Hercules Bees stands behind the quality of its hives. I sell the same models that I use in my apiaries.
I use beehive-building instructions developed by, Dr. Wyatt Mangum. The development of his hive designs spans over 2 decades of observation and experiment. His efforts have resulted in a practical and beautiful system in which to keep bees. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I am just copying his plans because they work. Along with purchase of Hercules Bees Beehives, I highly recommend buying Dr. Mangum's book on top-bar beekeeping. It is worth every penny and you will surely benefit as a beekeeper from the knowledge that you will gain. Beekeepers need to constantly research how to better care for their beestock.
Reasons to buy Hercules Bees Hives
- Standardization. All Hercules Bees Beehives have standardized internal dimensions. This allows for easy transfer of comb between different beehives.
- Quality Craftsmanship. I build these beehives so that they will last over 18 years in the field. Screw construction for secure joints, a double coat of paint for waterproofing, and a generous hive cover to protect the hive from rain and sun all give these hives incredible longevity.
- Functional Design.
- Alighting boards for the bees
- top bar with cleat to allow easy entrance into the hive
- Standardized hive entrances.
- Rear Entrance Hole (blockable, but allows for internally dividing hive cavities)
- Winter Mouseguards
- Wooden spacers (2x4s) for supporting the metal hive cover
- Hive cover with tie-down rope
- No frills, everything that you need to beekeep, nothing else to get in the way.
- Support your Local Beekeeper. It will be local beekeepers that champion the survival of localized breeds of beestock. Commercial pressures on bee farms cause the industry to select for a bug that favors profitability over hardiness. Our society is paying a price for this. Buy your hives here, and source your first hives locally (not necessarily me, though let's talk). As I grow my business I will provide local queens from Contra Costa County.
What can I use for the beehive stand?
Top Bar beehive stands must provide the following:
- A comfortable working height for the beekeeper.
- A completely level support for the top bar hive.
- Air-circulation under the hives to prevent hive-rot.
- Protection from ants, Argentine sugar ants in particular. These ants are a scourge upon Californian beehives, invading by the thousands and killing strong colonies within days. Then they'll move to the next colony.
With those criteria in mind, Hercules Bees suggests a cinder block and wooden beam type hive stand. This hive stand design can hold the weight of multiple colonies and also incorporate a pesticide-free barrier of diatomaceous earth to protect against ant-invasion in the apiary. Just a few old tuna cans, some of the earth, short pieces of plastic pipe, and a bit of extra wood can provide a permanent ant-barrier to your beehives. An example of such a stand is included in the gallery above.
So I shouldn't use legs attached to my hive?
Legs attached to the beehive make for a nice working height, but can be bulky and slow to transport should you require moving hives throughout different apiaries. More importantly, legs attached to the hive give ants the perfect way in. Remedies for this are legs in oilcan buckets, a perimeter of spray pesticide (yuck!), or generous and frequent application of tanglefoot glue to the hive legs (which gets everywhere and is not a sustainable solution. In short, it takes perfect circumstances for legs to adequately provide all the attributes needed by a beehive stand.
Another problem with legs is that it can be tricky to craft them so that the hive is completely level. Slight inclines cause more attachment of comb to the sidewall of the beehive, for bees build straight down they don't fight gravity).
How do I feed bees in a top bar hive?
A small bucket filled with sugar syrup or dry sugar can be inserted into the hive body to feed the bees. Remember to include floats in the liquid so that the bees don't drown. Homemade plug-on feeders attached to the front of the hive are also an option to use with these top bar hives. I'll get that product up on the products page soon.