End of Winter Thinking
Well, I’ve gone and done it.
I’ve settled on an equipment plan and ordered the stuff. So, did I choose a traditional top bar hive for its simplicity and cost effectiveness? Or Warre’s for their modularity and minimal management? Or my next top bar hive/long hive for it’s flexibility? Or stick with conventional equipment run with natural comb and managed in a natural way?
I’ve often hoped that someday, I could standardize on one kind of bee equipment. I suspected that I’d rally around a top bar hive or my next top bar hive, in particular. They’re:
- minimizes heavy lifting
- maximized production
- easily moved with a hand truck
- ideal for a trailer
- natural comb friendly
But this is the deal breaker. Neither the top bar hive, nor my next hive, can be paraffin dipped without considerable effort and cost. The size of the tank and amount of paraffin needed are well beyond my capabilities or desires.
While making my living as a commercial beekeeper, I’ve painted tens of thousands of hives, multiple times throughout the previous decades and I just hate it! I no longer keep bees for a living. And I’m not going to revive one of the worst parts of it.
So, that leaves the Warre’ or conventional equipment. And having no real experience with the Warre’, conventional equipment wins out. Last week I ordered a pallet of conventional 10 frame Langstroth hives to replace my crumbling wooden ware.
Oh my gosh! I’m going to trouble myself with all those frames? Lift those deeps? Use a hand truck to move top heavy, toppling hives that split apart on a whim? Yep!
My beekeeping will look much like it did before. Three story deep Langstroth hives will make up the engine of my beekeeping. They will be complimented by a menagerie of other hives I find interesting.
Frame widths will be reduced to 1 1/4″. I’ll run them without foundation. And manage them in a natural way.
I’ll paraffin dip those boxes! I might use beeswax rather than parafin. And maybe they will even look almost as good as those Warre’ hives!
And I’ll keep scouting around for a good used trailer. But until I find one, I can move my hives by breaking them apart and carrying one box at a time if necessary.
Emotion or Reason?
I find it interesting to ponder my decision-making process. With all the testing, the trials, the research and experience, one would think that such a decision would be based more on reason than emotion. But emotion wins! After all, once the minimal needs of the bees are met, a hive is all about the beekeeper’s needs.
And maybe there is more emotion involved to the art of beekeeping, and the beekeeper’s needs, than many beekeepers would admit. At least for this beekeeper there is anyway.
Remember, just bee natural.