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Lincoln Farmer

Canterbury TBH bee keeper wanted

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I am a farmer with 125 hectares in Greenpark 5min from Lincoln looking for a top bar hive beekeeper who would like to have hives on the farm as an investment. I am interested in buying all honey and preferably honey comb. I can provide at least 2 tbh hives and could build more, land, processing shed, can buy all honey produced.

Edited by Lincoln Farmer

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Top bar hives, beloved by the alternative beekeepers and tolerated by the bees. The type of hive you have is your choice but you will have happier and more productive bees that are a lot easier to manage if you go for conventional hives. Top bar hives were not originally used because they were better or more natural, they were used in Kenya because everyone could get hold of half an oil drum and some sticks. It made them cheaper not better.

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Why would the Bees be less happy in a TBH? I know it produces less but am ok with that, and value having the complete natural comb for my customers rather than just the honey.

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Hi there. I am interested. Could I give you a call to discuss to see if we can make something work? 

 

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If you look at my profile my phone number should be there. 

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1 minute ago, YoungBee said:

If you look at my profile my phone number should be there. 

 

Hi @YoungBee, I'm curious to know how you are a Bee Breeder but not a DECA holder? Breeding bees (well) takes years of experience and you only need to have kept bees for one (maybe two) years to get your DECA...

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22 minutes ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

Why would the Bees be less happy in a TBH? I know it produces less but am ok with that, and value having the complete natural comb for my customers rather than just the honey.

 

Hi @Lincoln Farmer, I produce beautiful, untouched, comb honey in regular Langstroth bee hives. I don't use foundation and you get plenty of honey (still in the comb). I would be happy to talk to you to see if we could come to some kind of arrangement. I already have two apiaries out your way and am in discussions about developing an apiary with another farmer in Greenpark where I hunt ducks and geese on his property.

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Hi @CHCHPaul been looking at this forum for a while and only just decided to sign up. Only filled in bits of my profile as I find it a bit difficult to navigate this page on my phone. Will complete later. 

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1 hour ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

Hi @Lincoln Farmer, I produce beautiful, untouched, comb honey in regular Langstroth bee hives. I don't use foundation and you get plenty of honey (still in the comb). I would be happy to talk to you to see if we could come to some kind of arrangement. I already have two apiaries out your way and am in discussions about developing an apiary with another farmer in Greenpark where I hunt ducks and geese on his property.

Yes that sounds interesting too. Do you want to contact me through my tm listing as well. I don't know if just one of you could be here or both but worth having a chat. 

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I got 45 tonne of nice honey if you need some .....?

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Hi @Lincoln Farmer  I can’t seem to see any info on your TM listing. You could text me on my number in my profile. 

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Happy was perhaps not the best word, comfortable might be closer to it. Sheep can live in a paddock without any shade but they are more comfortable with it. Bees can live in horizontal hives being very adaptable little creatures but it is not their first preference.

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3 hours ago, jamesc said:

I got 45 tonne of nice honey if you need some .....?

Sorry a bit much for me, try winnie the pooh. 

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3 minutes ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

 john berry How can you tell which they like most?

What characteristic/s of the TBH appeals to you @Lincoln Farmer ?

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If it is less invasive, creates natural comb, and is how its been done like forever, they say bees sting and get upset less, the viewing window on the side is a nice touch too.

I am not a bee keeper, but as a Dairy farmer I know full well the silly myths that can go around and sound believable to an untrained eye, so maybe I am off beam here.

But am not convinced either way apart from I see the conventional method of beekeeping makes it easier or maybe even possible to make a living off it and this may be the driving factor rather than true pros and cons? So this might be the motivation. I would like to know what you think.

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I think what you are looking for is a good beekeeper.

By that, I mean someone whose interest is primarily keeping bees rather than making an income from bees. 

When you find that person, you can then discuss the hive the bees are in. The good beekeeper should be able to explain their reason for their choice of hive.

 

This in no way is saying that commercial beekeepers are not good beekeepers. Its just that what would suit an income producing unit is not what I believe you are looking for.

Edited by Mummzie
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8 hours ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

I would like to know what you think

In the sense that a hive's natural "format " is vertical rather than horizontal, a productive tbh requires more manipulation (read invasion) than a langstroth. That's not to say it can't be done, it's just less likely imo to produce an acceptable commercial outcome. And given last season's price of honey and the fact many beeks seem to have unsold tonnages unless your plan has some sort of marketing difference it may turn out to be a rather long term "investment". If you're envisaging offering farm visits to the tourist market and want a field of tbhs for the ambience go for it but there'll be no  profit from them. 

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10 hours ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

I am not a bee keeper, but as a Dairy farmer I know full well the silly myths that can go around and sound believable to an untrained eye, so maybe I am off beam here.

OK.  Here is the perfect example to you.

 

Cows have been milked by hand for thousand of years.  Why do you think Dairy farmers use milking sheds now.  I will not even ask about types of shed, ie: walk through, herring bone or rotary.

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Right now it is probably more profitable milking cows by hand. In five to ten years at least two out of five of the big dairy sheds will be covered in cobwebs.

TBH beekeeping will move to something more 'bee natural' but in the mean time follow your heart.

 

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That is constructive thinking.

I do have a connection to tourism so that would be one part too. 

Maybe a bit of both for my situation.

 

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19 hours ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

Why would the Bees be less happy in a TBH?

 

Because they are forced to store honey way out to the side, which goes against their natural inclinations and they hate it. Which is why most bees just won't do it, the reason TBH's store markedly less honey.

 

11 hours ago, Lincoln Farmer said:

If it is less invasive, creates natural comb, and is how its been done like forever

 

I can just about guess what books and web sites you have read. You have drunk the Koolaid, and been misled.

 

TBH's may or may not be less invasive than a lang. If you want any surplus honey at all from a TBH you have to be very invasive.

 

Natural comb can be produced in a TBH, or a lang, depending what the beekeeper wants to do.

 

Been done like forever? TBH advocates point to what is believed to be an ancient TBH found on an island off i think Greece. They ignore that is one oddball ancient hive, the thousands of other ancient hives were kept in all kinds of containers from logs to clay pots to straw skeps.

 

The real history of TBH's is they were invented late last century by a Canadian aid team that included a beekeeper. They were in Africa and he realised the locals could not afford lang hives, so the beekeeper used local materials so the locals could make a moveable comb hive for free by hanging the combs on sticks. Not ideal, but free, and free meant people could do it.

The idea was then seized on by rich American yuppies as a "natural alternative" Forsaking the true values of "natural alternative", these rich yuppies started building carefully machined resource hungry beautifully crafted hives that cost far more dollars than a lang, and incorporate such luxuries as glass viewing windows, etc. Some of these people have written books on the subject, which appeal to popular wants of people who do not yet understand bees, by claiming "natural", "bee friendly", and a heap of other buzz words.

 

All this sounds like bashing and it probably is. But hey, you asked the questions, I'm just telling it ike it is.

 

To your origional quest for a "TBH beekeeper", any reasonably skilled beekeeper can run a TBH, there is no magic difference between the bees in a TBH and the bees in a lang.

 

I would suggest employ your "TBH beekeeper", but also run a couple of langstroth hives, so you can compare. If you want natural comb, the Reverent Langstroth, who invented the Langstroth hive, did not use comb foundation, that came later. Original langstroth hives were all natural comb, and that can be done now also if that is what you want.

 

Good luck, I will be interested to follow your progress in future posts.

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