It turns out that keeping bees in a top bar hive is really different than in a Langstroth hive. Really different. Lots easier, actually. The folks at BackYardHive suggest an observation window in your hive so that you can see what's going on without having to get into the hive. They actually suggest staying out of the hive altogether for the first year, which is right up my alley. Not sure I'd do that, though, now that I know what I'm looking for. One of the things that I found most useful is how to tell if your hive's queen is dead. They tell you what to look for and what you can do about it. They tell you what to do for your bees in the autumn and how to over winter the bees. And they tell you that the following spring is when you can finally harvest a comb of honey and how to choose which comb to harvest. There's also a section on how to capture a swarm, if you should be so lucky as to stumble on one. By the way, Back Yard Hive has top bar hives for sale, among other things, and if you're concerned about not getting enough honey from a TBH compared to a Langstroth hive, you should look at their Golden Mean hive. It works just like a regular TBH but its proportions are such that you'll get more honey from it. As in, a single comb of honey from a Golden Mean TBH averages seven pounds. Seven pounds for one comb!
This DVD was way better than a book because a picture is worth a thousand words and you will just 'get it' if you watch it. If you're considering keeping bees, I really recommend a top bar hive, and if you're going to go with a top bar hive, I really recommend this DVD. And if you're not and just want to watch something interesting and have twenty-five bucks to blow, this DVD fills that bill as well. I'm really glad I bought it.
I bet this year's bees will be glad I did, too.