just a thought on a couple of issues I think need further discussion...with everybody especially new beekeepers such as myself....# 1.... The Dread Mite issue.......

The One Thing I have heard over and over again this year  "two year hive, strong and thriving going into winter. up and died by November"...... and yup! they died of Mites.....and Yes! it can happen to you.....

for whatever reason, and even though I went to as many classes and meetings as I could I missed this very important topic.   One should check for mites especially late summer every time you do an inspection.... there are hundreds of methods and treatments and I am not going to say that I know anything about it here, but I have not heard anyone really talking about this and if we don't address it as a beekeeping community many of us  will be replacing our hives every other year and that ain't fun.......

#2...... Hive box sizes and styles...... another thing that did NOT occur to me until I was combining two top bar hives last fall...... No two, or in my case three top bar hives are the same! You must check your sizes if you are given, purchase or build your own hives....because when you go to combine or add brood comb from one hive to another, or rushing a bar of brood to your bee buddy, you just might be caught in a lurch as the bars are too short or the comb is too long to fit the other hive and trying to Jerry Rig a top bar quickly in the heat with brood drying out and a guard bee in your face and your smoker dying out and the sun going down and dinner waiting, is NOT any fun at all.....

Presently I have three different size top bar hives in my bee yard all three from master beekeeping designs in NM.... I welcome any cleaver ways to make them interchangeable........ 

Ps.... one is better in design that the other two... it gives you more room to manage the hive, and the bees don't get crowded and they don't constantly attach comb to the side walls, they have enough airflow and the bees are generally healthier..... thank you Les...

Presently I am starting a langstroth hive because I think it is only fair to experience this method in my personal education on the matter before I start opening my mouth about which is better and why......


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Comment by Wendy Ozols-Barnes on May 8, 2012 at 7:52am
Here are the size differences on all three top bars in my yard:
1: w: 19" (top bar) d: 81/2" from top bar to bottom of inside hive (eccoversity)?
2: w: 21" (top bar) d: 9" " " " " " " " " (LW)?
3: w: 141/4" (") D: 10" " " "" entrance at end cap (????)
And a note on this last one it is also quite a bit shorter every bar is full there is no room to manage and they constantly attach comb to the side wall due I am sure to the fact that the comb is shorter and longer putting stress on the attached top bar... I can only imagine when it warms up this summer that many will collapse into the hive, the bees in this box are very cranky......
Comment by Jessie Brown on May 8, 2012 at 6:49am

It is unfortunate that there is no standard for top bar style hives right now. That might also be the beauty of top bar's- that they are a tinkerer's hive. You can make a top bar hive out of a metal locker laid on it's side for goodness sake. I have had to do major surgery when transferring comb from the Crowder style hive to a much skinnier and deeper Bush hive. I've also not been able to transfer bars from my Crowder style to the Gold Star hive because I couldn't get to the cleat to cut it down. I don't have a solution for this one because I like the simplicity of the Crowder hive and I like the beautiful engineering of the TJ hive.

Quick question, do many people in Northern NM have experience with the TJ Carr hive? He's a big educator in Albuquerque. You can find TJ and the Crowder hive plans here: http://www.nmbeekeepers.org/page/topbar-hive-plans

Anyway, good to know about the second year mite issue. I haven't had much experience with mites taking down a colony, but it could easily happen to me in the future. 


The New Mexico Beekeepers Association is a non-profit organization of private beekeepers, commercial beekeepers, persons interested in promoting the importance of the honey bee in the environment, and businesses related to the honey industry. Representing all regions of New Mexico, the Association maintains a close affiliation with the State of New Mexico's Department of Agriculture. Membership in the Association is open to all interested persons.


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