Sunday 27 March 2016

How to Manage a Top Bar Hive

I published this book just before Christmas 2015, so it's probably about time I told you about it!

When I wrote The Barefoot Beekeeper in 2007, my main intention was to express my concerns with 'modern' beekeeping methods and chemical agriculture, while offering a possible alternative system for housing bees, more aligned to their own ways of arranging things in their hives. I went on to describe the top bar hives that I had built and populated, with some ideas about how they could be managed, using the 'tandem follow board' system that I had developed in order to make inspections quick and easy, with minimal disruption to the bees.

The Barefoot Beekeeper has sold pretty well over the intervening years, which has encouraged me to do more experiments, resulting in the 'periscope entrance' and the 'eco-floor', which have been shown to be useful and with further potential for development. At the back of my mind all the time was another book, which would go into detail about the various ways in which this versatile hive could be managed.

I coined the term 'balanced beekeeping' a couple of years ago, as it seemed that 'natural beekeeping' was becoming simultaneously (a) a term of abuse among conventional beekeepers, and (b) shading into the territory of 'do-nothing' beekeeping, which is not really bee keeping at all, but merely observation of bees. So I decided to write a two-volume book on 'balanced beekeeping; one with hive-building instructions and a discussion of the underpinning theory behind my top bar hive design, and the other having the management information. This would allow those readers who already had hives to be able to buy a smaller and cheaper book, containing only the instructions they needed.

So, after more than two years of writing and editing - in between teaching and beekeeping and life in general - the second volume is ready: Balanced Beekeeping II: Managing the Top Bar Hive is available from At 385 pages, it is my biggest book yet and will probably remain so. I have done my best to pack it with useful, practical, tried and tested information that answers most of the questions that people email me and that appear most frequently on the Natural Beekeeping Forum.

You can buy this book as a print-on-demand paperback or as an ebook. You might like to look at the 'beekeeping books' page on my website for all the buying options.

I hope you enjoy reading it and find it useful. Please let me know and leave a rating and review on the Lulu page.