I'm looking to at least host a beehive on my land if we end up owning a (suburban) property, and hopefully getting my own hives after the first season or two of learning from a local apiarist club.
I want the full comb, as well as separated honey and wax for myself, for eating, candlemaking and cosmetics. Oh, and mead brewing, as I still have that Viking craving for mead. I am looking at the possibility of expanding to selling wax to local soap and candlemakers, honey "at the gate" and honeycomb to my local restaurants, if my production exceeds my personal needs. There must be some demand at local mid-range and above eateries, as all their cheese boards always include that generous 1/2 tsp or so of honeycomb, but they're always out of comb when I try to order it. *grin*
What I was curious about, as my intended uses emphasize the clean, fresh "virgin" wax, is if anyone here has experience with so-called Kenyan top bar hives? They look like a feed trough, with just one long, horizontal level of bars supporting the structure rather than the stacks of vertical supers in a Langstroth (I'm sure I misspelled that again). I have read suppliers' websites extolling the virtues of top bar hives for beginning backyard beekeepers and those who seek to keep bees for "cosmetic" or "culinary" quality wax, as bees will need to draw new wax comb after every harvest, but I would really love to hear of practical experiences from someone who has given them a try, before I start seriously planning an investment into what can be an expensive initial investment for a new homeowner.
I attached an image I had on my computer, that explains a little of how a top bar hive works.