Phil Chandler “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

I took up beekeeping in 2000 after becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of modern agriculture on wild populations of pollinators. I started with WBC hives, but quickly became interested in more natural beekeeping systems, designing and building a number of variations of the top bar hive and experimenting with low-interference protocols. I worked at Buckfast Abbey for a year to broaden my experience and took courses to improve my lab skills. In 2007 I published The Barefoot Beekeeper, which critiqued ‘modern’ beekeeping and suggested alternatives. Since then, I have published another three books, mostly concerned with what I now call “balanced beekeeping”. My current project is to help to re-establish thriving populations of our native black bees. Web site –

Lecture Title: “Balanced Beekeeping: Top Bars, Eco Floors and Black Bees”

I will talk about my experiences with top bar hives on the fringes of Dartmoor, including such innovations as the eco-floor and the periscope entrance, and how they may be used to benefit our native black bees.

With your help, I will attempt to address the following questions:

  • How can we create the most beneficial conditions for our bees, without having to climb trees?
  • What are the advantages of top bar hives for bees and beekeeper?
  • What is the point of balance between the bees’ needs and ours, as beekeepers?
  • Do native and near native bees best suit balanced beekeeping?
  • Should we be “re-wilding” our black bees? If so, how should we go about it?