Topbar bee boxes

Cycle Farm was awarded grant funding from the Lundberg Family Farms’ Raising Organic Family Farms program to help us start bee hives this spring. Since taking a backyard bee keeping course last year with Les and Heather of For the Love of Bees in New Mexico, we’ve been really excited about topbar bee keeping and promoting local pollinators. Jeremy and I spent yesterday afternoon building bee boxes with the generous help of Jeremy’s father, David, and his well-equipped wood shop.

Assembly was pretty straightforward. The boxes are from pine boards, and the bars are cut from scrap. The wood is all untreated and the outside of each box will be seasoned with linseed oil (flax). The box is a trough shaped container (think hollow log) on which the top bars line up, creating a lid.  The bees build a comb from each bar, and to help prevent cross-combing, we’ve attached a cleat to several of the topbars. The bees use a slit in a wall of the box as their primary entrance/exit.

Our next bee-project will be a mason bee nesting block to encourage additional, industrious local pollinators. Here’s a photo from a visit to Sol Feliz Farm, near Taos, NM.

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