Setting up your first hive is an exciting endeavor, but to be successful you must start your bees just right. In this video, Jacob shows your step by step what you’ll need to do to get started on the right foot. This video is specific to the top bar hive, but most of the information is applicable to any hive. In this video Jacob will show you:

  • When to order your bees
  • How to set up a sustainable top-bar hive
  • How to feed your bees
  • Common beginner’s mistakes and how to avoid them
  • The proper way for introducing the queen
  • How to know when your bees are happy
  • And much, much more

 


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Product Description

Setting up your first hive is an exciting endeavor, but to be successful you must start your bees just right. In this video, Jacob shows your step by step what you’ll need to do to get started on the right foot. This video is specific to the top bar hive, but most of the information is applicable to any hive. In this video Jacob will show you:

  • When to order your bees
  • How to set up a sustainable top-bar hive
  • How to feed your bees
  • Common beginner’s mistakes and how to avoid them
  • The proper way for introducing the queen
  • How to know when your bees are happy
  • And much, much more

 

roy R. Uvalde, TX
Great job in explaining, particularly common problems for beginners. Thanks
November 24, 2012 11:14
Steve A. Houston, TX
Great class, Jake. Where do you get your bees to start a new colony? I am almost done building the hive.
April 17, 2013 23:03
Jake K. ,
Thank you, Steve. We've included a list of beekeeping suppliers in the downloadable Course Materials that are located under the Resources tab for this video and the other videos in this course. Bees are available from those suppliers. I order from Bee Weaver Apiaries and have had good experience with them.
April 18, 2013 10:29
Patricia S. Lamoille, NV
Great job on the instruction. I am hoping to hear more about feeding during the first winter here. We live at 6,000 feet elevation. I've seen others place a cake of sugar on top of the bars to feed but my top bar will not allow for that. Sugar water will freeze. Maybe it is too early to worry about this but do you have any suggestions? Thanks, New-bee
April 18, 2013 15:06
Jake K. ,

The cake that you can get from bee suppliers is primarily a protein-based substance, and it acts as a substitute for the pollen that the bees naturally store in their combs. To feed protein cake in a top bar hive, we would put the cake on the bottom board inside the hive beneath the combs.

But it's also important to realize that bees begin to cluster at or below 35-40°F, and once they've done that, they won't break out of the cluster to feed on flowers, protein cake or sugar water. That's why it's essential to make sure the bees have enough honey stored in their hive to survive through the winter. This is something that you would need to do before the cold weather hits -- before they begin to cluster.

During the warmer weather before winter, you will need to monitor your hive to see how many combs of stored honey they have. If there were plenty of flowers earlier in the year for them to store honey from, then they may have enough stored honey. But if they have fewer than 6 combs of stored honey, you'll need to begin feeding them sugar water while the weather is still warm. They will take this sugar water and store it in their combs as honey.


April 19, 2013 12:05
Robin C. Zephyrhills, FL
Hi Jake,

I enjoyed your tutorial very much! Very informative.

I checked my hive today and the bees are building upwards! Why? The two outermost frames are empty. They were doing the same thing last time and I thought maybe it was a space issue so I added another large box to my one that was already available. They have begun to build comb in here as well but are still building up. They are also building comb in between frames. Does this indicate that I don't have them spaced closely enough together? As a general rule should they be touching or spaced evenly in the box without touching? I currently have them evenly spaced without touching which I think is encouraging the bees to build in between. Also, can I rotate my two empty frames to the middle to encourage them to build comb and start brood on those frames? Thank you!

July 30, 2013 09:36
Jake K. ,
In 1853 a beekeeper, L.L.Langstroth discovered that bees build their combs 1 3/8th of an inch apart. After this discovery Langstroth built frames for his hive and spaced them 1 3/8th apart. If the frames in your hive are spaced a little wider the bees will build their combs in between the frames.

In the summer some bees will for no apparent reason start building combs in all different directions. This needs to be corrected as soon as possible. If left to themselves, the bees will continue to build the combs in every direction, and it will be harder to clean up later. Simply take your hive tool and scrape the crooked combs out of the hive. The bees will rebuild the comb in the right place later, we hope.

It's not a problem for the bees to start building at the bottom of the frame as long as they're building straight and on the wax starter. The bees will build little combs on the bottom of the hives for later. It helps them climb onto the combs.


Jake Klingensmith
August 10, 2013 13:39
Diane M. Ste-Anne, MB
I am very impressed with the knowledge included in this material. Money well spent. It feels as if there was a person right here beside me showing me how to go about it all. I live in Southern Manitoba, Canada so will need to find sources for material as well as for info. I have written to one possible source of colonies of bees and hopefully will hear from them soon. Also want to tell you, I am hearing impaired and often find it really hard to follow a video. The clarity of the videos, your voice and the transcript are awsome. Thank you, Diane
December 1, 2013 21:05
Jake K. ,
Hello Diane,

I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying the courses. A good place to look for supplies is www.dadant.com.

Thank you,

Jake Klingensmith
December 12, 2013 11:51
madeline D. calgary, AB
Thank you for the great course.

I live in Calgary, AB, Canada. This is my first winter as a beekeeper. I have one top bar hive that I got in June of last year. They swarmed a week after I got them; I did not have a jacket to wear yet. I had to phone a beekeeping club to catch the swarm. Luckily the bees clustered on a tree right near my property. The bees were caught and taken away with in the hour. Exciting.

The rest of summer, I learned how to be more confident opening, checking the hive, searching for the virgin queen and managing the hive. My seven year old son has his own jacket too, so he was learning more about bees as well. I hope I feed them enough in the fall to help them get through one of the coldest, lots of snow winters that we have had in Calgary. I will be doing a little dance when I see them emerge in the spring.
January 4, 2014 12:28
Dan G. Boerne, TX
Why doesn't the top bar hive have a screen bottom? Can you put screen panel bottom in with a "winter cover"?
January 29, 2014 17:13
Jake K. ,
Dan,

The reason for adding screen to the bottom of a hive is to reduce the number of mites. The mites fall through the screen, landing on the ground below and cannot return back to the hive.

That said, in the top bar hive there are not as many mites as you would find in a traditional hive. They're still there, but not as many.

In a traditional hive beekeepers give the bees sheets of wax. The wax is embossed with the shape of the cells that the bees will build. These sheets are called foundation, and the bees build their combs on them.

Over sixty years ago the beekeepers started making the cell size larger hoping that the bees raised in those cells it would grow larger. Well, the bees did not grow larger -- they stayed the same size. This larger cell size gives parasitic mites the chance to grow a family in the cell at the same time the bees are going through their metamorphoses.

In the top bar hive the bees build their combs naturally without this foundation. So the cell size is the smaller, and it makes it harder for the mite to raise its young.

If you want to add screen to your top bar hive, you will find that it's not hard to do. I have done this on some of my hives. But typically, I have found that for the reasons above, adding screen is not necessary.

Jake Klingensmith
January 31, 2014 12:23
John C. Cohasset, MA
Jake, I see that the outside of your top bar hives are painted not th inside. Is painting necessary?
April 20, 2015 14:52
John C. Cohasset, MA
Jake, I have been doing a lot of research on this. Two questions. There seems to be a debate as to whether side entrances or end entrances are better. Second some of the sites recommend a vee shaped top bar as opposed to adding strips of wax to the top bar. Your thoughts? J
April 20, 2015 17:01
Micah W. Fresno, TX
How do I transfer bees from a nuc box with Langstroth style frames to a my top bar hive and also how far do i need to stay away from bees with lawn equipment
June 1, 2015 13:45
Jake K. ,
A nuc boxes is a small Langstroth hive, and unfortunately it will not fit a top bar hive. It is my recommendation that you start your top bar hive with a three pound package of bees and a queen.

As for the lawn mower, if you have trees or something in front of the hive that will keep the bees from being able to see you, and you can mow as close as fifty feet from the hive. If the bees can see you then you will be in trouble. It is my recommendation that you place the hive under a tree so the bees can get shade in the summer and plant some flowering shrubs in front of the hive to keep the bees from seeing you.

Jake
June 2, 2015 16:32