For many years I have dreamt of keeping bees, of having my own hive and two things have have stood in the way of me being able to have a hive.
Problem No 1 to beekeeping has been my wife!
She has always been the type that when a bee comes within ten feet of her, she starts making stupid noises and running around waving her arms and this has even been in public.
Problem No 2 has been that I am a wheelchair user, the type of hive as picture above can involve some heavy lifting. A full box can weigh between 40 and 50 pounds and so it means I couldn’t keep bees using these hives.
Problem No 1
Has been solved after many years of teaching my wife about bees, tellling her that they won’t sting if she just carries on with what she was doing and that they are too important to the hive to sting her and then die.
Last week as she cut the lawn, she brushed by a very large lavender that over hangs the lawn and bumble bees and honey bees flew up and all around her and she did not batt an eyelid.
Then one evening whilst watching TV, she turned to me and said “You can have a hive” and yes I had to pinch myself!
Problem No 2
The soloution is to build or have built a Top Bar Hive which is also known as a Kenyan Hive.
This style of hive is perfectly suited for wheelchair users. I can have it built to a height where I can wheel right up, open the hinged lid and the top bars that the bees build comb on are right there and easy to access.
This style of hive doesn’t produce as much honey as a national hive, but that is okay. I will be able to keep bees and we will get some honey from it.
The Top Bar Hives are cheap to build and I can get the main build out of one 2440 x 1220 sheet of exterior ply. The top bars are 38mm x 450mm and the frame for the roof is 50 x 50mm.
This will be made possible as my birthday is in August and money from family will enable me to buy the wood to build, a beekeeping suit and some hive tools such as a smoker and a hive tool to pry the sealed bars off.
A Nuc which is a box containing a queen, workers and some comb can cost £200 and so we will set the hive up as a bait hive and try and lure a swarm or a local pest control company has offered to help and will bring me a swarm if they get called out to one!
So watch this space, I will post blogs and videos about my journey into beekeeping and see if it is possible for a wheelchair user to suceed with a hive of their own!