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Frequently Asked Questions
Are Top bar Hives Illegal in New Zealand?
Top Bar hives are not illegal. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries published a statement on Top Bar Hives in the New Zealand Beekeeper Magazine, August 20011, page 22. They explained that under the interpretation of the law, which governs hives in NZ, if you can seperately and easily remove each frame from the hive to inspect for disease a hive is not illegal. The definition of 'moveable frame hive' needs to be interpreted in the light of the objectives of the strategy. The original intent behind the requirement to have movable frames was to facilitate inspection of AFB. The key consideration is that there should be no impediment to inspection.
Are Top Bar Hives going to be banned from use in New Zealand.
To do this there would need to be a change in the Pest Management Strategy. This would involve lengthy debate in Parliament. MAF appear to not be against Top Bar Hives and as any change would have to be driven by them it seems unlikely. The National Beekeepers Association are only one organisation in the honey industry, they do not have the authorisation to make law changes.
Are Top Bar Hives appropriate for beginners in Beekeeping?
I started with a Top Bar Hive and I have never had any prior experience with beekeeping. I believe if you can manage a TBH you will become a better beekeeper. As with any new experience there is a steep learning curve and mistakes such as broken combs, can and will happen, in your first season.
Are TBH's Illegal in any other country?
No and they are in wide use in Australia, United States and the UK.
Do you get much honey from a TBH?
You dont get anything like the amount of honey you get from a Langstrroth hive. Beekeeping with a TBH is more about providing pollinators in your environment and do your bit for the bees. In saying that in a good season I take off around 6-8 jars of honey every three weeks over Summer.
Are TBH's hard to manage?
Managing the TBH frames requires different skills than managing a Langstroth frame hive. You can't yank frames out of the hive. You can't lean frames against the hive. You can't throw the frames around roughly. If you prefer the rip , sh** and bust way of beekeeping TBH's are not for you. You need to handle the frames gently whilst always keeping them on the vertical. It takes more time to inspect your hive but a hobby beekeeper has this extra time.
Are TBH's required to have a full enclosing frame?
The NBA have suggested they should but I feel it is totally unnecessary and defeates the purpose of natural beekeeping in a low cost, simple hive.
Are you (Janet Luke) going to put frames around your top bars?
No, why mess up a perfectly functioning hive which can be inspected for exotic disease?
Why are some commercial beekeeers and some senior members of the NBA so opposed to TBH's?
I can only speculate that it is fear of the unknown?, fear of something new?, nervousness about the growth in hobby beekeeping? or patch protection of the "Old Boys Network"?
If you have any other questions about Top Bar Hives please contact Janet here