Because of Mary Lou Blohm, Gilmer County is all about the AZ hive. How they are putting the Slovenian AZ hive to use reminded me of Les Crowder in New Mexico. Les kept top bar hives. He became the bee inspector for New Mexico for five years and was the president of the New Mexico beekeepers for five years. He has taught beekeeping classes in New Mexico since 1983. And as a result of his expansive influence, almost all beekeepers in New Mexico use his top bar design as their hive structure.
Well, in Ellijay, Georgia, Mary Lou Blohm has been singing the praises of the AZ hive and as a result, there are many Gilmer County beekeepers with bees in AZ hives. Before my talk at the Gilmer County bee meeting, I was invited to visit Brian Drebber at his home to see his AZ hives and hive house.
AZ Hives live in a house and are worked from the back. Brian's daughter painted all of these beautiful hives. The bees enter from the front. The typical AZ hive is only two boxes tall and has no honey supers, but Brian has built the bottom boxes to be the right size to use Langstroth sized frames.
From the back, the AZ hive is like a kitchen cabinet with frames that slide out. He also has a working tray that is used at the back of the hive.
People can work AZ hives from a sitting position and no lifting is involved.
Brian wanted to use Langstroth deep frames so he built hives to fit those. As you can see in the photo, the tall narrower frame is the standard AZ frame. Behind it is a Langstroth frame by virtue of length and height, but the Langstroth size AZ frame is exactly the same top and bottom - no top bar and bottom bar.
We left Brian's (and lucky me, I got eggs to take home from his chickens - delish) and drove to the Gilmer County where they were having a public hive inspection.
So often beekeepers feel like they have to hide or be cautious about their beehives. Not Gilmer County where the hives are right in front of the entire community.
These are their three AZ hives, educating the community with the idea.
And here are the club members inspecting the Langstroth hives as well.
I really enjoyed my visit to the Beekeepers of Gilmer County in Ellijay, Georgia. Below you can see a video that Brian (who is a TV commentator in real life) made about the AZ hives.