Top Bar Mentoring at Farm Lot 59

Shannon, new beekeeper

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Shannon and I took a look at the top bar hive at Farm Lot 59 in Long Beach. Farm Lot 59 is run by Sasha Kanno and is a chemical-free farm with fresh fruits, veggies and eggs. She is opening her new farm stand this week. We hope to be adding honey to the bounty soon because their top bar hive is booming.

There is a lot to the story about how this hive came to be. It’s a handmade hive by Steve at BuBees, made of reclaimed wood from the shelves of a beloved Long Beach bookstore, Acre of Books. It was provided by Larry Rich of the Long Beach Sustainability Office.

I can’t remember exactly where the bees came from but Barbara, Henry, Dick and Jaimie of the Long Beach Beekeepers helped transfer the bees to the hive and now they are booming. Now Shannon, a new beekeeper, will be taking care of this hive. I’ll be honest, I’ve never managed a top bar hive but it looks simple enough.

We took a look through the window and the bees were jam-packed and definitely needed some more room. That window is really helpful. We closed it up and gently smoked the hive. The bees were super calm and didn’t mind us at all. We took off the lid and removed the follower board to the right to give them two bars more, in retrospect I probably should have given them 4. They didn’t mind this either.

We could see a bar complete with capped honey but we had two problems: (1) No bucket for honey and (2) No knife to cut the comb away from the hive. Oh well, gives us something to do next time.

We moved the bars over and things were going so well we figured we’d mess with the other end. We took that frame out and this, they minded. We got a great picture of Shannon with the bees and then we closed everything up.

Shannon is a natural with the bees and has the right demeanor to be a great beekeeper. We’ll be harvesting honey for the farm and giving them more room in a couple of weeks.