How to Install a Top-Bar Hive

On April 14, 2012, I’m expecting a large shipment of 3 lb. packages of bees and their queens. I’ll then distribute these packages to a number of new beekeepers.

The good news: Lots of people want to start keeping bees in top-bar hives!

The bad news: I don’t have time to be onsite at each location to do the installation myself. (I will be installing my own bees in various locations, but those folks who wish to own and manage their own hives will simply have to jump in and do it.)

My solution: I’ll be installing two packages of bees in two top-bar hives at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Garden on Saturday morning, April 14, 2012. I don’t yet know the exact time…it all depends on when the bees arrive by truck from Georgia.

I invite anyone who wants to see how it’s done to come to the community garden (those who want to get close need to bring a veil). After the demonstration, I’ll distribute the bees and queens to their new keepers and I’ll send everyone off with good wishes. Then I’ll head to various far-away places to install larger numbers of bees…which I’ll do for the remainder of Saturday and for much of Sunday.

Thanks to a new beekeeper’s suggestion, I’ll also write a How to Install Bees in a Top Bar Hive post for reference. Great idea.

In a nutshell: I simply dump the bees in the hive. After that, I remove the candy plug from the queen cage and let the queen enter the hive. I give them a big jar of sugar water. I close the hive and leave it alone.

Until I go into more detail, here’s one resource about how to do it. There are many many YouTube videos to choose from…and although this guy goes to elaborate means to install his bees, I’m linking to his video because a couple of years ago, he very sweetly made and gave me one of these wonderful hive tools. I think his complicated approach is unnecessary, but you should see all the ways…BTW, this video is not in English! I like it because it makes me concentrate on my own observations. My motto is to keep it simple.

Watch many YouTube videos just to get an idea of how many bees will fill the air.

Remember…bees have been installing themselves without our help for a long time. They can figure this out better than we can.