Despite the recent challenges from pests such as varroa and tracheal mites and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), 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 top-bar 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. It will appeal to home beekeepers and also to home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who look to bees for pollination as well as honey or beeswax.
The Authors: Les Crowder has devoted his entire adult life to the study and care of honeybees. He designed his own top-bar hives and set about discovering how to treat disease and genetic weaknesses through plant medicine and selective breeding. He has served as New Mexico's honeybee inspector and president of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association. Heather Harrell has been an organic farmer, and through her work with honeybees she has moved her focus to the study of multi-use permaculture plantings, which support a diverse network of interrelationships in the natural world.