The fine art of building a home…from a bee’s perspective

A top bar hive is a sort of ark or small coffin shaped structure with bars across the top and nothing inside…for a little while.  A very little while.  Because once you pour a hive of bees inside, watch out: they will begin in astonishing earnest to build a beautiful home in the dark for their every need.

They build comb off those top bars, and fingers crossed, the comb is straight and well spaced.  Such is the case with our hive that began building their home seven days ago.  In those seven days they have built out beautiful, perfect comb on five bars, and amazing feat of ambition and team-work.  There is clearly a home-team and an away team, those who build, those who forage and feed the builders. But all of them have one thing in mind: in the famous words of a certain CEO, “Get big fast.”

The bees love their new home, plenty to forage, warm and pretty protected.  Their top bar ark seems to be working well for them…so for now, I feel lucky to witness the industry and fortunate to participate so directly with a natural phenom.


About Cass Nevada

bird lover, runner, artist, urban farmer, teacher, writer, planner, meditator and recycler.
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2 Responses to The fine art of building a home…from a bee’s perspective

  1. Ginny Banks says:

    Great update Cass. How can you see inside to see what they are up to withouut disturbing them?

    • Cass Nevada says:

      on some top bar hives, there is a window you can peer through. I made this hive and that particular feature was way beyond my pay-grade, so I can’t see all the time. The upside is I’m not looking into their private lives more than once a week, which there is some indication they prefer. To see what they’re up to, I actually lift the top bar up and out of the hive. The bees, remarkably, are not too bothered by this–they are way more interested in what they’re doing than what the friendly giant (me) is up to. After about 20 minutes of this, though, I did notice they got a little tired of the whole thing, a teeny bit cranky. No stinging–just an increase in buzzing.

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