"Good Beekeeping and Good Fellowship"

Since 1948

"Exploring the wonderful world of beekeeping together"

If you are interested in getting into beekeeping, the first thing you should do is talk to a beekeeper! They will be happy to answer your questions.      Learn about hive products, bee biology, region specific knowledge, and more!. We offer support for all levels. There is no better advice than to join. Our next meeting will be in Lawrence, KS, on Monday, September 21, 2015. Here's the August 2015 newsletter for meeting info. and the link re the IPM talk from the August 17th meeting.

KHPA State Fair Volunteers September 2015
Come and volunteer at the booth, sell honey, educate the public for the Kansas Honey Producers. Signing up is easy -details here! The fair is September 11 thru 20!

NEKBA 2015 Bee Funday & Membership Info

Thank you to all the 315+ attendees for making it such a fun event. Members join for the benefits!  Sign up for membership and magazines on our membership page. See you at the July picnic.

NEKBA Honey Extractor Rental Program
Need an extractor? You can rent the club's radial & motorized honey extractor for a nominal $30 charge. It's available to current and active association members. The extractor is for 6 1/4" (medium) frames only. Please read the Rules & Info.  Please review Reservation List as-of 28 August for openings, To make a reservation, please send an inquiry via the Contact Us or email. Thanks! We'll get back to you asap.

Lose your colony over the winter?
Read our tips on what to do with your dead-out.
We recognize the importance of education and providing an opportunity for our membership and the regional beekeeping community. 

Proposed National Definition of Honey
The new Farm Bill, Food Safety, and Honey. Read it here what the definition of honey article that's being talked about!

Kansas Honey Producers Association 
2 full days of beekeeping related lectures! KHPA (state affiliation) details for our fall meeting, that will be October 30 and 31, 2015 (Friday, Saturday) in McPherson, KS. Meeting. Details are in the July 2015 Buzzer.

NEKBA Bee Fun Day 2015

Save the Date! Saturday June 6th 2015! 
Marla Spivak will be our  keynote speaker! Here is Marla's TED talk. Read an article about Marla from November 2014. Did you know that Marla is a distinguished Kansas alumna? See you in Lawrence, KS! What is our NEKBA BeeFun Day?

From 2014's featured guest speaker & author, professor, biologist, Dr. Tom Seeley,:
Let the bees show you that with the right organization, democratic groups can be remarkably intelligent, even smarter than the smartest individuals in them."Tom Seeley is professor of biology aCornell University(Ithaca, NY) and a passionate beekeeper.

NEKBA Newsletter 
Sign-up to get the monthly newsletter sent to you via email. Help us to save resources: paper, printing, stamps, cost, folding! Get it in color and quickly! Sign up at the monthly meeting or use the Contact Us to get on the list

(Last updated 07/20/2015)

Greetings from the Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers' Association! We hope you find your visit enjoyable and educational.
For more information or questions about the club, please contact any of our club officers or use the Contact Us page and we'll get back to you!

Our purpose: to promote knowledge in modern beekeeping and improve marketing conditions.

Top Bar Hive Beekeeping?
Thinking about getting into Top-Bar Hive (TBH) beekeeping for our region in Northeastern Kansas? Look at our information further below on this page. 

NEKBA Meetings

We are always happy to have new members join us for good beekeeping and good fellowship. Our meetings are regular and  monthly.
See our meetings page.

NEKBA Financial Information

We raised $1,108.00 from December's annual meeting and auction. 100% of the auction proceeds are dedicated to the Scholarship Fund.  
Thank you! With the generous funding from the association supporters, we are able to sponsor a teenager and their family an opportunity to experience and learn beekeeping in Kansas.
Treasurer's Reports
2014 has been another great year for accomplishing the goals of the association. We could not do it without membership support and generosity of many volunteers. Thank you!
December 2014 & YTD

  December 2013 & YTD


NEKBA Reading Interest

It's fall with winter weather, obviously.

Are you and the bees ready for winter?

Here's a great article from Kelley's on "Putting your Bees to Bed for Winter".

A very good read for the season.

NEKBA Presentations
See some of our past NEKBA presentations at the bottom of our FUNDAY page. Topics include Biology, Honey Production, Diseases, and much more. Have a look! (click on the FUNDAY link and go to the bottom).

Association Documents Our 

Constitution and By-Laws.
One of our committee projects for 2015 will be to review and revise our association Constitution and By-laws.  Things change, and our guidelines should change as well to keep up with the times. Stay tuned for other association legacy and archive documents to be accessible here in the future.

Healthy Tips for Healthy Living Direct from the Bees

  • The Bees are going to do what they do. Sometimes you have to let nature take its course You're just here on earth to offer a little help.
  • Think before you act. Slow, calm movements keep the bees charmed.
  • Bees sense your fear -- even more than dogs do!  Send bees love. When faced with the choice of fear or love, always choose love.
  • To everything there is a season. The bees rest in winter, renew in the spring, and work all summer when nectar is easily available.
  • A hive is a marvelous miracle of nature -- all creatures work together for a common purpose. Cooperation is far more important than being right or getting credit.

-- from Mary Janes Farm Magazine February/March 2009

Top-Bar Hive (TBH) Beekeeping:

     While the interest in top-bar hive (Tanzanian, Kenyan, Warré) beekeeping seems to be growing, the NEKBA Board is NOT recommending this style of keeping bees to new beekeepers in our area for several reasons:      

1) TB Hive management style requires higher skills and confidence
2) Not enough long-time beekeepers with TBH experience to mentor or support
3) Geography difficulty for TBH winter survival
4) 'Natural' bee movement is vertical
5) Limited winter honey storage
6) Honey harvesting comb destruction & replacement
7) Limited or restricted hive movement
8) Higher ROI with Langstroth hives (8 or 10-frame)

This beekeeping management style required for successful beekeeping with top-bar hives demands a higher level of skill and confidence from new beekeepers.  We simply do not have enough long-time beekeepers with TBH experience to successfully mentor or give recommendations of support. The Langstroth hive has been around for over 150 years and is considered 'standard' equipment.
A few additional insights are outlined below:

Our geography can prove difficult for winter survival. The elongated horizontal configuration of the Tanzanian and Kenyan styled hives are not appropriate for our severe winters.  During the cold,  it is 'natural' for the bees to move up (vertically)-- not horizontally over on the combs.   Without active management (moving frames) during the cold season, horizontal TBH beekeepers are at greater risk of losing their colonies to the cold and to starvation.  Most years, we do not have sufficient enough warm days in January/February for the colony to graduate to combs full of stored honey when critically needed. 

The horizontal TBH's only allow for about 20-25 pounds of honey.  A TBH beekeeper will need to feed their bees each fall to give them a surviving chance in over-wintering. The Langstroth design allows for enough honey stores and space for natural, organic beekeeping, although, sometimes, we still have to feed our bees due to abnormal weather conditions such as heat and drought in the pre-ceeding season(s). The Warré hive needs 3 boxes to sustain the colony through our winters here in NE Kansas.  4 would be even better for the bees to have enough to over-winter without having to be fed.

Honey processing in TBH beekeeping is done by cutting the combs, then crushing and straining, which isn't the modern way to harvest honey.

Anytime honey is harvested, the colony must build new comb in the next season. This takes additional resources (honey) in the spring.  The comb bars of the TBH cannot be centrifuged to extract honey and then be re-used.   Crushing honey comb as a means of harvesting liquid honey pre-dates the invention of the honey extractor, which was invented in the 1860's.  

Top-bar hives cannot easily be moved.  The combs do not have the strength necessary to support them during any kind of travel. The combs are more susceptible to breakage and collapse on the road.  If a beekeeper is small in stature or has a bad back or can't lift heavy things, then perhaps the 8-frame Langstroth hive would be a better consideration.  The 8-frame hive is more of a 'garden-style' and is less bulky in size and weight than the 10-frame hive.

The Langstroth hive-style beekeeping is best for honey production. The association wants to promote an 'active' style of beekeeping and encourages 'active' management for honey production as well as wax, pollen, propolis, pollination and other uses of honey bee products.  

Beekeepers want hives that can be easily manipulated, yet we also want to give our bees the best chance of growth,  productivity, and year-to-year survival.

We want all beekeepers to have success and enjoyment and sustainability. We also believe our members should get a return on their investment. Too, we want proven practicality.

If you have been keeping TBH's  for a while in our geographical area, AND have been successful, please contact us.  We'd love to consider you for a presentation at one of our functions.  We'd like to hear from you! Please contact us.


From our April 2012 Bee Buzzer,  here is Dr. Chip Taylor's response to an inquiry from a beekeeper in Atchison, KS about top-bar hive beekeeping. 

Dr. Chip Taylor replies:  

"I've worked with top bar in the tropics - marginal even there. Certainly not a way to produce honey or effectively manage bees. These hives are only slightly better than the wooden butterfly hibernation houses. In the latter case, the wood should be reused to make bat houses. Carol: Top-bar hives are the rage but are inappropriate for use at this latitude. Bees do not overwinter well in hives with this design. Standard beekeeping equipment is designed to allow bees to store honey and move up the way they do in natural nests.

It sounds like you don't inspect the bees to see what is actually happening inside the nest. This is a must. You have to open the hive and look at the bees. Further, you have to be able to diagnose what is happening in the colony. There are books and locals who can help with this. If your bees swarmed - shouldn't have but a more common problem with top-bar hives - your bees may have died due to the failure to properly requeen themselves. Or, like so many colonies in this area, they may simply have gone into the winter with too few stores. 

My suggestion is that you get together with the folks from the NE Kansas Beekeepers Association. This group has many programs for beginners and you may find someone who can mentor you so that you can learn the basics of bee management.  Frankly, I'd retire the top-bar hive and buy standard equipment." 

The Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers' Association is a supporter of Dr. Taylor's pet project "Monarch Watch" program.

Read about the Fall update on the 2014 Monarch migration.  (FB)

We hope that you will take these factors into consideration when deciding what style of hive you choose to manage. It is our sincere desire to promote successful beekeeping for our geographical area and for the members of our community.

                              (Last updated 7/31/2015)

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