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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, April 01, 2018

My New Top Bar Hive

My friend Andy Marcus is an air conditioning guy in spring and summer, but during the calmer days of winter, he builds top bar hives. Julia ordered one from him and I saw it and loved it. I called Andy, who told me he had just enough time to do one more top bar hive this winter.

When he finished it, Jeff and I went up to get it. Andy lives near Dahlonega, GA. We took Jeff's car, which is bigger than mine, because the hive is HUGE. It was a cold, misty, rainy kind of day in early February.

We were blown away by the gorgeous top bar hive that waited for us at Andy's house. Here it is with Andy, the builder:

To put this in the car, we had to remove the legs! Both of my sons-in-law carried it out of the car into my yard where it sat on a stack of hive boxes, waiting for me to paint the legs.

Last weekend, Jeff worked to attach the now-painted legs. Literally as he tightened the last bolt, my phone rang with a swarm call to pick up a swarm not too far away on an arbor - it was such an exciting swarm collection that I will do a separate post on it.

So here it sat in my backyard waiting for the swarm to arrive!

The hive boxes are under it because the top bar rested on the boxes while we worked on getting the legs attached.

I could sleep in this box - it's as big as a coffin!

Another check on the Buckfast bees

The Buckfast bees near Emory are doing fine. In the intervening week between St. Patrick's Day when we installed them and Thursday, the 29th when I last inspected them, we've had incredibly cold weather for Atlanta after the first day of spring. We've had nights in the 30s and day time with only about an hour above 52 degrees.

That is to say that the weather has not been very conducive to bees flying to collect nectar. They have to have nectar to draw wax, so neither of the Buckfast hives (in Emory neighborhood or at my house) had a huge amount of new wax drawn. But these hives are using the wax. In most foundationless hives as soon as comb is drawn, the queen begins laying in it.

The hive at my house had done some coloring outside the lines in their wax building. I tried to get them back on proper course with heavy duty rubber bands.

These hives are doing well and I am pleased. The nectar flow is about to begin in Georgia. There is some nectar coming in, but the big flow comes with the tulip poplar and I had one errant bloom fall into my backyard today. However, in general, the tulip poplar here is beginning to put out leaves but not blooms.

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