The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Top bar hive: Day 1

new top bar hive installation

Our friends Everett and Missy are getting into building and selling top bar hives, and we've agreed to help them with some field testing.

We considered building one ourselves, but with the Spring garden rush we couldn't seem to find enough spare time.

They're still working out the website details, but if you want to experiment with a top bar hive, can save you a lot of time at a price much lower than the competition.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I am so excited that you are doing using a Top Bar hive. I am not a hive keeper, but hope to one day be one. From my limited research Top Bar hives are very attractive to me.

Everett and Missy's hives look beautiful! Did they take inspiration from your Micro Business book?

Comment by Emily Sun Apr 15 22:06:39 2012

Emily --- The hive is so beautiful I dreamed about it last night! (I think I was painting it white.)

Everett does say our microbusiness has been an inspiration to him, although half the techniques we use, we learned from him.... We're hoping their microbusiness takes off and gives them more free time so we can see them more!

Comment by anna Mon Apr 16 07:57:22 2012
Kudos to Everett, Missy and Tommy - the hive looks awesome! Might get me into beekeeping sooner than I'd thought. I worry though since we're (every other)weekenders - would bees be OK with that little attention?
Comment by De Mon Apr 16 20:34:19 2012


They'd be fine. If you're checking on your bees every week you're probably just going to do more harm than good.

Thanks for helping us test this out Anna!


Comment by Everett Tue Apr 17 09:52:07 2012

De --- I agree with Everett --- bees don't need much time at all (although it does take some research at first to learn about them). I'd say the least time-consuming livestock are compost worms, then honeybees, then chickens (with rabbits in there somewhere --- I haven't kept them myself, so can't tell you where.)

Everett --- Thanks so much for the opportunity! We're looking forward to learning about top bar hives hands on.

Comment by anna Tue Apr 17 17:14:33 2012
Thanks Everett and Anna. One other question, do either of you have electric fencing around your hives for bears? The guy at Blacksnake Meadery says he has to, and while we've not seen them on our property they have been within a couple miles.
Comment by De Wed Apr 18 07:54:15 2012
De --- We're not in the height of bear country (although Mark did see a bear cub at the edge of our yard several years ago) and we haven't had any trouble. That said, we keep our hives in the core of our homestead, with chicken moats and a patrolling Lucy outside them, so I suspect most bears would figure it's just not worth their while to break in. You might follow our lead and keep the hives close to home, despite the fact that they don't need all that much attention and otherwise fit into a further out zone by most permaculturalists' standards.
Comment by anna Wed Apr 18 10:58:05 2012

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