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Top-Bar Beekeeping : Organic Practices for Honeybee Health - Les Crowder

Top-Bar Beekeeping

Organic Practices for Honeybee Health

Paperback Published: 25th October 2012
ISBN: 9781603584616
Number Of Pages: 192

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In recent years beekeepers have had to face tremendous challenges, from pests such as varroa and tracheal mites and from the mysterious but even more devastating phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Yet in backyards and on rooftops all over the world, bees are being raised successfully, even without antibiotics, miticides, or other chemical inputs.More and more organically minded beekeepers are now using top-bar hives, in which the shape of the interior resembles a hollow log. Long lasting and completely biodegradable, a topbar hive made of untreated wood allows bees to build comb naturally rather than simply filling prefabricated foundation frames in a typical box hive with added supers.

Top-bar hives yield slightly less honey but produce more beeswax than a typical Langstroth box hive. Regular hive inspection and the removal of old combs helps to keep bees healthier and naturally disease-free.

Top-Bar Beekeeping provides complete information on hive management and other aspects of using these innovative hives. All home and hobbyist beekeepers who have the time and interest in keeping bees intensively should consider the natural, low-stress methods outlined in this book. It will also appeal to home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who look to bees for pollination as well as honey or beeswax.

Industry Reviews

"Reading Top-Bar Beekeeping reminds me of the classes I took with Les Crowder several years ago. He's a man who truly knows whereof he speaks, who has the gift of communicating with his small friends, the bees, and sharing his understanding with us. . . . This is the one book on beekeeping that I will recommend to my permaculture students."--Scott Pittman, Director, Permaculture Institute USA


"This is an excellent guide for hobby beekeepers who wish to keep bees using top-bar hives. Drawing on his more than 30 years of beekeeping experience in New Mexico, author Les Crowder describes in detail the special comb management techniques that this low-cost, but relatively intensive, form of beekeeping requires. Top-Bar Beekeeping also provides an eloquent appeal for beekeepers to make care, respect, and reverence the foundation of their relationships with the bees."--Thomas D. Seeley, Cornell University; author of Honeybee Democracy and The Wisdom of the Hive


"This book presents practical advice, gained from first-hand experience, on the organic management of top bar hives. This book will serve as an excellent guide to the ever-growing number of beekeepers that utilizes less intrusive management schemes such as top bar hives. Thanks to Les and Heather for their efforts to provide sound advice on natural ways to keep bees."--Dr. Jeff Pettis, USDA-ARS


ForeWord Reviews-
"Farmers who seek a guide to hive maintenance told through a thoughtful personal narrative will benefit from the discussion of this topbar style of beekeeping. The first-person style of the book allows a window into the practices of the topbar beekeeper while conveying a wealth of knowledge and a well-researched comparison of hive practices. The book is appropriate for beginning beekeepers as well as those experienced but looking for information on natural and organic beekeeping practices. The book's ten sections discuss optimal practices of an organic beekeeper juxtaposed with discussion of industry standard practices and their drawbacks. Each section contains stories of the authors' successes and failures as well as diagrams and pictures to explain everything from hive design to plant species for optimal pollination. Whether the reader is looking to start their own hive or simply increase their knowledge of honeybees, the book provides interesting and detailed discussions of all aspects of raising them. Crowder and Harrell offer not only advice on how to get started, but an in-depth discussion of all aspects of keeping a hive, from bee capture, breeding, and selection to honey processing. They have crafted a book that is both informative and engaging, filled with introspective advice and practical knowledge."


Publisher's Weekly-
"Cave drawings show beekeepers "smoking" their hives, preparing for insect interaction. Today's mass-produced honey relies mostly on the venerable Langstroth method of beekeeping, which has produced plenty of honey--but also has introduced plenty of chemicals into the process--through the years. Top-bar hives, named for the bars that run across their tops, are popular with bee beginners even though they produce less honey than Langstroth hives. But this account, the culmination of Crowder and Harrell's 40 years of top-bar beekeeping adventures, shows the reader their method's advantages: it avoids antibiotics, miticides, and other chemicals inherent to the conventional process. Crowder and his wife, Harrell, leave no comb unharvested as they take the top-bar aspirant from bee basics (stings, smoke, and hive transfers) through hive management (comb removal and feeding) to beneficial, and profitable, byproducts like beeswax. For those a bit lukewarm to the swarm, the book gives a fascinating insight into bees' elaborate organizational and geometry skills, and it may even make one reconsider buying mass-marketed, chemical-laced honey."

Notes from Les Crowderp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. viii
To Them Bothp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Top-Bar Hivesp. 1
Pros and Consp. 3
Top-Bar Hive Designp. 8
The Supercreaturep. 14
Worker Beesp. 15
The Queen Beep. 16
Dronesp. 18
Beekeeping Basicsp. 21
The Stingp. 22
Lighting a Smokerp. 25
Hive Placementp. 26
Obtaining Beesp. 28
Packagesp. 29
Catching Swarmsp. 31
Hive Removalsp. 35
Trappingp. 38
Local Nucleus Hivesp. 39
Transferring Bees from a Langstroth Hive to a Top-Bar Hivep. 41
Moving Beesp. 42
Hive Managementp. 45
Removing Old Combp. 60
Killing Beesp. 62
To Feed or Not to Feedp. 64
The Seasonsp. 69
Springp. 69
Swarmingp. 71
Making Dividesp. 73
The Two-Queen Systemp. 81
Summerp. 82
Bearded Hivesp. 84
Mixed-Origin Dividesp. 84
Fall and Winterp. 85
Combining Hivesp. 86
Bearsp. 57
Hive Insulationp. 88
Honey, Beeswax, and Other Productsp. 90
Harvesting Honeyp. 90
Processing Honeyp. 94
Comb Honeyp. 96
Varietal Honeysp. 97
Marketing Raw Honeyp. 98
Beeswaxp. 100
Propolisp. 104
Royal Jellyp. 106
Evaluating Your Queenp. 107
Requeeningp. 109
Requeening Aggressive Hivesp. 111
Robbingp. 112
Intercaste Queensp. 113
Drone-Laying Queensp. 113
Laying Workersp. 114
Problem-Solvingp. 117
Chalkbroodp. 117
Foulbroodp. 119
Tracheal Mitesp. 121
Varroa Mitesp. 122
Nosemap. 126
Finding Good Geneticsp. 126
Symptoms of Insecticidesp. 128
Colony Collapse Disorderp. 129
Wax Mothsp. 130
Raising Queensp. 132
Selection Criteriap. 133
Creating Favorable Conditions for Queen Cellsp. 135
Equipmentp. 136
Mating Nucsp. 137
Mating Nuc Placementp. 138
The Cell-Builderp. 139
Setting Up the Graftp. 140
The Graftp. 143
Managing Mating Nucsp. 148
Caging Queensp. 149
Queen Banksp. 152
Planting for Beesp. 154
Treesp. 156
Shrubsp. 156
Perennialsp. 157
Cover Cropsp. 158
Annualsp. 158
Conclusionp. 160
Notesp. 162
Selected Bibliographyp. 165
Resourcesp. 166
Indexp. 167
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781603584616
ISBN-10: 1603584617
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 25th October 2012
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.37

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