Bee Ready!

You should always be careful what you ask for because you just may get it! Well, that is what has happened to me over this past week. My wonderful parents came to Texas for a visit and with them came this most amazing bee hive! They built it themselves and did an amazing job. I'm so blessed to be the proud owner of a Kenya Top Bar Hive

I had planned to build one of these myself very soon, so I can't tell you what a welcome surprise this was. My Dad suggests that I cover the lid with either copper or flashing to waterproof it. I also am planning on adding legs to the bottom, similar to sawhorse legs.

A feature I hadn't thought of in the planning of this hive is the shape of the top bars where bees attach their combs. Many of the top bar hives have a single strip down the middle of the bar that causes the bees to work with the 90 degree angle, filling it in as it builds the comb downward. The triangle shape of this one allows the bee to go along a more natural line.

Another feature is that it has a top entrance. The purpose of that is to let moisture out and it cuts down on condensation. In the winter, evidently this can be a problem. I also have my own thoughts about our conditions in Texas dealing with heat and fire ants. The top entrance just seems to make better sense.

This particular hive is 48" long. With several trials of hives both shorter and longer, this seems to be the most effective. Too large and it doesn't get used as well, too small and you have swarming issues from overcrowding.

Now I can confidently place my order for bees in January. I just need to add a bit of equipment that includes a hat/veil, hive tool, smoker and gloves. I'm really looking forward to my bee adventures in the spring!


  1. What a wonderful gift...I am looking forward to more posts on your adventures with bees! Gail

  2. Excellent! You'll be hooked as soon as you see the first bees hauling back pollen or "washboarding" around the entrance. It's a wonderful hobby!

    I had bees in TN before moving them here to WV. TN wasn't TX hot but it got pretty hot. Anyhow, heat was never an issue but I always used screened bottom boards to aid in ventilation. Condensation is a huge deal potentially so you'll want to make sure you leave ventilation. It's not likely that you will have it too bad related to cold though so it may not be so bad. I have seen screened vents on TBHs like yours so you may want to consider it. The good thing is that when you get your first bees, they are not a full strength hive so you will have the benefit of "growing" with them. Ventilation and condensation won't be an issue at all until they get more populated and by then you'll have a better idea of what you are doing. Anyhow, congrats and good luck!

  3. Thank you so much for your help Warren. I'm going to need all the help I can get on this and I appreciate your generosity. :)

    I'm sure I'm going to have plenty of questions after I get the bees. I'm a bit nervous, but I really think I will love this hobby. Bees to me are miracle workers and I love being around them as I work in the garden. Honey and beeswax are just a bonus.

    Do you have a particular book on beekeeping that you recommend?

  4. I have No experience with bees...but will come back and read what you write about them! Jan

  5. Great Jan :) Maybe you can be inspired, lol, OR in reality, learn from my mistakes. It's going to be fun no matter what though.

  6. Wow, what a neat gift and a neat design. You're braver than I am at attempting something new like that but I'm sure you'll get years of pleasure out of it. Your garden and your neighbors' gardens will also thank you for the pollinators!

  7. I don't typically like "dummies" books but beekeeping for Dummies is my favorite starter beekeeping book. Even more, I really like "A year in the life of an apiary", a video series by Keith Delaplane. It's a must-have in my mind. Your local library will be able to get it. I think he re-released it also so you could get your own copy if you'd like. I think it is th emost complete and thorough resource on beekeeping for a beginner. I also recommend the forums/discussion on

  8. Oh that is SO COOL! I want bees!

    Do you know Sue Hubble's book, A Book of Bees, or (my favorite of hers, A Country Year? "Must reads" if you like bees.

  9. I haven't heard of her, but thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely work in as much reading as I can before the bees get here. Fun!


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