Tri-State Bee Farm
Greetings and salutations to any and all!
Frank McAvinchey here reporting in from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Winter has come on early this year, covering all in white. All hives are at rest, relying on past summer's bounty to sustain.
We are trying out two alternate styles of hive bodies this coming season, comparing them to the standard Langstroth hives in regards to colony health, production, etc. Warré hives, and Top-bar hives are what we are looking at, both of which are technically top-bar hives, though the Warrés are set up like vertically stacked boxes, similar to Langstroth hives in that respect. I've constructed my first Warré hive, with four supers, a base with feet, and a gable roofed lid, following the instruction found at www.biobees.com. It's a beautiful little hive, but not sure what to expect, in terms of bee health, production of products, etc. It should prove to be an interesting experiment, and a glance back in time in a sense. The Top-bar hives are probably another thing all together. That style of hive is gaining support all over North America, owing to their greatly increased ease of use, ease of construction, lowered entry costs, and other factors. I've heard it said that honey production should be expected to be lower, though I've not yet read, nor heard of, any explanations why that should be. It almost sounds like vested interests are poo-pooing the design, attempting to keep it down. That sort of thing smacks of the global industrial/military complex that seems to be ruling the Earth these days. But that is another topic entirely, and best to stick to the one at hand, no?
So, hopefully I'll be posting updates of our progress here as the winter advances. I plan to work on building up my top-bar hives in particular this winter. My plan is to enter the Spring with something like 20 - 30 hives ready to go. I want to build up to several hundred hives spread out across the three neighboring states here - Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. You don't want to pack the hives in too tightly, though I've been at a bee yard in Texas where the owner had over 500 hives at a 4 acre site. That was an awe-inspiring sight, let me tell you! They guy was a migrant beekeeper, with 36,000 hives at the time that I visited him. He had 11 men working full-time for him, paying them between $10 - 15 US. All his men were from Nicaragua, and he brought them in on work visas. My friend had an amazing business going. Those are the possibilities we are talking about. In that light, my 20 - 30 hives seems a mere pitance.
Here is a link to another blog o'mine. What it shows is a Warré beehive that I built, with nothing but scrap lumber. It took four hours to build this hive from scratch. I think that once I've built another one or two hives that I should be able to get the time-frame down to two hours per hive setup. That, assuming these things work well...