To Bee Or Not To Bee.....

Do you ever find that some things just keep reappearing in your life making you ask yourself, "Should I should really check into this or that?" That is the story of my life! I can tell you that it has made for some very interesting projects that I thought I would never have been involved in on my own. It has led to homeschooling, gardening, keeping chickens, woodworking etc. Each in many ways connecting to the other.

Keeping bees is something that has sparked my curiousity over the years. Dancing through the yard bare-footed as a child hoping not to squish the bees feeding on clover to my master gardener training program. Not to mention the fact that my name, Melissa, means "honey-bee"

Here's the definiton I found on my name:

The girl's name Melissa \m(e)-lissa, mel(is)-sa\ is pronounced ma-LISS-ah. It is of Greek origin, and its meaning is "bee; honey". Mythology: the name of a princess of Crete who was changed into a bee after she learned how to collect honey. The name was used since ancient Greece.

I must say that I'm hoping the part about turning into a bee after learning to collect honey isn't true, lol.

In my endeavors of sustainability, beekeeping has its rightful place. I need them and at the looks of the devastation on bee colonies, I think they need me too. Feeding people, animals and insects are what I seem to do best right now. It will just be another excuse for me to plant more bee food!

After some research and looking at my pocketbook, I think I'm going to look into Top Bar Hives for keeping bees. Here's why:

Top Bar is known to be economical for the backyard beekeeper plus healthier for the bees and the beekeeper. One of things I hadn't considered was how hard it can be on one's back with the traditional hives as below:

That's a huge factor in considering my own sustainability! :)

Research is underway on what is causing the deaths of so many bees. There is a list that's pretty long about speculations. Top Bar benefits seem to help bees in the fact it allows them to build more natural sized combs and each cell is regulated by the bees, not hive dimensions -one of the many thoughts on what may be part of the colony collapse problem.

I personally am looking for a healthy hive, ease of use and overall lower maintenance and cost. If you start to calculate all of the expenses on setting up an apiary with all of its equipment, it will take years to see a profit. Top Bar is more geared to the rest of us non-commercial producers, no matter what size of backyard you have.

Here are a few websites that have helped me:


There are directions for building your own Top bar beehive on two of the websites.

I'm hoping to take a course in keeping bees this next spring. I'll keep you posted on my progress in that direction. :) Hopefully I'll still be able to type if I turn into a bee!


  1. You're amazing! I love the idea of you adding bee hives to your already diversified 'farm'. Not only would they be nice for bringing in honey a the end of the season, but they could also spell a better gardening experience reflected in better plant yields due to increased cross pollination caused by bees feeding in your backyard.

    Getting training is an excellent thing. Perhaps not only can you provide us with photos of your bee hives when you start implementing them, but also give us a few photos of what takes place during the training.

  2. Sounds like you're destined for it! ;) Keep us up to date. I've always been interested too. Although, with severe allergies and anaphylaxis running in my hubby's genes, I've been afriad to house them, since I'm not sure what will happen if the kids get stung.

  3. Hey, I just found your blog from Children in the Corn. I am a beekeeper and am glad to hear that you are considering keeping bees. I keep bees in a typical hive and have had pretty good success at it, though I am just a hobbyist. I am sure you have read, but there are pros and cons to each method of keeping bees. Most of the benefits that you mention in top bar hives are not absent in "typical" hives. There is a movement underway to allow bees to draw natural sized comb in typical hives. People have typically done lots of thing to industrialize beekeeping as an ag pursuit but it does not mean that it has to be so (e.g. you can build shallower boxes so you don't have to lift much, you can allow the bees to draw comb out rather than use mass produced foundation, etc). I rarely lift an entire hive body with my typical hives. I usually remove frame at a time as you would in a top-bar hive. I don't mean to discredit top bar hives at all. I am just encouraging you to consider ways of making typical hives work as well. I don't know your local beekeeping club, but you may find it hard to get support/advice from people if you have top bar hives...most folks typically keep box hives and understand them better. You will also have to make your own equipment more than likely as few dealers use top bars. Eithr way, I am glad you are getting into bees and doing your research. A lot of hobbyists get out of bees before they even get in due to a lack of preparation.

    if you care, I have some info on my blog

  4. I love blogging. :) I'm amazed at how many people take the time to help each other through posting and comments. It's a true sense of community. Thanks so much for everyone's encouragement!


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