1597Top Bar Hives and the State of Florida
- Apr 8, 2009I have been interested in beekeeping for ages, but never got the
opportunity to follow up on it until recently. My sister decided that we
needed to do something about the lack of pollinators in her garden.
However, she is very allergic to bee stings. Therefore it would fall to
me to be the actually beekeeper, both at her home and at mine. To that
end I started attending meetings of our local beekeepers association and
read a lot. I even went out to the association's bee yard several times
to learn hands on in addition to attending seminars.
Lack of funds for our first hive in addition to a battle with cancer has
further delayed my start in beekeeping. From all my reading and because
we try to do everything organically in our gardening, I want to use top
bar hives. Furthermore they seem to be “bee-centric” which is more in
keeping with my beliefs as a Buddhist, regarding even bees as sentient
beings toward whom we should show compassion.
Nature has presented us with the opportunity to have our first colony of
bees, in that a swarm has taken up residence in a hollow section of my
sister's oak tree. I guess they could be left there to be pollinators,
except for my sister's allergy. She needs their home to be away from
areas of the yard where she needs to work. Furthermore, there is also
the risk that the dead part of the tree will fall in a storm. I have
thoroughly researched and planned the steps safely, for me and the bees,
to get them from the tree and into a hive. We were lucky enough to have
won a kit for a Langstroth super as a door prize at a beekeepers
meeting, although I really want to use one of the top bar designs.
My problem is that I live in Central Florida and the Florida Department
of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Bureau
of Plant and Apiary Inspection seems dead set against anything but
Langstroth hives. Although I can't find anything in the rules and
regulations that specifies the type of hive, their “model ordinance” for
counties and municipalities does specify only Langstroth hives.
Nevertheless, I have spoken directly to a couple of the inspectors who
cover this area. They have told me that they really don't care what
style of hive as long as they can be opened and the comb taken out for
Probably next week when the few remaining things that I need have
arrived and a helper is available, I will start the process of
persuading the bees to move from their hollow in the tree into my hive.
This of course means that I will be starting them out in a Langstroth
hive. My questions are: 1) Can I use the Langstroth boxes, but use top
bars instead of frames? 2) If I am doing that, can I manage them like a
Warre hive, adding boxes to the bottom rather than the top? 3) Will the
State of Florida let me not use a queen excluder? And 4) How can I
strengthen the comb on a top bar in order that they can be handled for
I look forward to learning more.
John (Konchok Jangchup Dorje ) Missing
(sacred.circle@... OR bishopjohnc@...)
Don't just do something, sit!
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