Posts Tagged ‘honey bees’

The resourcefulness of beekeepers…

January 12, 2012

Recently I read a response to a blog post on Dennis Murrell’s Natural Beekeeping blog.  Dianna wrote to describe how she had recycled oak fence boards into a Warre hive with her circular saw, for next to nothing in $$$ and happily, still has all her fingers!

We thought she was pretty smart, and the oak must look awesome!

Here’s what we said back to her:

Dianna – What a great example of recycling and resourcefulness!  We would love to see a pic of your Warre hive – maybe you could post it on our Facebook page?  It’s here: and we love to see pictures!  (We also love it when you click “like”if you like our Facebook page!)

There are a lot of extremely resourceful beekeepers out there – and many of them with a very well developed woodworker “gene”.  They also understand the value of having interchangeable parts – so that beekeepers can work together.  They understand that “a hive can save a hive” – an open bar of brood is the natural solution to a queenless hive.  But the parts have to fit between hives!

So in addition to our  “bells & whistles” Deluxe TBH hive ($495), which comes as a complete kit,  we also have the plans for a Gold Star hive kit in both of our DIY kits —  DIY#1 ($50) AND DIY#2 ($295).

The Deluxe kit contain all the wood, the glass window, the hardware, painted roof – everything – and goes together with nothing more than a screwdriver and a staplegun –

But with the DIY #1, YOU do ALL of the woodworking, and you are building the same box you see for sale on the website – and you know that it matches up with all existing Gold Star hives.

With a DIY #2, you build the box, roof and legs, but you GET the top bars.  And if you’ve GOT the top bars, then you want to be darned sure it all works together, so we also include the follower boards.   We like to call those follower boards “the keys to the kingdom” – because if you build the box to be a fit to the followers, then the top bars will also be a perfect fit.   Voila!  Gold Star quality, and hive interchangeability!

Both DIY kits include all the hardware as well.  This is our response to the “Big Box Bubble Pack” – where you have to buy a plastic bubble package containing 60 of something you only need 14 of.  Or a 100 foot roll of hardware cloth/screen that you only need 4 feet of.

And as Dennis mentioned – it’s very nice to have all your fingers – we think beekeepers should be able to count to ten!  You can read Dennis’ blog (in its new format!) here:

There’s a video about our different kits here:

You can find our website here:

And you can ask us questions here:

Thanks for listening!

Christy Hemenway

Gold Star Top Bar Hives since 2007


A Christmas beekeeping blog…

December 25, 2011


Just what IS beekeeping? Is it art? Is it science? Is it magic? It’s notoriously difficult to define… Is it a hobby?  Is it a habit?  Is it an obsession?  Just what is it?

And what about those funny little bugs? Just what is it about bees?  They sting, yes – so it’s prudent to be cautious when you’re around them – but they only sting when they’re defending something?  Who knew? And it’s a kamikaze mission, that once-in- a-lifetime sting of a honeybee.  They never do it frivolously – it’s a life or death proposition for the honeybee.

Yet beekeepers can be seen standing, sitting, lounging in the vicinity of their hives for hours, and just… watching. That’s it – just watching the bees flying in and out of the hive. It’s mesmerizing.  It’s as if we think that if we watch long enough, we’re going to figure out their secret.

Truly, what we humans really know about honeybees is pretty limited. We cannot see inside the hive, we cannot see inside their minds, we barely even believe in a concept as advanced as a hive mind or a holistic super organism.

That’s probably one of the reasons that so much damage has been done – not only to the honeybee, but to our food system over the course of recent history. Because we don’t necessarily believe in magic or in a hive mind. We’re used to living isolated and alone, so how could this humble insect know, and live by, something so community-oriented, something so complex that we humans can’t understand it?

The honeybee has much to teach us about cooperation. Living and working together, taking only what we need, never damaging the planet that sustains us–but only ever helping and supporting it. We could go a long way on the things that we could learn from bees.

My Christmas wish to all of us would be this–that we take a lesson from the honeybees. That we learn to live in connection with the world around us–supporting and nurturing it, instead of industrializing and destroying it. That we learn to live in harmony with each other, recognizing the importance of each to the whole.

And as we take steps in that direction, we will find a sense of peace, of joy, of good will towards all men.

And that would make for a pretty good Christmas gift.