Alternative Beehives

Recently I wrote an article about the innards of a beehive. I touched on some of the types of hives besides the Langstroth hives that I use. (see article here to catch up http://cagmain.com/2015/07/15/inside-a-beehive/ ). Recently I made my way back home to eastern Ky and visited a cousin. His "bee gums" reminded me that you don't have to have a $300 store bought hive to get the wonderful liquid gold we know as honey. On occasion, I forget my hillbilly roots that inspire me to make everything myself and get carried way with the modern more efficient ways of doing things. Sometimes, any way is better than no way. A bee gum is nothing more than a section of a hollow tree that bees were living in. You find the bees and cut down a the section with the most honey, comb and the queen in it. You take it home and set it up on a stand of some sort and cover the top. As time allows, you can build a box to put atop the gum that acts as a super. It can be a Langstroth style super or a homemade top bar super.[wpvideo 6g5Uge79]

A top bar hive is a container, usually a trapezoidal box with small 1/2x1 inch boards spanning the top. it can be that simple or you can get fancy and attach a piece of triangular stock to the board or cut them triangular to begin with. The point of the triangle will hang down and act as an edge for the bees to hang their comb. You may also use a 55 gallon drum cut longitudinally. You can also use hollowed out logs with top bars placed inside.

top bar

Obtaining the bees is a different story. You can buy them during the spring and summer. A 3lb package (about 10K) of bees and a mated queen will set you back about $150 with shipping, to your local post office. You can put an add in a local paper or Craigslist offering to remove hives and swarms for free or you can try to bait them in with lemongrass oil and other techniques. This year I harvested a nice swarm from a neighbors peach tree. Don't be afraid, when bees are swarming, they are very docile and don't usually attack. In the video you will see me sweeping the bees off the tree with a light bristled brush into one of my hive bodies. [wpvideo 7oWhMDpQ] I hope you find this useful. Stay tuned for more articles and videos on beekeeping and other readiness topics. Don't forget to jump over to CAG NET where Green Berets and other subject matter experts (SME's) hang out. Ask questions and get involved in the conversation. AL

TR

Last modified onThursday, 20 April 2017 06:31

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