Spring is a busy season here at Koanga! As the ground warms up, trees begin to blossom and the birds begin to sing, every indication is that it’s time to get out there and keep up with the pace of the season! If you’re having a bit of trouble finding the motivation to get your act together, perhaps a lesson from the bees will help. That’s right, bees!
Here at Koanga, we’ve all been inspired by watching the bees flit and fly about, busying themselves with nectar and pollen collection to bring home. They’re out setting the example for us that it’s time to get out and garden! Just recently even, we happened upon the fortune of a local beekeeper who was kind enough to sell us a swarm from his apiary that we could install into a newly built top bar hive.
Top bar hive, you wonder? Well, it’s quite simple really. Some may be imagining the square bee boxes that stack vertically into the air, often seen from a roadside drive past a local bee yard. A top bar hive is a different style of hive with it’s own benefits and advantages. It’s a system that provides easy management for the bees and beekeeper. Some of these benefits we’ve already reviewed in our most recent introduction to beekeeping (the top bar way) workshop.
For those already into conventional beekeeping and wondering how to add a top bar hive or even make the transition to only top bar hives, there are many ways to do so. In fact, the swarm we just installed came from a square style box with frames and we placed them into a “V” shaped top bar hive with ease. They’re now living happily in the Urban Garden here at Koanga and we’ll be using the hive for honey and wax production as well as pollen collection. Yep, you can even place a pollen trap on a top bar hive!
The goals for the bees this season here at Koanga are several, among which include:
- Building strong colonies to winter over on their own
- Not overharvesting honey
- Genetic Selection for hygienic and pest resistant bees
If you’re interested in learning more about top bar hives, we’ll be doing some more lessons regarding hive management, colony installation and even some hive building. Even if you’re not sure about top bar hives, you could still join us for the lessons because most of the information we’ll be learning is applicable to any style of beekeeping. So take a lesson from the bees. Get out here, get busy with things and join us!
by Cody Kerr