John Corner Kenya Top Bar Hive

Discussion in 'Top Bar & other Alternative Hives' started by ApisBees, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    I had the privilege to have known John Corner, to hear him speak, watch his slide show presentations, to work and talk with him, He was the head of the Provincial Apiary Branch Department of B.C.

    He also did so extension work in 3rd world country's. In the early 1980's he took on a project of introducing managed beekeeping in Kenya as up till then most honey was retrieved by honey hunting and robbing the colonies. the task wasn't as simple as taking plans for a Langstroth hive and saying build this hive.

    European and North American hive sit on the ground This set up of a hives would be to easy for predator to attack. The equipment needed to make all the various pieces of the Langstroth hive was not readily available to beekeepers in the small villages, or the power to run the equipment. The beekeepers didn't have the equipment to extract the frames of honey or the finances to perches it. The top bar hive was selected as the hive that would best allow for managed beekeeping in the area.

    The top bar hive could he hung from trees keeping the predators from getting to the hives. It allowed for hive manipulation for easy access for removing honey and moving brood to make more colonies. The design of the top bar hive allowed for the construction of the hive with only needing to cross cut the boards to length, a task that could be done easily with a hand saw. The honey harvested with the wax, the wax being more valuable than the honey to the local villagers. They also took designs for veils, protective clothing, and the construction of smokers and hive tools. Once they had the tools to keep bees and become beekeepers rather than honey robbers. The new beekeepers had to be taught how to manage the colonies for honey production, for swarm prevention and to make increases in the number of colonies by splitting and having colonies raise new queens.

    John had a picture of a news clipping of 2 nuns being caught and arrested while flying in from Europe, for trying to smuggle 2 packages of bees into the country under their dress. The Kenya agriculture were concerned that the European bees would compromise the native African bees ability to survive in the harsh environment and predators.

    While head of the Provincial Apiary Branch he put together a book on building Langstroth hives. It has been updated a little and published as PDF on the web but it is close to the same as was originally published.
    Here is a link to it.
    John Corner receiving an award from Mark Winston for contributions to CAPA Canadian Association of Professional Agriculturalists
    John Cornner.jpg
    John Corner presenting an award to Grace Fuhr In reconition of the years she looked after the honey division at the Armstrong Fair.

    There were a few places this thread could have been placed but seen as it is about the history of the development and use of the TBH I am putting it here.
    Sorry about another short post.