Last week I carried out a Top Bar Hive Inspection after the bees had been in there for 10 days.

5 bars of comb that are larger on the west side of the hive and they have been favouring the entrance on that side of the front of the hive.

It was a strange moment as I approached my first hive inspection, I was both apprehensive and excited. I was trying to remember everything I had learnt and used the Haynes Bee Manual to quickly have a read on spotting a queen, eggs and the basics.

My concern was soon over when I opened the bars of the hive, the bees are very calm and gentle and I didn’t even wear gloves.

Comb on bar of Top Bar hive after 10 days

I was however worried as possibly through inexperience, I couldn’t see any eggs or the queen.

I have learnt a lot through the BeeKeepers Hour on Twitter and the people that post and comment using #beekeepershour and so I posted some photos and what I had seen or rather not seen and was told not to worry.

I decided to leave it another 10 days and do another inspection, but the weather is due to change for the worst from tomorrow for some time and so I did another inspection today 2nd June 2020.

And I am so very happy!

Disabled beekeeper in wheelchair carrying out an inspection on a Top Bar beehive

Even though this inexperienced beekeeper failed to spot the queen, it was clear that she was there as there was larvae and sealed brood.

So the colony is very settled and busy and will grow in numbers.

The Top Bar style Hive is definitely a great design for wheelchair users, I am able to wheel right up to it and work as if it is a table top in front of me, yes I need some help and today was helped by my eldest daughter but that is okay if it means I can keep bees. I have learnt to ask for help now unlike when I was first unwell.

Also keeping bees in a Top Bar hive means they will need less help from me and so when I have a flare up and end up laid up for a week or more at a time, there is no problem and they would be okay even during one of my month long flare ups.

Time will tell if I am able to keep it up but so far the outlook is good.

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

5 thought on “Top Bar Hive Inspection”
  1. So happy for you! I noticed no gloves! Are you not afraid of a sting or two? I got stung a few weeks ago and for an hour or so, I was pain free.
    Have you thought about raising chickens? A little fresh water, some feed and a secure place to sleep and they repay you with fresh eggs. Plus you can sit with them! They are better than watching the telly! And when I have my flare ups, any untrained person can care for them, like my wife or daughter.
    Keep up the pics! And good luck on finding your queen!

    1. Hi John, yep no gloves. I think that the thick leather gloves would just make me clumsy when handling the bars of comb and the bees are very calm anyway.
      We had chickens years ago and would love to keep some again!

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