Post by alisafaulk on Jul 21, 2011 21:16:47 GMT -7
Hi - I've got a friend who wants to get started in beekeeping and is leaning toward a Top Bar or Warre hive that she's seen at a new store in Ptd - Bee Thinking www.beethinking.com/
She's leaning toward more organic beekeeping and got a book that store, but from the looks of it, it seems very negative about Langstroth and more about alternative hives only. Some of the other hive types look interesting, but I don't know enough to answer questions about them.
Does anyone have a source on-line or a book that gives a balanced pro and cons of the different hive types to help her make an informed decision?
biobees.com forum is a good source of information on top bar hives (warre, kenyan, tanz.) They go very much in depth on the differences and advantages (disadvantages) of all types of hives (langs, nationals, skeps, top bars, etc.) The site is based in europe somewhere, but there is plenty of stateside members.
I have langs. They are expensive.
I have 3 top bar hives now. The most expensive one I own cost me 39 bucks to make. They are easy to work. Easy enough to harvest from (crush and strain)
If I were a strict hobbiest (I am) I would go with a top bar hive. They require a little more tinkering to make sure they draw comb straight. You need to manage them a little more in depth. Biobees has free plans for their version of a top bar hive.
I am going to build a warre hive this winter to populate in spring. From what I gather its a low magagement type of beekeeping. You look at the entrance a few times a month and let the bees tell you how they are doing. Bottom super (nadiring) in the spring and take the 2 top supers in the fall for your honey.
Post by mickelberrygardens on Jul 23, 2011 11:22:21 GMT -7
I am a fan of the langstroth hive for both the hobby and the pro beekeeper. There are more resources (books, classes and fellow beekeeps) & the lang hive ( from what I have seen and heard ) gets more honey. You are able to reuse drawn comb in your supers which also results in more honey in the following years. Also the top bar requires more maintenance imo because the comb the bees are building needs to be regularly monitored to make sure it does not cross over multiple bars, which makes pulling frames nearly impossible. This monitoring can be particularly challenging for a new beekeeper. the bees attach comb on all sides of the frames on a lang, where the top bar is only attached on the top. this makes a big difference when trying to shake bees off a frame which is a no-no with the top bar. The langstroth hive is sturdier and easier to move without damaging comb, whereas a top bar is a bit more wobbly and difficult to move without comb breaking. The biggest pro I hear beekeeps say about the top bar is the bees building their own comb. this can be done quite successfully in a lang using foundationless frames. I've been keeping bees organically with langs for some time now and have been happy with the results. Altho having said all this, I do plan on buying a top bar next year just for fun. I find that people think the only way to keep bees organically is with a warre or top bar, and this is not the case. No matter which hive you do, good luck!
Post by Cacklewack on Jul 26, 2011 13:17:34 GMT -7
My favorite hives to work in are horizontal top bar hives. I don't have to lift any boxes, the bees tend to be less aggressive (as you don't expose so many at once), and they generally incorporate a window. For someone looking to go the top bar route I would recommend a horizontal top bar hive to start.
My favorite hives to leave alone (at remote sites, etc) are Warre hives. As I expand past 30 hives I'll continue expanding with Warres. Since they are so hands off, however, I do not recommend them for the beginner, as you will learn little about the inner-workings of the hive.
I have one Langstroth Hive (foundationless, 8 frame) that is fine. I don't prefer frame hives. If you're going to go the Langstroth route, I suggest using foundationless frames as Matt mentioned. They work great.
Thanks for all the replies! I'll suggest the couple of books mentioned and will forward all your replies to her. I checked out bio bee and it looks like a great resource for alternative hives, but for a newbee I think it might be hard to sort through to find the pros and cons of the different hive types (hint for anyone writing a book!).
Thanks again and would love to hear more thoughts! Alisa
I started out with reading on the Biobee's site as well. I went with the Top Bar hive and have been very pleased. It is quite inexpensive and very very easy to make and use for the beginner. It's biggest drawback is the possibility if crosscomb. If you create top bars with guides, this becomes far less of an issue but does still occur. If you come to the McMinnville area during the spring sometime let me know and I'd be happy to show you some TBH's in use.
I do have one langstroth. It was destroyed by Wax moths. I dont attribute that to because it being a lang. Just mentioning that I do have some experience with it. I find it much harder to remove frames from a lang than the TB. Always worried about squishing the bees and killing the queen. A worry I never have in the top bar.