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Author Topic: New top bar beek in Houston, Texas  (Read 1051 times)
Torqued
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« on: April 12, 2008, 10:22:09 PM »

Howdy.

Have been lurking on the beekeeping forums for the past 4 months or so. I had been hoping to build my own TBH, but I have been sick with several bugs that my 2.5 year old daughter has been bringing home from daycare plus I was out of commission for 2 whole weekends due to a kidney stone that took 8.5 days to pass. shocked So, I broke down and bought a TBH from BackYardHive.com.

We spent a lot of time, $, and energy in getting our small garden plot ready as well as several fruit trees. We mainly wanted the bees for pollination and a little honey and beeswax. We also live in the middle of the city and figured a small TBH would fit in best in our surroundings. We have a fence full of jasmine that has just started blooming and one of our neighbors has some ligustrum that's getting ready to go bonkers.

I picked up my 3 lbs of bees (All Stars) from B.Weaver this morning. 3 lbs of bees is a LOT of bees to someone that's never seen more than those that come to check out the trees/flowers in the back yard. shocked The package sat on the end of the kitchen counter until early this evening. My wife and daughter thought that was pretty cool. They sat there for about 20 minutes just watching the bees and listening to 'em buzz. They really thought it was neat to see all of the little "bee tongues" when I gave 'em a spritz of 1:1 syrup.

I made up a couple lbs of fondant and my wife had fun "painting" the beeswax onto the top bars. My daughter got in on the action by helping me take the "waxed" top bars back out to the hive. I pushed a couple of very small pieces of fondant through the hardware cloth on the bee package and the bees seemed to approve of it quite highly!  grin

It was great weather for installing the bees. 70 degrees with a very slight breeze. Put on my "bee jacket w/ veil" that I ordered from Dadant as well as some gloves. I had already pre-placed some of my tools at the hive (spray bottle, bee brush, hive tool, etc) Got the queen cage and the majority of the bees in there and the top bars and hive top back on without squashing too many of 'em and I didn't get stung! (well.. at least while installing the bees..  tongue). My wife and daughter watched from halfway across the yard. Even my wife said "Wow! That was a LOT of bees you dumped in there!" I let the bees settle down for about 30 minutes and took a peek through the window on the side of the hive - quite a few bees were already chowing down on the fondant!

I was back around in front of the garage putting up tools from putting together a sturdier top for the hive and a bee must've been crawling around on my front along my waistband... I bent over and *zap* - right on the belly!  Undecided It wasn't too bad - I think the stinger actually came out when I pulled my shirt away from my skin as I didn't find it after scraping the area.

Went out to check 'em after it got dark and nearly all of the bees were in the hive.

Will check 'em in 2-3 days to be sure the queen is out.
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annette
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 11:13:31 PM »

You sound so well organized and prepared. Let me know how you like that hive from Backyardhive.com I always wanted to treat myself to one of those hives and I am almost ready to make the jump to top bar beekeeping. I was going to order one of those hives next year if everything is going well for me.

Sounds like you did not like the original top that came with the hive.

Let me know how it all goes with the hive and how you are managing it.

Also welcome to the forum here. I am going into my third year with the bees and have only 2 hives (that's all I want for now). It has truly been a challenge and I had many things go wrong, but so far have conquered each situation and the bees are doing great right now. This is a great place to learn and help others learn. I just love it when there is a problem and you can post it and get so many replies almost instantly.
Well take care and stay in touch.

Sincerely
Annette from Placerville California
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Torqued
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 09:56:37 AM »

annette,

Thanks for the welcome.  Smiley

I've been planning for and reading about beekeeping and top bar hives since before Christmas. LOTS of thought and planning went into it beforehand. I wanted to be sure I didn't screw something up and end up wearing the bees on my head looking like this:  afro

 Wink

The backyardhive.com TBH is a bit spendy, but it is (IMHO) very nice and appears to be well made. I really like the window as I was able to give a quick peek after installation and could see the bees feeding on the fondant.

As for the roof, the plywood used is a little on the thin side, and the backyardhive.com site recommends adding something a little more weather resistant to the top. I couldn't get my hands on any corrugated metal roofing material in time, so I just added some .5 inch solid pine to the top.
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008, 10:02:46 AM »

Torqued.  First off, welcome to our forum!!!  Isn't it great to have a place to tell your story about your hiving your bees?  When we have experiences that we want to share, it is wonderful to have a great audience that listens and cares.  That be us.  You have prepared well for your bees, excellent.  You will have many questions, always ask your questions, you will get answers here, and never think that a question will be dumb, not deserving an answer.  We all too were once beginning beekeepers, it takes years and years to understand the bees, and then they throw a fling into things and we start all over, hee, hee.  So nice your family is interested too.  Beautiful and wonderful day in this great life we all share.  Cindi
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taipantoo
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 06:49:49 AM »

Metal roofing could get pretty noisy in the rain.
I think you did better with the wood.

Do you know how wide your top bars are?
In other words, what will the spacing be between your starter strips?

If you get a chance, during an inspection, could you measure the cell size?
I'm curious as to how long it will take for them to regress and how much they actually do regress/

Thanks
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DennisB
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2008, 10:11:48 AM »

It has been a week now. How are they doing in your TBH? I build one this winter as well and hope to do a split this weekend from another hive to populate it. Keep us posted on your progress. Thanks

DennisB
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