Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health

Chelsea Green Publishing
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In recent years beekeepers have had to face tremendous challenges, from pests such as varroa and tracheal mites and from the mysterious but even more devastating phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Yet 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 topbar 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. All home and hobbyist beekeepers who have the time and interest in keeping bees intensively should consider the natural, low-stress methods outlined in this book. It will also appeal to home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who look to bees for pollination as well as honey or beeswax.

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About the author

Les Crowder has devoted his entire adult life to the study and care of honeybees. Dedicated to finding organic and natural solutions for problems commonly treated with chemicals, 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 been a leader in his community, having served as New Mexico's honeybee inspector and president of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association. He is an avid storyteller and has spoken annually at the NM Organic Farm Conference for over fifteen years. Les is also a certified teacher and enjoys teaching children Spanish and science.

Heather Harrell moved to New Mexico in 1996 from her home state of Vermont to pursue her masters degree in Eastern Classics, having long had an interest in the art of meditation and yoga and a yearning to pursue a career in academia. Her love of nature soon had her pursuing a life as an organic farmer, focusing on flowers, then medicinal herbs. Over time, 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. Along with a wide variety of vegetables, she grows medicinal herbs, which offer nectar and pollen to pollinator species. She is very interested in how soil biology is affected by using biodynamic methods of planting, and is currently studying compost teas incorporating various types of manures and plant materials.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Chelsea Green Publishing
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Published on
Nov 27, 2012
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781603584623
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Language
English
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Genres
House & Home / Sustainable Living
Nature / Animals / Insects & Spiders
Technology & Engineering / Agriculture / Animal Husbandry
Technology & Engineering / Agriculture / Beekeeping
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Today's beekeepers face unprecedented challenges, a fact that is now front-page news with the spread of "colony collapse disorder." Newly introduced pests like varroa and tracheal mites have made chemical treatment of hives standard practice, but pest resistance is building, which in turn creates demand for new and even more toxic chemicals. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making matters worse.

It's time for a new approach. Now revised and updated with new resources and including full-color photos throughout, Natural Beekeeping offers all the latest information in a book that has already proven invaluable for organic beekeepers. The new edition offers the same holistic, sensible alternative to conventional chemical practices with a program of natural hive management, but offers new sections on a wide range of subjects, including:

The basics of bee biology and anatomy Urban beekeeping Identifying and working with queens Parasitic mite control Hive diseases

Also, a completely new chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products.Ross Conrad brings together the best "do no harm" strategies for keeping honeybees healthy and productive with nontoxic methods of controlling mites; eliminating American foulbrood disease without the use of antibiotics; selective breeding for naturally resistant bees; and many other detailed management techniques, which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.

Whether you are a novice looking to get started with bees, an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an integrated pest-management approach, or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.

What's the buzz about the growing popularity of backyard beekeeping? Providing habitat for bees, pollinating your garden, and producing honey for your family are some of the compelling reasons for taking up this exciting hobby. But conventional beekeeping requires a significant investment and has a steep learning curve. The alternative? Consider beekeeping outside the box.

The Thinking Beekeeper is the definitive do-it-yourself guide to natural beekeeping in top bar hives. Based on the concept of understanding and working with bees' natural systems as opposed to trying to subvert them, the advantages of this approach include:

Simplicity, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness Increased safety due to less heavy lifting and hive manipulation Chemical-free colonies and healthy hives

Top bar hives can be located anywhere bees have access to forage, and they make ideal urban hives due to their small footprint.

Emphasizing the intimate connection between our food systems, bees, and the well-being of the planet, The Thinking Beekeeper will appeal to the new breed of beekeeper who is less focused on maximizing honey yield, and more on ensuring the viability of the bee population now and in the coming years.

Christy Hemenway is the owner and founder of Gold Star Honeybees, a complete resource for all things related to beekeeping in top-bar hives. A passionate bee-vangelist and advocate for natural, chemical-free beekeeping, Christy is a highly sought-after speaker, helping audiences to understand the integral connection between bees, food, human health, and the future of the planet.


The easy way to build your own beehives and beekeepingequipment

Building Beehives For Dummies is the follow-up bookto the bestselling Beekeeping For Dummies. It provideseverything you need to learn how to build some of the world's mostpopular hives and beekeeping accessories.   For each designthe book includes a detailed materials list (what lumber, hardwareand fasteners you'll need), step-by-step building instructions, andillustrative drawings that show how the components all fittogether.  There are over a dozen plans in all, including thetraditional Langstroth hive, the eight frame garden hive, designsfor elevated hive stands, the Warre hive, screened bottom board,the Kenya top-bar hive, four-frame observation hive, hive topfeeders, and more. The book contains introductory chaptersthat teach you the basic carpentry skills necessary to build any ofthe plans in the book. 

Whether you are a new beekeeper or a seasonedol’timer, Building Beehives forDummies provides you with the information you need toplan and succeed at building beehives (and other cool accessories).You'll discover what type of hive to build, hints on how tomaintain your equipment, what bees need to stay happy and healthy,where to locate your hive, and much more.

Covers "bee space," the critical technical measurement within abeehive that's crucial for easy inspection of your coloniesOffers guidance on keeping both urban and suburban neighborshappy, getting proper permissions, and understanding regional lawsand regulationsProvides creative ideas for dressing up hives for fun andprofit

In today’s world of self-sufficiency, back-to-basics andsustainability, building beehives is a fun hobby that both you andyour bees will appreciate and benefit from.

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