the spacers are installed, keep the extra topbars as they come in handy when it comes time to harvest honey comb. You can pull out a comb and fill the space with one of these empty top bars.
Each hive of bees is unique. Since the construction of comb is somewhat fluid you may need to adjust the position of the spacers. Observing through the window, you'll be able to recognize where the bees have recently drawn out honey comb (by the long comb attachment on the window) and will be able to add or subtract spacers accordingly.