Now that I have found someone to teach me how to deal with bees and bee hives, I have started reading up on the subject again. I came across a book called 'The barefoot Beekeeper' by PJ Chandler.He is promoting a type of hive that is different from the box hives we see around, called a Top bar hive. One of my main worries about learning beekeeping, was when I heard how heavy the boxes are when they are full of honey....I'm not sure I can lift them by myself now and certainly wont be able to when I am OLD. With a top bar system, apparently, you are only lifting one comb at a time not the whole box. I am seriously thinking of using this system next year when I get some bees of my own and would like to know if anyone else is using this system. Things I like about what I have read so far. No heavy lifting. Not having to store spare boxes, while you are waiting to use them on the hives. You can put a window in the side to use to check the hive without having to open it all the time. The bees make their own comb the way they want to rather than being dictated to by the beekeeper using foundation wax. Letting the bees live in the hive more like they would if they lived wild, ie the queen is not forced to stay in one part.Its supposed to more closely duplicate how bees naturally live. Alot more comb to do interesting things with. to quote....." I wish to propose three basic principles, which form the basis of the 'barefoot' approach to beekeeping: 1.Interference in the natural lives of the bees is kept to a minimum. 2.Nothing is put into the hive that is known to be, or is likely to be harmful either to the bees, to us or to the wider environment and nothing is taken out that the bees cannot afford to lose. (me= think this should be split into two) 3.The bees know what they are doing and our job is to listen to them and provide the optimum conditions for their wellbeing.....(me= gotta love anything with principles,lol). What I dont really like. Not as much honey as 'conventional' hives produce....he doesnt say how much less...hhmmmm. The hive is made up of a long box on legs,with a hinged lid. Instead of frames with precast wax attached to them, there is only wooden 'bars' placed across the top that the bees form their combs on. He has 2 'follower boards' that are place on either side of the bars so the bees are kept within a certain area. This is expanded as more bars are put in place. A mesh floor with a hinged wooden floor for colder weather. Small holes for entrances placed where rodents cant get into them, rather than the long wide landing boards at the front of 'normal' hives. And I window that I can sit in front of for Hours watching them do their thing. Because the comb is freeformed, it wont fit into a centrifugal extractor, so you wind up with comb honey that is just cut up and put into a jar as is, or crushed and strained out. Sooo, what do you think? Want to join me in a new adventure?