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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Worked in a bee yard

I posted a few weeks back that I had contacted a local beekeeper and he agreed I could help. Well I got a chance. It is a long story and I learned a great deal.

What started out as about 100 bee hives were condensed into about 45. Interesting process but there was no consideration for the bees or any type of preservation of genetic groups. We basically checked to see if the hive had bees and about how many. Then swapped and combined hive bodies and honey supers to create a similar height pallet of 4 hives then loaded them on a truck. It was a big mix and match game, much like a shell game.

First, all of the hives were sitting on converted pallets. Each pallet had 4 hives on it. So we went through the yard from one side to the other and opened the top and/or tilted the to look under the bottom. Then started removing and combining pallets and hive boxes until we had combined as many of them as we could to make the same height pallets. When we were done they loaded about 45 hives onto a flatbed truck with a fork lift. Then wrapped the whole thing in a netting and off the drove.

This left about 5 or 10 colonies that were either week or were in odd sized boxes. There were a bunch of wooden boxes left out there and a lot of foundation frames with honeycomb.

I guess this is not a normal process. They had to do this because the yard had been neglected. I guess the guy picking up the bees had agreed he would pay only for full healthy hives and did not want the old or weak stuff. I didn't have time for pictures but it definitely left an impression.

I now know that if I want my hive to be accepted by this type of bee keeper it will need to fit on a pallet and that I need to get 4 hives into the same space as they can get 4 hives. I don't think it would be exact but I think that the benefits of a TBH would be worth the little extra space.

The biggest issue, at least from their prospective, is that harvesting honey from TBH is not fast enough. So I left with many things to think about.

Bottom line is that I am still committed to building the best Topbar Hive EVER!


Leigh This Way said...

Okay, Soo I didn't really understand what was going on except that y'all were combining hives and then some of the better ones got shipped off. But I'm glad that you learned something and that it will be helpful to your hives. :-)

Curtis said...

Yea I guess I did kinda put a lot of double speak in that post. The bottom line is that I intend to keep bees in a more natural setting and not be so harsh on them. I intend to keep each hive as naturally as possible without chem or man-made anti-bacterial treatements keeping the genetics of each hive as pure as possible.

This is not how the commercial keeps do things.