Top bar beehive

I decided for a year to read every bee book I could get my hands on. I learned about different hives. Found out we had a bee club in McAlester, Oklahoma. Found out one man from there bought Italian bees and I placed my order for two colonies without a place to put them. I sometimes shoot then aim. 

I liked the top bar beehive because it is very natural, they have to create their own comb, and you can inspect the hive very easily.

I visited you tube and found Wranglestar. He apparently does many videos on do it yourself projects. I started to make my top bar beehive with his demensions but I had a precut 11.5 width that ended up throwing off all his measurements he gave me so I watched and created custom pieces.

I built the window and sealed it so water old not get in. then everything else I created from scratch since I didn’t like the way the legs were that Wranglestar created.

I wanted the legs to be sturdy n case we had some major wind blow in.Little did I know how crazy the winds would get.

I cut at an angle and attached the legs to the body of the hive. Creating an A frame roof was my best option. I then attached scrap metal we had lying around. Next I created the top bars. I created a lip so they old attach their comb. I also traveled to my local beekeeping supplier and bought some wax I melted down and brushed on each bar to let them know where to build comb.

Some of my cuts were off but it went pretty smooth. I then wanted to be able to replace their sugar water without disturbing them.

I found this bee feeder on Amazon. You just have to fill a mason jar with sugar water. The bottom of the beehive has a wire mesh screen to open during the summer and if I need to do mite control. I have a hinged bottom that closes.

My girls arrived in the middle of March. They transfered super easily and the queens were accepted into the hives very easily. Two weeks later I did my first hive inspection.

I watched as my girls found pollen.It was a very exciting time for me.

They started to build comb. 

Truly life was just beginning for my new hives. Then tragedy struck. An EF3 hit my home. 

This was the tornado as I left my home for shelter. There were small tornados shooting out of it heading south. We found shelter and we’re safe.

It destroyed every building we had. We lost chickens.

One of our horses was injured but made a full recovery.

It kept my home somewhat intact. However my bee boxes were completely destroyed. They swarmed but I tried to capture them but it didn’t work. I lost both queens.

After the tornado I rebuilt the boxes using as much in tact pieces as possible. 

I repainted the boxes. I was told that I didn’t have enough bees to requeen them. 

Some bees revisited their old home but without a queen they eventually died and we’re not replaced. It was truly  devastating for me as a new beekeeper. I will be purchasing two more bee colonies in Apri of 2017 and will documents my new journey and hope the outcome will be better than my last one.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. What horrible news. Glad to hear that no people were hurt and the livestock losses minimal. I think new packages is the right way to go — there are fewer worries about queen acceptance and getting the colony population up to healthy size.

    My wife and I are at the end of our first year with a top bar, second year with a Langstroth. Loving the top bar, hoping to get through a Minnesota winter — common wisdom is that top bars can’t overwinter in MN, but that common wisdom is based on almost zero data.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. autumnokie says:

      Let me know how they fair, Don. I’d love to see photos of your girls. I didn’t cry over anything in the tornado but when I couldn’t capture my swarm that’s when I lost it. There was so much anticipation in getting them.


  2. Dave Clark says:

    What a great story, but with a sad ending. The hives look great, I did exactly the same with wrangler star and Jon peters designs. A bit of each with some customisation thrown in. Better luck to you with your next colonies. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. autumnokie says:

      I loved his approach. It seemed simple but I ended up dropping a few dollars on the new wood.


  3. Dave Clark says:

    What a great story, but with a sad ending. The hives look great, I did exactly the same with wrangler star and Jon peters designs. A bit of each with some customisation thrown in. Better luck to you with your next colonies. Keep up the great work.


  4. Jason Dozier says:

    Sorry to hear of the loss of the hives, but glad you and yours survived mostly unharmed. I started with a self made Top-Bar hive and a package of bees same as you. Love the picture of you holding the bar with the fresh comb, that’s such a cool experience seeing that built for the first time.

    Last year I experimented with a couple of Langstroth hives which ended up being a bit of a disaster, mostly because of small hive beetle. So I’ll be starting fresh in 2017 as well, and I’m going back to the top bar hives, just so much easier to work with.

    Good luck, hope you beekeeping journey is a smooth one from here on out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. autumnokie says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I also like the top bar because of the weight factor. I’ve heard that Langstroth hives are extremely heavy when harvesting honey.


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