The Hive Mind

I have been thinking about hives. While I am still keen to have a top bar hive, existing beekeepers keep telling me that I should start with Langstroth hives before trying top bars. So after some angst, I decided to seek some solace and advice in books and online.

Top-Bar Hive BeekeepingFirst, I received Dr. Wyatt A. Mangum’s book Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom & Pleasure Combined this week. Dr. Mangum, who holds a Ph.D. in Genetics, provides over 400 pages of photos and instructions on building and managing top bar hives. What better way to get re-excited about top bar hives than by reading his book? I was worried he might be a bit academic, and though the text does get a little dry I am quite enjoying it. I’m currently working my way through Chapter 3.

To my dismay, however, at the end of Chapter 1 he states “If you are brand new to beekeeping, my advice is generally to get some experience with frame hives first.” So that wasn’t very helpful.

Undaunted, I decided to ask for advice from the Top Bar Hive Forum on beesource.com. Surely this community would be a bit more encouraging. I posted that I was interested in TBH and looking for advice on the best way to get started. If anyone was going to push me to top bar hives, I figured this was the place.

To my surprise, the feedback was more towards standard Langstroth frames, either in normal hive bodies or as a horizontal hive. The ability to purchase a nuc and exchange frames with other beekeepers was mentioned a couple times. A couple posters were a little more philosophical and advised me to think about what I wanted to gain from having bees and proceed accordingly.

So now I’m wondering if I should focus on Langstroth hives in my first year. I am worried about the weight, both for myself and my daughter, so perhaps 8-frame medium boxes is the way to go. This would probably allow us to fit in better with both the bee course and our local beekeeping associations, even though I am be giving up on my top bar hive dream. Especially since in my eagerness I already purchased a TBH.

Perhaps I could do both? A Langstroth medium hive or two with standard frames, and my existing top bar hive. Much thought I must give this, as Yoda might say.

Hive Mind is a term used for collective intelligence, or when people or groups arrive at similar conclusions simultaneously. This appears in science fiction, especially, such as The Borg in Star Trek. Apparently the idea of a collective or group mind appeared in the 1930 book Last and First Men as well.

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3 thoughts on “The Hive Mind

  1. Sure you can do both. It’s not the easiest way, but perfectly possible. The difficulty comes if you want to transfer frames from one hive from the other, for example if you think a hive has gone queenless and you want to put a test frame of eggs from your other hive in it.

    This forum is well known for being supportive of top bar hives: http://www.biobees.com

    Like

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