I’m excited to try a brand new experiment this current year: top-bar beekeeping!
In old-fashioned “Langstroth” hives (or about, conventional because the mid-1800’s), rectangular structures are placed into rectangular bins, additionally the bees develop their particular comb into these rectangular shapes. The inspiration when you look at the structures typically have line running right through the center (or, recently, manufactured off solid synthetic), meaning you can remove them, spin all of them in a centrifuge to extract the honey, and then return them into hive for re-use. As you re-use the honeycomb, the bees can spend more time making honey much less time making wax, increasing your manufacturing.
From the flip-side, having line along the center, or worse, plastic, helps it be harder to harvest brush honey: you end up requiring an unique contraption to separate your comb into functional components.
More very important to myself, most the foundation available is “large cell”, meaning it is been pre-printed with with 5.4mm wide cells. This is certainly bigger than the rougly 4.9mm cells bees will make if kept with their very own devices. The reasoning behind the bigger cellular is it leads to bigger bees and larger honeycomb cells overall, consequently much more honey manufacturing.
Undoubtedly this might be true, but there’s in addition developing proof that larger cells leave a hive much more vunerable to varroa mite infestation: the mites grow in the cells combined with the bee larva, and larger cells yield even more mites.
So this year, I’m beginning a fresh hive as a Kenyan top-bar bee hive. In top-bar beekeeping, you don’t provide the bees with a-frame or basis, you easy provide them with an empty area and bars towards the top of the hive to attract their particular brush down from. Because there’s no foundation, they’ll develop whatever cell size meets their fancy.
Needless to say, the bees need invest more time creating aside their foundation (since none is supplied), therefore initially 12 months honey manufacturing is normally quite little.
Worse, harvesting is much more destructive into the hive: you can’t put the comb in a centrifuge as it’s also fragile without the cable running right through the inspiration. Rather, you simply break the brush in a colander and allow the honey drip out…or eat it because cut brush. This means that in subsequent years, they’re also investing their particular time drawing brand new comb in the place of creating honey. But hey, I’ve been harvesting 15 gallons of honey each year for some time today, and therefore’s sufficient for more peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches than i possibly could consume in forever.