Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping:
A. Mangum, Ph.D
Stinging Drone Publications.
Bowling Green, Virginia, USA.
2012 Wyatt A. Mangum, Ph.D.
About the Author --
Dr. Mangum has kept bees for over forty years beginning
at the age of ten. During high school, he had 125 frame hives making
honey by the ton and selling it locally. His switch to top-bar hives is
the subject of Chapter 2. Remarkably though, he has had up to 200
top-bar hives for over 25 years using them not only for honey
production, but for new applications such as a mobile crop pollination
business and for queen bee and package bee production. Since the 1970ís,
Dr. Mangum has collected and studied antique beekeeping equipment,
gaining a unique understanding of beekeeping history in the United
States. He uses this historical perspective to avoid problems in top-bar
hive beekeeping and as a consultant in developing countries. From a
global perspective, Dr. Mangum has served as a volunteer beekeeping
consultant to help impoverished beekeepers and advise commercial
beekeepers with hundreds of hives to run more efficient operations and
on the best ways to manufacture beekeeping equipment (for example comb
foundation and bee smokers). He traveled in northern India working with
wall-hive beekeepers who keep Apis cerana honey bees (the Eastern
honey bee, the original host of varroa and the sister species to our
Western honey bee, Apis mellifera). In the thick walls of the
beekeepersí houses (without electricity) are special cavities for the
bees (without top bars or frames) accessed from a windowless dark room.
Hiking among the villages in the steep hilly terrain, often with no road
access, Dr. Mangum quickly learned how to inspect wall hives
(fixed-comb) in the dark with only a penlight, a pocketknife, and a
smoldering cord for a bee smoker. Rarely do western bee scientists
experience this form of beekeeping. In the same area, he routinely
inspected apiaries with smallsized A. cerana frame hives on
rooftops (for theft and animal protection) with bees displaying
defensive behavior similar in appearance but scaled down compared to
Africanized honey bees. In southern India, Dr. Mangum worked with
beekeepers keeping A. cerana (a gentle strain in small frame
hives) and other beekeepers with Italian bees in standard hives. Some of
these beekeepers were migratory with thousands of Italian bee colonies.
While in India he also learned how to handle the Dwarf honey bee (A.
florea) and the Giant honey bee (A. dorsata). In Bangladesh,
Dr. Mangum advised beekeepers using Italian bees (small and large
operations) and those keeping A. cerana, showing versatility
among different apicultural systems. While traveling in India and
Bangladesh, he gained considerable experience with the Tropilaelaps
mite, an Asian parasitic mite with a life cycle similar to varroa.
(The concern is that Tropilaelaps mites will spread to other
parts of the world.)
Wyatt A. Mangum, Ph.D
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