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:


Hive Pulley System

Good Morning
My fireman husband and I had a successful hive move yesterday morning. I mention the fireman part because we had to use some of his extensive training in figuring out how to get a 150 pound beehive off the roof of a 2 story apartment building. Kind of like rescuing a person from a burning building!

Anyway, I was very nervous about this move and envisioned one of us pitching off the side of the building or a crumpled up beehive at the base of stairwell. It didn't happen that way at all.

What did happen, was a very successful hive move using 2 sticks, a carabiner, a long length of rope in a stuff sack and oodles and oodles of ratchet straps.

Screened entrance
The night before the move, I cautiously climbed up the side of the apartment building late at night to seal up all the entrances using duct tape and screen. I used screen on the entrance so the bees don't suffocate overnight. By the way, the worst thing about moving hives is the late night shenanigans. I'm surprised I didn't end up with a cop wondering what the heck I was doing, veiled and on the roof of a apt building at 10 at night.

We came back the next morning and made a sling for the hive using oodles and oodles of ratchet straps. The problem with the style of hive I use is that the top bars have potential to slip back and forth during moves to let bees escape so we could only attach straps lengthwise.

We attached a rope to the hive and strung it back around a metal pipe sticking out of the top of the building as a safety and to help ease the weight.

We then made a pulley by clamping a long board between the parapets of the building and resting a board over this so the hive wouldn't drag down the side of the building, but would be free floating. My husband sat on the back end of the extended arm and worked the rope, while I send a prayer to the bee gods and pushed the hive over the edge of the building.
We pushed the hive underneath the clamped board

Don't Fall!
Anyway, surprisingly, I don't have pictures of the hive in the air, because we were busy keeping the hive from scraping, falling, twisting, etc! It was a successful move and I heart my husband's sweet fireman skills! The hive is now at Moore Family Farms in the South Valley and surrounded by alfalfa fields. Much better than stinky apartment roof living.
Sugar water at the farm until they find the nectar sources


  1. Ha, that was an adventure. I'm surprised I didn't try and talk you into coming along Whispering seeds!