Our adventures into the world of beekeeping came with mixed results in 2021. I’m happy to say that the top bar hive that we acquired in October 2020 did survive the winter and even flourished throughout 2021, enough to provide us with our first bit of honey and beeswax! Keeping our fingers crossed that it does well during the winter of 2021/2022!
We also obtained a 5 frame nuc for a traditional Langstroth hive, but sadly it never took. I think there were some learning errors on my part and these bees didn’t seem very willing to expand from their original 5 frames, that it came to no surprise that the hive died before Christmas 2021. Multiple attempts at feeding, did not produce the desired results.
We’re going to try again in the Spring of 2022. We ordered one 5 frame nuc for Langstroth hive (it’s the vertical hive that is common throughout the USA) and one 3 pound package of bees with queen for an additional top bar hive.
Top bar hive (aka horizontal hive) Langstoth Hive (above)
Having now worked both types of hives, I find the top bar hive to be much easier to manage. The quantity of honey is significantly less than a Langstroth hive, but until we start selling honey, there isn’t much of a hurry to make the switch. For now, we’re content to having both hive types in the apiary and learning how to manage both in a way that is best of the bees as well as us. We’ll do a more in depth topic on different types of hives and bee management techniques in a later post. Until then, check out some bees!
To extract honey from a top bar hive, you have to crush the comb and filter the honey from the beeswax. It's a slow, sticky process, but the end result is worth it!
A piece of broken comb with raw honey inside.
The final product all packaged in nice jars. Oh the possibilities!
During a late summer hive inspection (can you tell how hot and sweaty I am?!), Olaf, our angora goat asked me if he could have a hive of his own in 2022. We're "thinking about it".