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Author Topic: New Top Bar Hives  (Read 2818 times)
mtbe
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« on: November 10, 2008, 09:56:22 AM »

I am a newbee and have just finished building 2 Top Bar Hives.

I plan on taking a class this Spring nearby as well.

With new hives, and a different style than most, do I just dump the bees in?

I've read that most really want to have some comb in first, but with the different style and measurements that I have, how would I do that?

Would the bees stay in the hive without there being any comb?
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2008, 10:02:25 AM »

With new hives, and a different style than most, do I just dump the bees in?
That's the normal method.  I recommend watching beemaster's video on package installation and use the "opening up the side of the cage" method rather than the "shake the begebers out of the bees trying to get them out the hole" method often used.

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I've read that most really want to have some comb in first, but with the different style and measurements that I have, how would I do that?
Comb obviously helps, but is not mandatory.  I built my TBHs so that a Langstroth frame could be tied to the bottom of the top bars for introduction and later removal.

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Would the bees stay in the hive without there being any comb?

Sure, especially if the queen is secured in her shipping cage and suspended between your top bars.   The bees will start building comb right away if you feed them.
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mlewis48
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 12:26:08 AM »

Robo,
 On the tbh hive that you mentioned, that you could put a Lang. frame into. Is that a medium or a deep? I want to try a tbh, this coming year and with all of the different designs that I have seen, searching the net, I like to be able to put a frame into it if the need would come to boost the numbers. I have alot of time to come up with whatever creation that I can make. Any input  would help.
                              Thanks,
                              Marc
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 08:03:56 AM »

With new tbh's, do yourself a favor and get a package or wait for a spring swarm. Part of the whole experience is having the bees draw the comb in the cell size they want. And I also want my TBH's to start with absolutely clean and new comb. With the recent research coming out about contaminated foundation, along with the real possibilities of chems in combs as collected by bees, I would favor not introducing standard frames from a hive, unless you know the source, age, and history of the comb.

I would install a package, then consider getting a queen that you want later perhaps when quality is better. It allows you to start early enough to get them built up for the first winter.

Ideally, although you will not have a natural colony from the standpoint that the comb will be located where the bees built them, is to have a source of another TBH beekeeper to buy a comb from. But that's really not possible for many, and frame size also comes into play.

Just get a package, and watch from day one as new comb is built. It's part of the TBH experience.  grin
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 08:15:02 AM »

Robo,
 On the tbh hive that you mentioned, that you could put a Lang. frame into. Is that a medium or a deep?


They where deeps.   


I started each with 2 nucs (one on each end).
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2008, 09:02:01 AM »

Up until this year, I've had very good luck installing packages and direct releasing queens.  I'm not sure that a cage release would have helped (from talking to other beekeepers with the same problems) but many of the packages moved next door.  I don't think they absconded as the hive next door had a lot more bees in it, but a lot of queens seemed very unattractive to the bees. The last time I had them do this when I left the queen in the cage they left the caged queen behind and moved next door.

Anyway, I always do direct release especially in a top bar hive as they often build comb on the cage and the cage usually isn't in line with where I want the comb. In a regular hive with foundation this results in two faces of messed up comb or one extra comb out between two frames.  But with a top bar hive this mistake gets repeated on every bar, so I try to avoid that by no having a queen cage to mess that up.
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Michael Bush
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mlewis48
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2008, 12:34:35 AM »

 Thanks for the replies, that will help me to get er done, when Spring comes, if it ever does. Yes, I was going to start with a package or a swarm, if I am lucky enough to get them like I did last year. I think that I will enjoy the concept of a tbh. Kick back and watch nature do her thing.
                        Thanks,
                        Marc
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Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008, 11:23:05 AM »

Thanks for the replies, that will help me to get er done, when Spring comes, if it ever does. Yes, I was going to start with a package or a swarm, if I am lucky enough to get them like I did last year. I think that I will enjoy the concept of a tbh. Kick back and watch nature do her thing.
                        Thanks,
                        Marc

Marc, oh spring will come.  Can't you feel the fever of us beekeepers happening?  We are just merely getting out of the summer and we are all already getting excited about this next year of beekeeping.  You ain't seen nuthin' yet, wait until after the Winter Solstace, when the days start to become longer, minute by minute, every day.  Have a most wonderful day, great life -- great health.  Cindi
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