Saturday, April 2, 2011

Top Bar Hive … update

The small swarm that we caught went into the Top Bar Hive.

A few days ago, I noticed a lot of big red ants running around inside and out.  I opened up the hive and with a wet paper towel, squished all the ants. I was suited up but the bees didn’t seem to mind my help. 

It was such a small swarm to start with…I felt bad when I noticed how many dead bees were by the entrance. The guard bees must have been trying to keep them out. their numbers are even smaller.

I spent the day working on a feeder for the Top Bar. I didn’t want it at the entrance where it might encourage “robbing” by the other hive.

While I had the “follower board” out ..I took a quick video. Here are a couple of pictures taken from it.snapshot_010cs

After looking at the pictures…..I was surprised to see they had started a second comb.

You can see it in the foreground…it’s the small white cluster of cells. There is another small..quarter sized piece of comb on one of the other bars, but I wasn’t able to get it in the photo.


It is so small I don’t have a lot of hope for it…but I’ll feed honey until they can get a few more bees. I don’t think they have many foragers.

I need to check both hives on Monday to see if each has  a Queen. The ants may have gotten to the Queen with this swarm and the other hive was started with a Queen cell. If that one didn’t make it then  I will buy a Queen for them. The gentleman who introduced me to bees is going to pick up a few for himself and will get me a couple if I need them.

I have a pretty blue chair by the hive so I can sit and watch them. It is interesting to see how many are bringing in pollen and how many are on guard duty. I open the observation window once in awhile to see what is going on inside.

Do you see the “tree'” to the L of the hives?  That is a hollow tree that had fallen during the storms a few years ago. Jim made me a “tree bee hive”. We’ll just let it sit there and hope a swarm decides to move into it. No honey from that one…Just a bee home.


This is the video of the inside of the Top Bar Hive.  They only have use of about a fifth of the hive. That way it is easier for them to control the temperature with their small numbers.  As they continue to grow I can open up more room for them

I ordered “supers” and frames for the other hive. They should be here in a few days. They will come unassembled…I get to put them together…cheaper that way. Can’t wait!!!!

Jim is even going to have his own hat and veil so he can help without getting bees in his face.

We are going to build a better stand for the hives. Hopefully it will end the ant problem and make it easier to mow in that area. They will be moved a bit forward so most of the mowing will be behind the hives and I can use the weed eater in front of them.


  1. Bummer about the ants but they sure are busy bees making hives. Hope they still have their queens. And what a delightful place to sit in your blue chair with the flowers and bees of life around you.

  2. wow. hadn't considered mowing around them. i'd imagine that might get tricky and intrusive for them. :)

  3. This gets more fascinating every time you post. I love how well you care for all of the little dears.

  4. I hope they make it. When hubby was in pest control we used to call a bee keeper to come and get any swarms we were called out to get rid of. It was very interesting all the things he showed us about the bees. There are intelligent little things. Helen

  5. I haven't visited here for a while and read with interest all that you have been up to with the bees. You are working so hard and I so hope they will be OK.--Inger

  6. This is really wonderful. Looking forward to learn more about the wild life around you.


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