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:


Feeding Top Bar Beehives Honey

About a month ago I fed one of my weak Top Bar bee hives by unceremoniously dumping fresh honeycomb in the back of the beehive that I pulled out of one of my strong beehives. The bees don't just leave the honey in the back of the hive, they move it into honeycomb within the colony, close to the brood. Their stores are placed in a specific pattern to get through the winter.

In cleaning out the honey from the feeding, this is what they created. Some might call it cross combing. My friend Nina calls it free form building. I call it, "still surprised by bees everyday."

Photos by Nina Dubois


State Fair Honey Entries- Blue Ribbon Win!

It took 3 years of entries and I finally ribboned at the NM State Fair for honey. Yahoo! I even ribboned in a few other areas as well.

It wasn't just dumb luck on this one. I put some thought and attention to detail in my entries this year. That's a first for me. I'm more of a "big picture" kind of gal.

Here is where you can find the entry specifics for the 2012 NM State Fair

Photography- My trick to photography is that every time I get anywhere near a beehive, I take like 100,000 photos with my sticky from honey, point and shoot camera. Out of the Gillions of images I take a year, I get a handful of really good ones. For example:
Awesome Photo!!!
What the Rest of the Photos Look Like
Candle Entry- You can not go wrong with silicone molds! They are intricately detailed, hardly need any release agent, and keep the wax a consistent temperature when cooling, which prevents cracking. I get most of mine from Penguin Love. Odd name, since they don't actually sell any penguin molds that I can find.

Honey Entry- This is the 3rd year I have entered honey and the first time I have ever placed. The secret to this honey was it's amazing taste. I harvested this honey in town, close to the Rio Grande river and it was unlike anything I have ever tasted. It crystalized in less than a month and tastes like a spicy kick in the pants! Crystallization is due to the molecular composition of the honey. The more glucose found in a particular honey, the faster it crystallizes. For an in depth chemical based read on honey, "Honey," by Jonathon White. 

Chunk Comb Honey- I followed this youtube tutorial by the Lazy Beekeeper: I heated a pot of water and used a heated sharp knife to make clean cuts in brand new comb that had never stored brood (babies). Each time a bee climbs out of it's cocoon, the cocoon is left behind and can be compared to jagged paper, which and tears when cut. 


Bees + Sound Art= Incredible

3 nights ago I moved 2 of my beehives from the lovely South Valley into the heart of Downtown Albuquerque to the Alvarado Farm. They will be part of an amazing sound/art installation by Nina Dubois.
Alvarado Farm. My hives are in and enclosure in the right top corner
Nina has been interviewing local beekeepers as they work in the beehives and recording the sounds of buzzing and the beekeepers philosophies. Her recordings will be pumped into a hexagonal dome made out of recycled pallets as part of the ISEA 2012 Machine Wilderness Conference. I'm really excited to be part of her endeavor.
Nighttime Beehive Move
2 days ago, she installed 2 different microphones into the brood chamber of one of the hives. One of the microphones records vibration and it sounds like a trancelike hum. The other microphone records sound and it is like a bee concert! The installation is part of the ISEA Conference here in Albuquerque and should be up for 3 months. Hope you come down to look at the hives and listen to their sounds.
The mics
The Beehive Shack