As the next step in providing our own locally produced food, we’ve decided to pursue beekeeping. To that end, we are building a top bar beehive. Top bar hives are an alternative to the Langstroth hive that may be better for the bees. For one, in a top-bar hive the bees build their own comb each season. Fresh wax is less likely to concentrate pesticides and toxins from year after year of honey. Also, by specifying their own comb cell size, they may be better able to fight parasites in the hive.
On the practical side, anybody with a few tools can build a top bar hive from reasonably inexpensive lumber. We used scrap pallets and some 2×4 laying around the garage. We did borrow a table saw to cut the top bars. We used Philip Chandler’s free instructions on how to build a top-bar hive, but many plans are available.
Next step – find us some bees! If you happen on a swarm in Estes Park, drop us a line and we’ll give them a happy home.