Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health

Les Crowder, Author, Heather Harrell, Author
Les Crowder and Heather Harrell. Chelsea Green, $24.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-60358-461-6
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-60358-462-3
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Cave drawings show beekeepers “smoking” their hives, preparing for insect interaction. Today’s mass-produced honey relies mostly on the venerable Langstroth method of beekeeping, which has produced plenty of honey—but also has introduced plenty of chemicals into the process—through the years. Top-bar hives, named for the bars that run across their tops, are popular with bee beginners even though they produce less honey than Langstroth hives. But this account, the culmination of Crowder and Harrell’s 40 years of top-bar beekeeping adventures, shows the reader their method’s advantages: it avoids antibiotics, miticides, and other chemicals inherent to the conventional process. Crowder and his wife, Harrell, leave no comb unharvested as they take the top-bar aspirant from bee basics (stings, smoke, and hive transfers) through hive management (comb removal and feeding) to beneficial, and profitable, byproducts like beeswax. For those a bit lukewarm to the swarm, the book gives a fascinating insight into bees’ elaborate organizational and geometry skills, and it may even make one reconsider buying mass-marketed, chemical-laced honey. (Sept. 15)
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