More the Same Than Different - Discussing Top Bar and Standard Hives, Part 2

| 8/23/2011 1:30:23 PM

Tags: honeybees, beekeeping, Kim Flottum, Christy Hemenway,

Hello, Kim -- 

Nice job - that’s a very neutral start for a blog about a subject that still occasionally seems to hit some beekeeper’s hot buttons.

There were definitely times in Gold Star Honeybees’ earlier days when I was referred to as “that top bar whacko”, and it seemed to me like I was everybody’s favorite target, but I have to say now that much of the... what would I call it... animosity?  hostility?  heat?  Whatever it was, it has mostly faded away, or at least cooled down several degrees.  

People eventually got curious and started asking questions and finally, it seemed like they began to worry a little less that they might lose their beekeeper badge if they investigated the features of a beehive other than the good Reverend’s stack of rectangular boxes.  Not that everyone’s changed their mind or made the switch - but it’s definitely a saner world today.

Of course, while we’re on the subject of hot debates - one could actually take both terms “Natural” and “Traditional” and toss them out the window.  There’s not much natural about asking bees to live in boxes where we can manipulate the very structure of their nest - and 158 years really isn’t all that long in the world of tradition.  

But if we’re going to accept the concept of “managed beekeeping”, and the need for “movable comb” hives, then it just makes sense to try to do what’s best for bees in this crazy time when it’s not so much about what kind of box you’re using - it’s really all about the bees.

Carrie B. VanWinkle
8/30/2011 4:52:01 PM

Really excited to read this 'dialogue' between Kim and Christy - and looking forward to reading more from them about top bar hives.

Backyard Beekeeper
8/24/2011 10:44:53 AM

Nice article by Christy. Backyard beekeepers interested in getting started with a top-bar hive can find more information at "Beekeeping with a Top-Bar Hive":

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!