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:


Virgin Queen Fights to the DEATH

Last week I checked in on a hive that I split a few weeks ago and discovered these 2 chewed open queen cells... and only one virgin queen. That can only mean that the missing queen was ASSASSINATED by her sister! Actually, that's what is supposed to happen. Usually, the first queen to hatch seeks out any other queen cells and stings her royal sisters to death. There can only be one queen.

Can you spot the killer, I mean the virgin queen? She hasn't started laying eggs yet so her abdomen is very short like a cross between a worker (small female bee) and a drone (hunky-chunky male bee). She has a very orange abdomen and barely any striping.

It takes an average of 15 days from hatching for the queen to go on her nuptual flight, become inseminated by up to 15 drones and then start laying eggs. It's been longer than that for this queen because the weather has been cold. I mean, real cold. The avg last frost is April 18th in Albuquerque, and tonight will freeze on April 30th.
Until the new split hive has gained enough resources, I feed the bees a mixture of 1:1 sugar water that has been boiled to kill anything that might grow in this juicy concoction. The sticks give the bees something to hold onto while sucking on sweet nectar.


  1. it's like the Borgias up in dat hive!!

  2. Jessie, are you putting the jars in the bottom of the TBH? How is it working?

  3. Janna, I do put the jars on the bottom of the TBH. The sticks give the bees a surface to walk on. That being said, sugar water does ferment eventually, so I like to put in clean jars with new sugar water every time I check on the hives- once a week. Also, when nectar starts flowing and the new colony has figured out where the heck they are and where the heck the flowers are, they stop drinking my brew. I just pull out the jars at that point and let mother nature take over!