Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom & Pleasure Combined

by Wyatt A. Mangum, Ph.D
Stinging Drone Publications.
Bowling Green, Virginia, USA.

© 2012 Wyatt A. Mangum, Ph.D.
424 pages

978-0-9851284-0-1 (paperback)

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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