Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Using a Rod to Push Top Bars Together

I've seen people inspecting bees in Langs, and one of the things that bugs me (no pun intended -- ok, maybe intended a little bit) is the number of bees that get squashed when they put the boxes back together. I'm not sure that it can be helped, though. It's hard to keep bees from landing all over the place.

One of the reasons I like top bar hives is that I can actually get through an entire inspection without squashing a single bee. It's not easy though. However, I worked out a method that seemed to work ok. Here's what I did:

  1. Put one end of bar down right up against the previous bar.
  2. Slowly lower other end of the bar so that it comes down right next to the comb beside it. This will push the bees down. Might have to jiggle the bar up and down a bit, though, to get the girls to move.
It sounds like a simple plan, but it was a little tedious, and I sometimes had to use smoke, which I didn't love. That's why I was so excited when someone shared this video on BeeSource today. What a fabulous idea! It's so simple I can't believe I never thought of that! 

Cheers, everyone!


  1. You could do this with anything that is long and thin. It should be just thinner than bee space so that when you remove it there isn't enough room for the bees to move back in. If you use shims to gap your honey bars just have a few that are about 3.5mm... you know... or get a steel rod :)

    1. Yes, I wasn't planning to buy a steel rod since I already have a wooden dowel on hand. As my dad always says, "Use what you have." :) I just really love this idea -- it totally beats jiggling bees. :)

  2. I keep forgetting to tell you thanks for this tip. I use a strip of wood that was left over from making the top bars - it's just the right length. Like you say - it beats jiggling bees!

    1. You're welcome! I thought that the tip was too good not to share! :)


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