Hello, Everyone!My name is Tom. Like Mike (mmoomaw) who posted in the General section I have hives ordered from Bee Thinking and a package of bees reserved. Since I am starting out with the top-bar hives I thought I’d introduce myself here. I live in rural southern Ohio. We have 10 acres across the highway from the Scioto River. I am starting out with no experience with bees. I recall watching the bees in a permanent observation hive at one end of the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry as a boy. A few years back I was reading about Colony Collapse Disorder, and thought about starting a couple of hives, but then I found a job and the idea faded to the background. Then last month (mid-January) we had an unseasonably warm weekend and I was surprised to look out and see bees all around my bird feeders. A quick search online and I found references to bees doing this when they leave their hives before their usual sources of pollen have bloomed. Almost immediately following that incident a moderator on another forum that I belong to posted a link to an article about two other members success with Bee Thinking. A look at their web site and I started seriously considering following through with it this time. The capper was when Matt’s presentation to the Hand Eye Supply Curiosity Club was put online. I showed it to my wife (who hadn’t been all that enthusiastic about the whole idea but as always was willing to go along with me) and she began to get excited about it, too. We decided that we’d start with top-bar hives and follow the tenets of natural beekeeping. I next started looking for local information and found the Ohio State Beekeeper Association. They have a lot of information on their site (all of it geared towards Langstroth hives) and a calendar listing events, including beginning beekeeping classes being offered by local associations. I sent out e-mails to the point of contact for the association that was supposed to include the county I live in as well as one to the group giving the closest class. I never did hear from the first, but I received a fast and warm welcome from the Scioto Valley Beekeepers. It was the weekend before their monthly meeting, which happened to be on Valentine’s Day. My wife agreed to attend the meeting with me! We went and found a group of friendly people, all of whom are very involved in beekeeping. They maintain demonstration hives at a historical farm, get together for social events, and share information with each other. There was discussion about miticides, a talk was given on requeening or doing splits, and it lasted about two hours. We were immediately invited to their Post-Valentine’s Day social the following Saturday. We did attend and again were welcomed with open arms. I was a bit amused at the fact that Rhonda, apparently trying to contain this beekeeping thing from the start, went around telling everyone that we were just hobbyists and will just have a couple of hives. Everyone else smiled knowingly back at her. I had been a bit curious as to how they would react when I said I intended to go with top-bar hives. I was told that two members had had them. The president told me he had two but wouldn’t have them past this year as he thought they were too much work. The other guy just said he didn’t have his anymore. Everyone told us that top-bar hives didn’t produce much honey. In general I’d say the response was that they were a bit dubious of the idea. When we were driving home I told Rhonda that, ignorant as I may be having no experience and having only read half of Top-Bar Beekeeping and various sites plus watching Matt’s presentation, I thought that part of the problem may have been that they were trying to work the top-bar hives in the same manner as they did their Langstroth hives and with the same expectations. I decided that we would become the club’s, well, not experts, but at least the most knowledgeable and successful with top-bar hives and show them that it could be done successfully. So that’s my goal. We will be attending beekeeping school the first three Wednesdays in April and taking delivery of a package of bees a couple of days later from one of the members of the club. We will try to attract a swarm to our second hive—my wife’s suggestion and worth a shot, I think. In the meantime I have finished reading Top-Bar Beekeeping and am moving on to other books as well as other web sites. Today, as I was approaching our house, my wife sent me a text that we had bees again. Sure enough, there were bees on two feeders. We got out some crystalized local honey and put it onto a plate and I took it outside and held it next to the feeder. I had only one real taker, a single bee that landed on the honey and spent a long time feeding. Another couple landed on it then took off again and went back to the feeder. While I was standing there on bee flew directly to and landed on top of my left ear and stayed a while before flying off. I set the plate down in a platform feeder where other bees were but they weren’t interested; when I went back out a bit later all but two bees had gone and those two left one by one in the next few minutes. My wife was impressed that I hadn't flinched or reached up to brush away the bee when it landed, but I told her we may as well get used to it! So that’s the story of how my wife and I came to the decision to become beekeepers and to order top-bar hives from Bee Thinking. I apologize if anyone found this post too long; I’ve decided that I want to keep a record of this new venture and so went into a bit more detail than most. Perhaps I’ll start my own blog about our beekeeping adventures as we learn and make mistakes and have triumphs along the way. I'm glad that Matt has provided us with this forum. I look forward to reading and learning from the posts of others and hope to be able to make valuable contributions of my own in the future. Best of luck to everyone! Tom Lucasville, Ohio
Hey Tom, I’m Kevin from southern Maryland, about 30 miles outside DC. I too have decided to keep bees using the top bar method. Matt convince me, at the “Mother Earth News Fair” in Seven Springs, PA, that TBH is the way to go. I’ve read a few books about bees and have been attending classes at the local bee club. I also have been watching numerous You Tube videos. All they talk about at the club is Langstroth hives, and I have not voluntered what I’m planning on doing. The people are great but, I feel they may be a little close minded towards the idea, so I want to let them know me better before rocking the boat. I purchased a hive from Matt and then built one myself using his hive as a guide. My packages of bees are due the first week of April, (from Wolf Creek Apiaries in TN). My wife is very supportive of me doing the bees, she even attended one of the classes with me (Valentine’s Day). We’re looking at what flowers we can plant that the bees would enjoy. Last fall we planted seven more fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and also started a small grape vinyard (6 plants). Anyhow, now I got long in my post. I’ll let you know how my first experience with the bees goes.
Hi, Kevin!I'll be a few weeks later than you in getting my bees, so I'll be interested in hearing about your first couple of weeks with them. We have two hives ordered from Matt; I may do the same as you and make additional hives later. My wife tells me we have local mills that sell directly to the public that sell white cedar. I hope to be able to get them to custom-mill what I want in the inch-thick size. Though we ordered two hives we bought only one package of bees. I hope to attract a swarm this spring. There was a swarm at my father-in-law's house a couple of years ago, but of course back then I didn't realize what we had! He called around and someone else came and got it. I've noticed that most of the posts here have been someone asking Matt a question and Matt answering, and the thread ends. I hope to see more interaction between members as time goes by, with everyone sharing their experience and knowledge as they gain it. Over time this forum could become a great resource for natural-method beekeepers! Cheers, Tom
Maybe I’ll go back to the normal size font in future…
Received notice that my hives and equipment have shipped. Woo-hoo!
The hives, and the beekeeping equipment we ordered with it, have arrived! My wife couldn’t wait to try on the jacket and veil:
I’ll probably open one of the boxes with a hive in it tomorrow and perhaps put it together.
Be sure to open the hives soon to make sure they arrived without any damage during their trip!
Hey Tom! Its day 21 for me and everything is going like clockwork. I’ve stopped feeding sugar syrup now because things are blooming. I’ve got a least five bars of comb in each of my hives. I’ve heard so many different opinions about where to start the hive that I placed the package in the middle on one hive, and at the end in the other. I figured I could watch and get some experience myself, (this was all started before I read that Matt starts at one end of the hive). My bees are doing graet in both hives. How are yours doing?
Glad to hear things are going well at your end! Out here in Ohio they’ve not yet started. The first package I ordered, which I was supposed to pick up a week ago, was postponed for a week at first, and then a second week. The reason I’ve been given is the poor weather down in Georgia this spring has slowed the build-up of hives in the apiaries that are supplying the packages. I’m now scheduled to get that package next weekend.
The second package, from Gold Star Honeybees, is on the way! Or at least it should be. It’s possible it may be delivered today but I think that Monday is more likely. They were to have been shipped on Thursday but the USPS tracking system doesn’t show any activity other than the Electronic Shipping Info Received. That doesn’t necessarily mean the bees aren’t on the way. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve bought something and had it delivered before the carrier’s tracking system caught up.
We are getting quite anxious to be started, though. It’s been a long wait!
Mail came as I was typing the previous sentence… no bees. Ah, well… gives us reason to look forward to Monday, for a change!
That’s beautiful! If I’m reading it right, what you have there is just about textbook-perfect brood comb. There’s rows of honey just under the bar, rows of pollen below that, and then a large, beautiful patch of brood with empty cells below waiting for more. That’s gotta make you feel great!
Thanks for posting that!
Hey Tom! Its day 21 for me and everything is going like clockwork. I've stopped feeding sugar syrup now because things are blooming. I've got a least five bars of comb in each of my hives. I've heard so many different opinions about where to start the hive that I placed the package in the middle on one hive, and at the end in the other. I figured I could watch and get some experience myself, (this was all started before I read that Matt starts at one end of the hive). My bees are doing graet in both hives. How are yours doing?
Kevin - I’m curious how your bees are doing now? I live in MD as well and I’m thinking about getting bees from Wolf Creek next year. Are they continuing to do well? How did the bees do in the shipping process?
Have they been gentle, as many other people have claimed?
–Cathi (In PG County MD)
I realize your post is over 3 years old and you may not even be around any more, but I hope you are. We too are from Ohio. Just in the research stages but hoping to start a hive this spring. Are you still in the bee hobby, still on this forum, still in existence? Please let me know if you are!