Thursday, January 22, 2015

Resources for the New TBH Beek

Updated resources 9/26/16

Lately, I've been reading a lot and watching YouTube vids because that's what beeks do over the winter. When they can't play with bees, they spend their days dreaming and thinking about them. That's when it occurred to me that new TBH beeks might like a list of books/resources to get started.

Here are some resources that I found very helpful when I got started:


  • Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder. I really love this book. Every time I read it, I glean something new, and I adore Les' voice. If I met him in real life, I think we'd be friends. BTW, if you have a TBH with end entrances, you'll love the management diagrams. (Note, his entrances are on the side, but they are all the way at one end of the hive rather than in the middle.)
  • The Thinking Beekeeper: A Guide to Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives by Christy Hemenway. Excellent & informative book. Christy's hives have side entrances along the middle of the hive, so if that's what you're using, her diagrams will be more helpful to you.
  • Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom and Pleasure Combined by Wyatt Mangum. This book is only available on his website, and it's a little pricier than the other two. However, it's well-worth the money.
  • The Barefoot Beekeeper by Phil Chandler. For some reason, I think I got this free somehow. In any case, it's quite inexpensive. Actually, Phil has several books available via the provided link.
  • If you're into Warres, I recommend David Heaf's book, or you can download Abbe Warre's book Beekeeping for All for free from several Internet sites.
Other Books: Ok, these aren't about TBHs, but they're highly educational.

  • Out of a Blue Sky has a terrific YouTube channel. Watching his demonstrations really helped me visualize how to manage and work a TBH.
  • GoldStar Honeybees also has a great YouTube channel. Highly recommend watching the How-To videos that are posted there.
  • Wyatt Mangum has a YouTube channel as well. To be candid, I admit that I've only watched a couple of these. The ones I've seen have been a little difficult to hear, but they were very informative.
  • Also, I would recommend looking for Youtube video talks by Sam Comfort, Michael Bush, and Michael Palmer. Sam is a top bar guy. Both of the Michaels use Langs, but a lot of the info is good and can be used with TBHs.
  • Obviously, if you have a local beekeeping club, that would be a great way to connect with other beeks. One caveat is that many clubs are all about prophylactic treatment and may be skeptical of TBHs. Don't let them get you down!
  • Facebook, if you're on it, has several excellent groups that I'd recommend: Top Bar BeehivesTreatment-Free BeekeepersTop Bar Beekeeping, Organic Top Bar Beekeeping, and state specific groups for TBHs (I know Christy H. has started groups for each state.) If your state's FB group doesn't have a lot of members, think about trying a group in a bordering state.

I really like following other people's beekeeping journeys. Their blogs don't necessarily provide start-up info, but I learn a lot vicariously about the kinds of challenges other people face and how to deal with them. I follow about 30 beekeeping blogs, so I won't list them all. However, these are just a few that are TBH/treatment-free/natural-beekeeping specific. (Note: this list is somewhat edited since I tried not to list ones that don't post fairly regularly. Also, they are not in any particular order -- just the order they show up in my blog reader.)

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