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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


Backyard urban beekeeping

Urban Bee CompanyAlong with turning our front yard into a giant edible wonderland, my husband and I are thinking of getting backyard bees. We have a couple of options: we can host a hive through one of several organizations in the area (our top choice is Urban Bee Company) or we can set up our own shop.

Last year I took a class on beekeeping from Seattle Tilth and learned, more or less, the basics. I also received a review copy of Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More, which I've been dutifully studying.

Unfortunately, all the books and training I've had has been on Langstroth hives. Both companies that do the hosting stuff in Seattle also use Langstroth hives. But, I've been immensely fascinated by top bar hives which seem easier and more natural in many respects.

The benefits of hosting a hive are that I don't have to do anything besides provide the space. At the end of the deal, we get 10% of the honey. We'll most definitely be going this route for a number of reasons (laziness and fear top the list), but I still am drawn to the top bar hives.

Do any of you keep bees and, if so, what kind of hives do you have?

vickiec
6/2/2011 10:24:07 PM

I am a new Beekeeper. We live on 4.5 acres and I have a liking for Honey. I researched topbar hives on the internet and found plans for free. My husband made my hive and I love it. I ordered my bees from a local Beekeeper. I haven't taken any classes yet but I will. I'm having some trouble with determining the difference in brood comb and capped honey. My bees started their combs at an angle to the top bar, this has caused some of the comb to be attached to the other topbar. I hope to straighten this out when I harvest Honey. That should happen the first week of july. I'll keep you posted.


cathymcp
5/28/2011 2:58:11 PM

I am a wannbee-keeper. I have blackberry brambles for a neighbor and would like to make use of their nectar since I can't get rid of them. While the cascading effect over my fence is convienient for picking, the cane shoots that come up across my organic garden are a nucense. Since the 100' brambling baracade can't be removed, I want to maximize their potential and make use of them. In this case making blackberry lemonaide out of blackberries. I have been surfing the internet finding swarms of information with demo's on utube, collecting used books from Powells.com, and our local Master Gardeners group but as of yet still an armchair beekeeper. Maybe we could start a support group for wannabee's.


chrism
5/11/2011 9:11:35 AM

Based out of Portland, OR, this company makes Warre and Top bar hives: http://www.beethinking.com/store - I attended one of his classes and am planning on a top bar myself.