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:


Bee Rescue- A bee love affair with canales and parapets

I love New Mexico and it's great architecture... and so do bees! There is a style of building here in the Southwest where the houses have flat roofs, with a 2 foot parapet that surrounds the roof. Water escapes through a hole and a spout in the wall called canales. The older homes were made of adobe with no empty space in the walls, but newer homes are wood frame covered in stucco. The parapets don't need any insulation, so there is a huge empty space between the studs in the parapets that bees can get into through the canales and into the walls. Cutting through stucco is a misery to remove the bees. You have to cut through rock hard stucco and through wire mesh. You need diamond plated blades, and Mother Teresa's patience to endure hours of vibration to cut the bees out. 

This morning I started the process of removing bees from a canale in the heights and chose to try and trap the bees. My only concern is that it is getting close to winter (in bee world) and I didn't want to let the bees spend all their resources making their own queen when they should be pumping out honey reserves. I will be closing my hives end of September and it will take until the end of August for the new queen to start laying eggs and building an army of workers. These bees are dead in the water before I even lay the trap. I happened to have a spare queen on hand, so I decided to bait the hive with a comb of honey, a comb of brood and a caged queen. As soon as the I close the entrances to the old hive, the bees will have no choice but to move into the hive I have given them. They will then eat the sugar plug, and release their new queen bee within the next few days. She will then start laying eggs. 

Queen Cage with candy plug

Queen cage pushed into the comb

The trap and the new hive entrance


Feeding the bees sugar water

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