How to Fill Your Non-Standard Honeycomb : When I started beekeeping at the turn of the century, the choice of hives in the UK was National or WBC or, if you have bigger ambitions, Commercial. Langstroth is seen as the undisputed American and anything made of straw is just a freak, and at worst, disaster waiting to happen.
Now, less than 20 years later, we also have the Warré, horizontal scion nest, Lazutin, ZEST and other inner boxes, and for hay lovers, some interesting variants for the skeptic. This has created two new problems for beginners: which hive to start with and how to lure bees into it.
In those days it was easy: National was the top choice because it was everywhere. Those who like the look of the WBC and don’t procrastinate on the extra work can still use the same frames, even if they are fewer in number. You pay around £25 for a nuc that is too cold and about double for a hive and in an instant you are a new beekeeper.
Somehow, in a few decades, the price of nuc doubled, and doubled again, and again, and the price of wood tools also increased, so that now there is a significant cost to start a beekeeping. If you follow the conventional route: you can expect to put down around £500 for a hive with bees and basic equipment.
If you take the road less traveled and build your own top bar hive – vertical or horizontal – you could definitely save money on hardware, but now you have another problem: how to get bees into your hive, given that a standard 5 frame core doesn’t. ‘T. will fit into your oddly shaped box, and matching nucs are as rare as chicken teeth.
When I … Read more