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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Opening the topbar or the first time this year

Hive opened on a lovely sunny calm day, about 14 c.

The photo above shows four bars, upturned and stood on top of the hive.

Several things to note:

There is still something to eat. The wider comb nearer the bar is still full of sealed honey.

The two pairs of bars show the beespace that that bees naturally make between comb. It's not regular. It is wider at the tip of the comb, where more bees need to pass one another, and narrower at the bar, where honey is stored, capped over, and through passage is not required.

The starter strip
You can see the groove that I have put in the bars - with a circular saw. I filled this with wax to give the bees a guide (a strong hint, if you like) on where to put their comb. They complied on most bars, but the central bars have crossing comb that is also glued to the inside of the hive, so I can't remove them for inspection.

Colour of the comb
The comb is quite dirty where the patter of many tiny, dirty, feet has walked. The cleaner comb is almost white, and obviously much newer.

Of course, one of the features of a topbar is that the comb that this year contains honey might last year have contained brood. Yum! A bit too natural for my liking.


  1. Glad the photo turned out OK :)

  2. thanks for the visual and for your observations. beautiful comb. will you cut out the older dark comb or keep it for another season?

  3. Dear Lu, yes your photo is great. Sorry I didn't acknowledge that in the blog. I would have thought that living with me was reward enough. Steve.

  4. Joan, I will leave the comb. Unless I take it for honey (and it gets crushed) the bees can do their own thing. But I am thinking that I should try to disentangle the crossed comb and give them another go at getting it right!

  5. great pics Stephen, spring is on its way for you and we are coming into autumn - funny that .. . i think I would get rid of the dark comb, wax tends to hold chemical residue for eons, at least with a TB hive you can get rid of it easily - just my thoughts .. hope this spring brings you loads of pollen and nectar .


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