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Author Topic: Dimensions for TBH  (Read 5884 times)
Umbriel971
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« on: November 18, 2008, 08:08:07 PM »

Hello all.  I wonder if someone can suggest good dimensions for a TTBH.  I will need it to be able to receive standard frames from a Nuc.  I built a KTBH and found out today that it will be next to impossible for me to find someone that ships packages of bees instead of Nucs.


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Matt
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 09:18:25 PM »

If you go to www.beesource.com and click on the Plans you can find plans for Langstroth equipment.  You just need to take the width (the 16 1/4" dimension) and make it as long as you want the hive.  You can make a few other adjustments if you like, but that's the basic idea.  I tend to make the rabbet another 1/8" deep (3/4" total) and allow for the depth of the bottom board (another 3/4"). So a deep should be 9 5/8" plus 3/4" which is 10 1/8".  I like them about four feet long.  Three Langstroth boxes is 48 3/4" which allows you to use standard migratory covers, top feeders etc.
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Michael Bush
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Ken
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 06:38:56 AM »

When you make a long hive,say it's four or five feet,,do you guys make some sort of inner cover or just place a piece of plywood on top?
Is any one using medium depth for the hive or does it have to be deep in this configuration?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008, 08:52:17 PM »

>When you make a long hive,say it's four or five feet,,do you guys make some sort of inner cover or just place a piece of plywood on top?

If I'm making them the size of standard boxes then I put migratory covers on them, otherwise I just cut a piece of plywood.
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Michael Bush
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Paraplegic Racehorse
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 01:42:15 PM »

Just a note while you're still in design... Alaska experimenters with TBH have found that winter survival rates are better with deeper/taller combs. Your winter temps in PA are not going to be significantly warmer than the temps in my part of Alaska so this is probably something to concern yourself with. Also, if you're buying nucs instead of packages, you will probably be getting deep (9 1/8) frames in the nuc. Unless you're going to transfer only the bees - in which case, get a package instead - you probably want to build your hive deep enough to accommodate those frames, anyway.
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 09:58:24 PM »

I was thinking along the line of medium depth to be able to interchange equipment with my other hives.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008, 01:29:26 AM »

I'm also in the process of building a TTBH. Sorry, but I don't think I'm following the depth measurement math correctly. So ultimately, how much space is best between the very bottom of the frame and the floor? (I'm looking to be able to install 9 1/8" Lanstroth type frames too.)

Mathmatically challeged, Steve
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2008, 06:38:43 AM »

Just add 3/4" to the standard box and you will have included a bottom board space.  For a medium just use a one by eight and don't rip it.  For a deep use 9 5/8" plus 3/4" = 10 3/8".
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2008, 08:51:53 AM »

Thank you Michael. Now that you've explained it, I see where I went wrong. I was basing my calculations on the Beesource plans for the Langstroth 10-Frame. On the diagram it's calling for the bottom board to be 3/8" below the box instead of the 3/4" you're recommending. Now it all adds up.

I must be getting the bug! For a guy that's usually in bed by 10:00pm, I finally called it quits at 2:00am reading up on all this information. But the payoff was I found an earlier post of yours Michael, where you noted we need between 1/4" and 7/8" total bottom space. That helped a lot.

Thanks, Steve
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2008, 07:30:16 PM »

3/8" or 3/4" either will do.  Just no less than 3/8" and no more than 3/4". Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2008, 10:50:12 PM »

Thanks again Michael,

Perfect, but let me run my plan by you. This seems too easy so I'm concerned I've missed something. Since I have plenty of 1/2" plywood and 2x10's from a previous building project, thought I'd use these materials up building my TTBH. Cut plywood for the bottom to 21 3/8" by about 4 feet long. Glue & screw a 2x10 "box" onto this plywood. Inside dimensions of the box are then 9 1/4" deep, 18 3/8" wide, and about 4 feet long. If I DON'T rabbet the upper sidewalls and just rest the Langstroth deep frame top boards on the 2x10 side walls, it leaves 8 11/16" of the frame hanging in the box. That will give me a bottom space of about 9/16" (9 1/4" of the 2x10 minus 8 11/16" frame). Then finish the project by cutting another piece of plywood for a top with the front top board pushed back 3/8" to give it a top entrance and ventilation. What am I missing?

Now, I'm planning on cutting and using my own typical TBH top boards, but I think having the flexibility to use standard Langstroth deep frames from nucs or splitting other deep Langstroth type hives is easier to incorporate now as I'm building the TTBH as opposed to adapting it after it's built.

Steve
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2008, 06:03:25 AM »

>Cut plywood for the bottom to 21 3/8" by about 4 feet long.

With 1 1/2" sides, this would be correct.  With 3/4" wood it would be 19 7/8".

> Glue & screw a 2x10 "box" onto this plywood.

If you do glue it (and I wouldn't for the bottom) remember it will be a bathtub if you don't put some drain holes in it.  Make the drain holes 1/8".

> Inside dimensions of the box are then 9 1/4" deep, 18 3/8" wide, and about 4 feet long. If I DON'T rabbet the upper sidewalls and just rest the Langstroth deep frame top boards on the 2x10 side walls, it leaves 8 11/16" of the frame hanging in the box. That will give me a bottom space of about 9/16" (9 1/4" of the 2x10 minus 8 11/16" frame). Then finish the project by cutting another piece of plywood for a top with the front top board pushed back 3/8" to give it a top entrance and ventilation. What am I missing?

If you are using Hoffman frames, cut two sides to block the gaps between the frames.  They should be 1 1/8" wide, by 3/4" tall by four feet long.  Probably put one at the back as well and leave out the one in the front or add the entrance to the cover to prop that up enough to let them out.

>Now, I'm planning on cutting and using my own typical TBH top boards, but I think having the flexibility to use standard Langstroth deep frames from nucs or splitting other deep Langstroth type hives is easier to incorporate now as I'm building the TTBH as opposed to adapting it after it's built.

Assuming you are not using very many hoffman frames, you could just make a small block for each end for when you put a frame in, I suppose, but I'd rather just have it covered so I could mix them anyway I see fit.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2008, 08:36:16 AM »

Michael,

>If you do glue it (and I wouldn't for the bottom) remember it will be a bathtub if you don't put some drain holes in it.  Make the drain holes 1/8".

Sounds easy enough. Maybe I'll refrain from the glue. Then I can always play with fabricating a screened type bottom for the warmer weather and change back to the solid board in the winter.


>Assuming you are not using very many hoffman frames, you could just make a small block for each end for when you put a frame in, I suppose, but I'd rather just have it covered so I could mix them anyway I see fit.

Just when I think I'm getting a handle on things...I haven't run across the term "Hoffman" frame. But that's OK, I think I get the point. I'm assuming you want a level surface across the tops of all your installed top bars or frames, so there aren't any gaps between the top bar tops and the cover?

Thanks again, Steve

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2008, 06:29:19 PM »

>Just when I think I'm getting a handle on things...I haven't run across the term "Hoffman" frame.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesterms.htm#h

> But that's OK, I think I get the point. I'm assuming you want a level surface across the tops of all your installed top bars or frames, so there aren't any gaps between the top bar tops and the cover?

The top bars on a standard Hoffman frame are not the full width so there are gaps where they rest on top of a side rail.
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Michael Bush
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atemp2
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2008, 09:09:04 PM »

Suggestion: Google the phrase below (can't provide URL yet):

warre_hive_plans_english.pdf

instead of trying to adapt existing and arguably unsuitable wide/flat box & frame dimensions.

Other forums have discussed the observation that always-warm African-style hTBHs don't do so well in temperate climates. vTBHs like the Warré were optimized with cold winters in mind.

If one is stuck on frames, there are framed, Warré-like subextended vertical hives that can be used. The Delon and Alpine hives come to mind, but I've only ever seen examples, not much in the way of formal plans.
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2008, 09:16:48 PM »

Thanks Michael, now I understand.

Got the box and top bars all cut today. Temporarily assembled the box with some clamps to confirm the Langstroth frames fit too. So far so good. Plywood top and bottom, fashion some legs, a little paint and it's done.

Still plenty more to learn, so I won't get bored!

Steve
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2008, 10:24:27 PM »

atemp2,

>instead of trying to adapt existing and arguably unsuitable wide/flat box & frame dimensions.
Other forums have discussed the observation that always-warm African-style hTBHs don't do so well in temperate climates. vTBHs like the Warré were optimized with cold winters in mind.

Must be these bees I'm after are really hardy, country bees! Somehow, they've done remarkably well in what is basically a Tanzanian TBH. They have been living between the floor joists (2x10's about 18" on center) between the 1st (plaster and lath) and second (1" tongue and groove) floor of an abandoned farm house for at least 5 years. We found a bee mailing container postmarked 1952. Wonder if it's the same lineage? During our winters, it's not uncommon to have several weeks of single digit Fahrenheit temperatures, with swings well below zero. I don't want to mess with their success. I'm just trying to duplicate what they have because the building is falling down around them! I've seriously considered just cutting the whole colony out intact and moving it to a safer location, but I'm afraid it will all fall apart if I try. Fortunately, there are folks with a lot of experience in the "next best thing" I can provide, and they are willing to share that information. It's great!

I did look up that reference you indicated. I think these bees would suffer from culture shock if I built one of those (LOL).

Thanks, Steve

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2008, 06:08:06 AM »

>Other forums have discussed the observation that always-warm African-style hTBHs don't do so well in temperate climates. vTBHs like the Warré were optimized with cold winters in mind.

I find bees in horizontal configurations in floor joists all the time.  I have them here in top bar hives and know people who have them in colder places like Casper Wyoming.  I've only met one person who blamed losing a top bar hive on having one in a cold climate and I know many who have them in cold climates.  All the people I hear saying they are not suitable are merely repeating what others have said on the subject who have not had TBHs in cold climates either.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#winter
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Michael Bush
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JayC
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2009, 06:20:27 AM »

I've read (I think it was Michael Bush) that you shouldn't make TTBH's or long hives longer than 2 boxes long if they're deeps, or 3 boxes if they're mediums.  In Langstroth hives, I've read that either two deeps or three mediums are the minimum amount of space you want to leave for brood/honey stores to overwinter.  I don't know how Nebraska and Cleveland winters compare, but I'd rather leave them more honey rather than feed them, as you suggest.  Does this mean I need to finagle my harvesting in the fall to leave them with an entirely full hive or risk starvation?
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