Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom & Pleasure Combined 

by W.A. Mangum

Topbarhive sm

Since I got into beekeeping (or more modestly, bee-having), I have always wondered about the gap between what I know about bees and what the bees know about themselves. I have assumed the gap is decreasing because I try to keep increasing my knowledge by reading, observing, and listening to experienced experts (both acknowledged and self-proclaimed). These experts continue their reputations largely due to the fact that their recommendations are successful, at least most of the time. Success is the end point of any management effort, including beekeeping. Bees, too, have been successful. Successful for about a 100 million years, give or take a few million nectar flows.

Now back to the "gap". I really would like to know what bees know…or at least come closer. You may ask what my yearnings of deficiency have to do with this book.  I have always been intrigued by alternative, non-traditional ways of solving issues and beekeeping abounds with "curious" solutions. In fact, because of this, the new beekeeper needs to be warned that the "standardized" approach they learn is only a beginning.  Another way of keeping bees is getting increasing press, top-bar hives. They are rather new to us, eventhough they evolved out to the tubs and baskets of the 1500's, and seem rather bizarre compared to the obsessive design of the modern Langstroth hive. Top-bar hives are touted as being "more natural", … maybe more what bees would consider as natural.  Could that be true?  Wow, that would certainly fit into the void of knowledge I suffer from. So, I purchased the rather pricey book, but for me, bitten (stung) by the bug, it was well worth it. I am enthralled by its message and intend on sharing my thoughts in future articles. If you want to "read ahead" you might want to visit the author's web site.

More to come ...

Chuck Spann