Open House: New Top Bar Beehive
In my first Bee Movie, Gone With the Swarm, half of the beehive was homeless, six and half pounds of buzzing bees dangling from a pencil-thin grapevine while scout bees searched for a new place to live. Before you could say, “Pass the honey, Honey” we (meaning my friend Heidi) captured the bees in a swarm bucket. And that is where we left off.
The bucketful of bees weighed close to seven pounds, which is an attention-getting number as swarms go. When David returned from Eastern Washington, he brought over a top bar beehive to house the large swarm, which was resting quietly in a cool shady place.
When I saw the size and stateliness of his homemade bee condo, I had to start singing “The Jeffersons” theme song, “Oh we’re movin’ on up…to the Eastside…to a deluxe apartment in the sky.” (Did I mention, I live alone?)
As the video shows, the top bar hive is quite a bee pad, a roomy horizontal wood palace replete with a viewing window and easy access for the beekeeper and the bees. David removed the lid from the bucket and turned it upside down over the open hive. After a couple shakes, the bees dropped en masse to the awaiting hive box. The frame slats were placed over them and the metal roof returned, all was well in my world of bees (for once).
At the front of the hive, David placed temporary grills, wide enough to allow worker bees to go about their business but too narrow to allow the queen bee to escape. In a day or two, the grills will be removed when the bees have settled in.
Some beehive. David made it out of recycled bamboo flooring planks.
For now it’s business as usual, the bees feverishly collecting nectar and pollen, the orchard a delightful backdrop for their comings and goings. The original hive is about ten feet away and equally busy as a honeybee’s favorite forage reaches full bloom: Blackberry brambles!