Kent Beekeepers Association Bromley Branch

Apiary

Bromley branch apiary club.

Peter Springall-2
Peter Springall demonstrating a 14x12 frame.

All beekeepers and non beekeepers are welcome to visit our branch apiary. Meetings are held every month. Turn up and introduce yourself, there is no obligation to join Bromley beekeepers. See and handle live honey bees and taste real local honey, all visitors are welcome..

Experimental top bar hive
Experimental top bar hive...

Many years ago the Africans discovered that bees kept in a container with sloping walls did not attach the combs to the sides of the hive. Most common was a basket similar in shape to the hive shown here. Rods dipped in molten beeswax were placed along the top at intervals from which the bees attached their combs.

The experimental hive in the picture is a development of the original idea. The round rods have given way to flat top bars which are as wide as normal comb spacing. Thus when fitted close together make a continuous cover which acts as a crown board. On the current version the top bars have long slits in them through which narrow strips of foundation are threaded and secured with small wooden wedges. Slivers of wood attached edgeways to the top bars and brushed with molten beeswax are said to be just as effective in providing starters.

Top Bar Hive holding frame
Peter holding a top bar frame

As the bees tend to keep the brood near the entrance and store honey behind the brood, harvesting is carried out by removing all sealed combs at weekly intervals. The whole of the comb except the top half inch being cut off, crushed and the resultant mash strained. The top bar is then returned to the hive for refilling. The extra effort in producing replacement wax is said to reduce the likelihood of swarming.

A visit to an Italian Museum some months after this hive was commissioned revealed a hive almost identical except that it sloped upwards to the back which is claimed to encourage the bees to spread the brood more evenly. Mark two will follow these lines. As the picture indicates it is a very user friendly hive, the opening of which several times daily to show visitors the queen, appears to cause little or no disturbance to the bees.

Peter Springall (Apiary Manager 1973 - 2011)

Where to find us

This map gives a lot of detail, click on the link.
Colour map where Apiary is located.
The Kent House Road Leisure Gardens are opposite Woodbastwick Road. 91a Kent House Road, Sydenham, Kent, SE26 5LJ.
Kent House road is at the junction Sydenham Road A212. Turn either left or right at the traffic lights at Kent House road. From the Sydenham road end, Woodbastwick road is the second turning on the right. 
We recommend you park the cars in Kent House Road and walk up the alleyway. If you have problems walking we do allow some cars to park next to the club house.