Hello and welcome to our blog!

This is a blog about what is going on in the honeybee world,
especially as it relates to Boulder, CO and
Backyard Hive (www.backyardhive.com).

Corwin Bell has been passionately working with bees for over 17 years.
He practices a holistic approach in caring for bees that focuses on enhancing
the bee’s immune system through attentive listening, meditative communing,
right timing and sustainable methods. In his courses he reveals a connection
between bees and humankind as symbolic of a broader interconnection
between humans and the natural world.

Corwin promotes a “backyard” hive method and philosophy in which he
encourages and inspires interested and willing individuals to connect with
bees through an altruistic Guardianship that goes beyond hobbyist beekeeping.
Bell travels widely giving lectures and workshops to raise awareness of
honeybee genetic biodiversity and to promote alternatives to conventional
beekeeping practices. Corwin has just finished a new full length top bar
“how to” DVD:
Alternative Beekeeping Using the Top Bar Hive and
The Bee Guardian Methods

Megan, Corwin and Claire working on hive


9 responses to “About

  1. Dear Backyard Hives – My adventure in bees didn’t start as I hoped it would and I’m looking for a little help and direction.

    In an effort to become a part of saving the bees I decided to try a top bar hive that I built from a combination of your plans and Phil Chandler’s. You can see what I built at my blog site: http://hoganshives.blogspot.com/

    I picked up two packs of Italian bees on Sunday from NCBA and took them home to install in my hives. I installed the first hive Sunday afternoon before the weather hit. I followed a process that I had read about and seen work which was to spray the package down with sugar water, remove the feeder can and queen, replace the cork with a candy, in this case a marshmallow given to me at the pickup, and then proceed to dump the bees in.

    Everything went fine and the bees were in the hive for two days. I also put a feeder inside the hive. Twenty four hours later I checked on them and they seemed to be thriving. Another twenty four hours and they were gone. My other hive did the same thing. I don’t think it’s the hives, I must have made another fatal mistake in the installation process.

    Did I put the marshmallow in the queen cage too early? Should I have left her in there with the cork for a few days then put the marshmallow in? My guess is that she never established herself with the colony and may have just left or they may have killed her. I have no idea. none the less, I’m out $150 worth of bees and I’ll chalk it up as a learning experience.

    Now, I’m looking for more bees. Are there any packages available that you are aware of? Is a swarm my next option or a nuc? I have what I think is two beautiful hives and a strong desire to become a bee gaurdian.

    Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.



    Dan Hogan

    • Hi Dan,

      What a bummer about your two packages! I think part of the problem may have been that the bees weren’t too excited about being sprayed with sugar water since that made them sticky and wet just as they were figuring out what what going on and getting their bearings in a totally new place. The marshmallow could also have been a factor. Their bodies are designed to work with the raw materials of nature and marshmallows are such an unnatural substance that the bees probably didn’t know what to do with it or how to process it. When we have installed packages, we attach the queen cage to one of the top bars about 1/4 of the way toward the entrance of the hive and then after three days or so while working with our hands in the hive so that she wont fly away, we let the queen out of the cage and directly into the hive. Usually there is a little cluster of bees around her cage as another sign that she has been accepted as the new queen.

      Getting a swarm definitely would be the way to go! Swarms are great because having overwintered in Colorado, they are more in touch with the local climate and since by swarming they have had the freedom to follow their natural instinct, these bees generally seem more vibrant and full of life too.

      If you are interested in getting a swarm, we have a swarm hotline number you can call to get on the list to for a swarm this year. The Swarm Hotline number is: 303-475-8665.

      Also, it might be an idea to take an intro class so that you are more familiar with bees and the approach to working with them as a bee guardian in a natural and chemical free way. We are actually offering a beginning beekeeping class this Saturday, May 4th from 10- 4 taught by Corwin Bell that includes the basics of getting started with a new hive.

      For more info or to sign up for the class visit: http://www.backyardhive.com/Natural_Beekeeping_Classes/

      Even though it’s been a bumpy start, keep at it! Bees are wonderful creatures to work with and your hives look awesome!! (I love the legs they are resting on.)


      • Charles


        I took a year off from bee guardianship. My last hive froze. My total bad. I have always use swarms in the past and recommend this as well. This year I bought a package from Growing Gardens. It was pricey but it is one of their major fundraisers and I did not mind too much. The package I bought almost left. They had swarmed on my fence but decided at night fall to accept their new home. I think packages have a really hard time finding their bearings and I believe that mine decided to stay because of the very close by flowering trees. Good luck with your adventure the payoff is much greater than the honey.


  2. Hi Claire- you wouldn’t happen to be the same Claire I met on Luanne’s beach (Kootenay lake) last week?

    I would love to keep in touch – I hope your presentations went well.

    • Hi (sorry I forgot your names).

      Yes, it is me, the Claire from Luanne’s beach! The presentations were great and proved to be quite an interesting experience!

      That would be great to keep in touch!

  3. Hi Claire,

    Are you, Karen, and Corwin, planning a bee meeting for next month? I can’t wait to get out bee wrangling 🙂


    • Hi Renn,

      Sorry I’m just replying now. I know there was talk of doing a bee meeting a week or two ago but it never happened. I think definitely in the next month sometime! Yes, bee season it just starting again… it’s exciting!! There have already been a few swarms in the last week or so. Will keep you updated about swarms and hopefully have a bee meeting really soon :~).


  4. Mary Thompson

    Beekeeping is not permitted in my little town of 7,000 so I am going to start a backyard bee campaign to get the by-law changed. I am researching to find urban centers in Canada that allow backyard bees.

    Do you know of any bee guardians who live in the vicinity of Lethbridge, Alberta (SW corner of Alberta in the warmest area of the province – zone 3B)? I would like to get to know them and do hanging out behaviors to learn about bee guardianship. Thanks for this good blog and the website.
    Mary T.

  5. badmsm

    Just ordered my Golden Mean Hive plans & accessories. Can’t wait to start with this. We are really excited. Thank you for this site and offering people a way to help the bees.

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