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Title: Tavas Carow Apiary.

Tavascarow - July 4, 2010 08:00 PM (GMT)
Sounds grand.
At present I have one national hive that despite my neglect continues to survive.
I'm experimenting this year, not only going foundationless but also frameless.
Read a lot about Warre hives & also (using google translate) Oscar Perones set up in Argentina.
So I'm combining the two methods using national & commercial boxes (as Perone uses Langstroth size boxes) but going to manage them like a warre, ie put empty boxes under the hive in the spring & remove the crop from the top in the Autumn.
At present my national hive consists of one normal brood box with frames & comb & under that a recently added commercial brood box with just frame top bars & starter strips.
Next spring I will add another commercial brood under the existing set up the same as the first, & next autumn remove the national framed box hopefully filled with honey.
Drawbacks of this system is without frames comb inspection is virtually impossible as is swarm prevention.
As my bees seem to be survivors I'm happy trusting in nature.
I will treat for varroa in the Autumn & spring using Gareths string method
LINK & hopefully catch any swarms it will throw for housing in similar set ups & in Chandler horizontal hives.

Apart from my national I have one horizontal top bar hive on the go.
On the 22/6 Joe Carrie & myself collected a very small cast swarm from Laddock, probably less than a pint of bees.
They where setting up home in a pigeon hole under the eaves of a barn conversion, so it was a case of getting my hand in & scooping them out.
Luckily we got the queen & most of the bees but the light was failing & we all had chickens to shut in so had to call it quits.
They have been living in one end of my TBH & on Friday (2/7) a call from the same people at laddock with another swarm.
This time I'm sure we didn't get the queen so a return visit will be necessary.
The bees we did collect when placed on the top of the hive on Saturday morning all started to leave the skep & gather around the entrance to the existing cast so they have united & made one stronger swarm (which is why I'm 99% sure the queen wasn't there).
Joe who is more practical than me is going to build a bee vac & when he has we will go back & hoover up the remaining bees, hopefully with the queen this time, & try to get them going in the other end of the same hive.
Both swarms if the queens mate & get going will go to Joe, Carrie & Nic (if we haven't found her some bees from elsewhere).
So there's an update on my endeavours, which I will add to as time progresses.
Sorry there are no photos, I work on my own most of the time & working bees & a camera is beyond me.
I did take my camera to the first swarm collection but guess who forgot to put a card in it. :rolleyes:
Please start your own threads & add to them, it will be interesting for all of us to share our experiences.
Happy beekeeping folks.
Steve M.

Beebass - July 4, 2010 09:02 PM (GMT)
Great stuff Steve!

I'm glad you also maintain Nationals as I have a couple and was almost feeling embarrased to mention them, I think it's important that, whilst our main focus is on natural beekeeping and Top Bar Hives, we don't become cliquey and exclusive...personally I'm friends with anyone who keeps bees :D

Tavascarow - July 5, 2010 08:11 AM (GMT)
I'm of the opinion that the type of box bees are kept in does not determine whether they are natural or not.
Although things like foundation & queen excluders IMHO are not natural.
I would always encourage all beekeepers to do away with these & let the bees decide what size comb to build & where to establish their brood nest etc.
But as so few 'natural' beekeepers use conventional equipment there is little guidance, which is why I'm experimenting.
I think it's easier to keep bees naturally in a horizontal hive & for a beginner less stressful.

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