Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Pity the Drones

I always get a kick out of this 2010 MFA work by Christopher Ory. It was a spoof organization pushing for Male Bee Rights. He had the organizations "headquarters" set up next to the Atomic and even had a drone safe house. Here is a taste:

Our Belief is that male bees should:
Have the right to bear arms: Male bees have no stingers.
Have the right to enter the workforce: Only female bees are allowed to participate in pollen collection, honey production, and hive protection. We feel that male bees are as qualified as their female counterparts and would excel in this role if given the opportunity.
Have the right to choose their sexual orientation: Homosexual male bees are not given the choice to opt out of mating flights with the queen.
Have the right to hold the highest position in the hive: There are no drag-queen bees. Hives have always been matriarchal. We feel that the leadership abilities of the male are no less than that of the female, yet drones are not allowed access to royal jelly.
Have the right to amnesty from exile and death after mating: This right is self evident.
Have Beeternity Rights: We feel that since the entire hive is the progeny of a single mating between the queen and a drone that the drone should have equal authority over his children or be given a reasonable percentage of the hives honey supply as a form of alimony.


The house I covet, or at least the artwork

Mmmmmm Lip Balm

Lip balms, it's what I do while waiting for the bee season to start. Here's the recipe I have been tweaking with:

.4 oz cocoa oil
.2 oz beeswax
5-10 drops of essential oil, rose chamomile, peppermint, etc.

Melt the cocoa oil and the beeswax in a double boiler or a yogurt container floating in a pan of boiling water. Remove the mixture and let it cool slightly. Mix your essential oil and pour into your lip balm containers. This recipe makes 3 .15 oz tubes.


February, the best and worst of times

The bee season is starting in New Mexico. I just spotted light white pollen in the worker bee pollen sacs. Is is Mulberry, elm, juniper, early blooming bulbs, sawdust from the construction next door, crystalized Mountain Dew? Ha! I don't know.

I do know that I just lost one of my hives within the last 2 weeks. I've been babying this creature since it got sick last summer. I suspect the workers were exposed to a weed killer sprayed during blooming season.  This is just one of the results of living in a cities close quarters. I'm mourning for this hive. How do I get some closure for you? Maybe I will have to buy a bundle of plastic flowers and put it where your hive has been sitting. Either way, I have the fruits of your labors in a glass jar labeled wildflower honey and I will think of you every time I sample it.

1 pound of honey= a visit to 2 million flowers
It takes 8 drops of nectar to make 1 drop of honey. It takes 11 drops of honey to make 1 drop of wax