Chris and Rebecca adding bars to the hive.

INDIA. Honey of the Untouchables.
Eric Tourneret. Bee Photographer.

  The Story of Our Bees from the Beginning.

After having tasted the honey produced in this community garden, for which thanks goes to Rooftop Honey who introduced the beehive into the gardens, we have decided to have a go at becoming beekeepers ourselves. So far Alistair, Chris, Rebecca, Jess, Ian and Marijka have put up their hands. 
Good luck to us, as we are all novices.

One of our lovely bees on a Portuguese Kale flower on Christine's plot.


photo    marijka
posted   marijka.

Sunday 26th May 2013

We asked Martin O'Callaghan of The Urban Beehive to come and talk to us. He did. He brought along an example both of the Kenyan style Top Bar Beehive and a Worre hive, and very generously spent an afternoon with us describing and discussing the secrets of keeping bees etc.  A very productive afternoon for everybody who was there and the consensus was that we are going to build a Kenyan style Top Bar hive..
After some minor delays we bought the wood.  We had to contact our mentor Martin, to make sure we were buying the right sort of timber.. It had been a few weeks since we had seen a hive and the timber guys made us doubt our memory. Pine is fine!! But the crucial point is that it needs to be painted with a ratio of 9 parts linseed oil and 1 part wax once a year to weather proof it.

Vince and I spent a little bit of time cutting up the first pieces of wood to make 3 follower boards.
We are using
"How To Build A Top Bar Hive" by Phillip Chandler.

The author has written these instructions with fellow amateurs in mind. Loads of photos in a step by step fashion.

Vince calculating.

Sunday 2nd June 2013

 Josh and Pia
sanding down the top bars.
Hopefully next week we can screw the main part of the beehive together. 

Sunday 16th 2013

The beautiful design for the beehive by our resident designer/artist Rebecca. 
Our bees will have no excuse about finding their home.

This is a week late in being blogged. Vince, Pia, Josh, Rebecca Chris and Marijka continued with the beehive construction.. Vince with Josh's help actually screwd the panels into place. More sanding was done by the rest of the mob,  as well as deciding how much is 100 gms of organic beeswax to a proportion of 10 parts of linseed. It was decided that it is a litre. So the beeswax and linseed were melted together. This did not take a very long time.  It was then applied to the panels. 


Sunday  23rd June 2013

This week we continued
building. The beehive's  roof is slowly taking shape. 
More sanding was also done. This time the topbar hive splints so that our darling bees (we know they will be all darlings) will not get any splinters..and another coat of beeswax and linseed oil was applied. But unfortunately we may have to rethink the roof of our hive. We shall see.

Look closely to see our first bee which came and landed on the freshly applied beeswax and linseed oil. Rebecca, Pia and Marijka got so excited, rushed to get their cameras and scared the bee away. She obliginly returned but only to sit near the hive.

Photos thanks to Pia, Ros, Marijka.

 A bee with the pollen sac on her leg heading towards a sunflower..  This is what we are hoping for come this summer.  Of course we still have to get some of her sisters and finish a home for them in Northcote Community Gardens..

 Photo marijka.

Drawing the comb downwards (video)


"This is a great little video from Gaia Bees, an American natural beekeeper doing some very interesting work in bee colony resilience and apicentric beekeeping.
The super interesting thing about this video is that it clearly shows how, in a ‘wild hive’, the colony starts at the highest point of the cavity, and draws their comb downwards. This is precisely what Emile Warr√© was trying to mimic with the way his ‘people’s hive’ worked, and with his approach to beekeeping… " quote from

 Read about the Warre style of beekeeping another method of using a topbar hive at the above address.

More information and loads more videos on natural beekeeping (as well as the sunhive) at this address, with a stack of resources if you wish to continue to learn more about bees.

Bees drinking water using the floating water fern Azolla as a platform in our bottom pond..


Ros Bint said...

What a wonderful description of the process great work gang cant wait for the bee population to arrive...Ros

reb said...

Lovely record of our hive building Marijka- well done! And it ain't over yet!

alistair tuffnell said...

That is a brilliant photo of the bee carrying pollen. Magic.

And I enjoyed reading the narrative of the beehive.