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Friday, February 27, 2009

The best Top Bar Hive ever

I think I have created the best Top Bar Hive EVER!!

Let me first say that I am a capitalist who believes it is possible to both make a profit and give things away free. So my idealist plan is to develop this bee hive and produce it commercially then give the plans away free. If this design is as successful as I think it will be I would not want to keep the ideas and principles way from developing countries or hobbyist who could not other wise buy my commercial hive. I think I will be able to make and sell the parts and pieces of this hive to those who other wise could not build it from the plans either because they do not have the skill or they do not have the time. So in the end I hope to provide both a saleable commodity and a free set of plans that can be used to build a hive with the same specifications.

My friends have asked me why is it that I think I have designed the best hive ever when people have been keeping bees for thousands of years. Surely someone has come up with these ideas before. I suppose it is arrogant to think I have come up with something and no one else has ever thought of before. But if it is then it is. I really think I have done it. However, I am not so arrogant to think that my design will actually work in its current form.

This is why I need help. I need researchers and beekeepers who are willing to work with me in the development process. I also need help setting up a company that will offer stock to all the people who help.

My process of developing this hive started when I learned that for the most part honey bees will live and produce honey in just about any open space that will keep them dry when it rains. So I reason that any other design characteristics are purely intended for the beekeeper. As long as we keep the bees dry they should produce honey.

I have researched and read so much stuff on bees and hives that I think I will go crazy. There are so many benefits to the foundationless top bar type of hive and beekeeping that can be found though simple Internet searches that I will never have the time to list them here. There are also as many ideas on building top bar hives as there are people building them. So I will not list them here. What I will list are the issues that I think I have addressed below.

My design is a top bar hive that:
1) Is stackable for moving and storage.
2) Is easily moved with little or no damage to the top bar comb.
3) Easy to protect from varmints such as skunks.
4) Has a one bee space porch type entrance that;
a) allows guard bees to ambush unwanted guests.
b) is easily closed for moving.
c) can easily be reduced for over wintering.
d) does not allow for flying directly into the hive. This is needed to help keep unwanted guests out.
5) Eliminates or allows the bees to regulate high humidity.
6) Has built in temporary comb storage to allow for easier manipulation and inspection of the hive.
7) Can be "supered" with standard foundation type honey supers.
8) Brood chamber can be expanded easily.
9) Has open or mite screened bottom that can easily be reduced for over winter.
10) Is particularly suited for keeping more aggressive or "African" strains of bees.
11) Allows for a more natural hive development.
12) Honey can be harvested without disturbing the brood.
13) Aggressive bees can be relegated to the brood chamber to allow honey harvest with NO bees flying free to harass the keeper.
14) Up to 10 of these hives can easily be loaded in a US standard 8 foot pickup bed.

Other items:
1) A feeder that can feed either liquid bee feed or honey or solid fondant type food.
2) Rack to fit into a pickup truck to allow for greater ease in movement of hives.
3) Harvesting devices that allow for greater ease and faster harvest times.
4) Modifications to existing harvesting equipment to allow top bars.

Special note:
I have built prototypes of these hives and they are far simpler than it would seem.

My vision is to have this hive made in injection mold process but need someone to step forward and help with that process.


Curtis said...

I must confess this design departs from the spirit of the Kenya or top bar hive in that it is complicated. It would be very expensive to build in developing countries.

My goal at the moment is to build working prototypes to prove the concepts. Once that is completed I don't think it will be any more expensive to build than other models.

In fact I think this hive can be built with minimal wood stocks and a majority of the supplies be woven with grass or reeds.

Curtis said...

This hive can also be adjusted for topbars that are cut to meet the needs of Africanized bees.