it is true that bees in a tbh have to be monitored more closely for room so they don't get crowded and swarm.
In a lang you can just add on supers pretty much until the honey season is over but in a tbh you need to pull out bars of honey to make room in the hive if it starts to get crowded, or if the brood nest is congested you can just slip an empty bar into the middle to open it up.
All bees want to swarm anyway no matter what hive they are in, you just have to pay a little more attention to the space in a topbar hive.
Its really not hard at all and your bees are located close enough to your house and you check your girls fairly often I don't think you would have a problem with it.
You stay on top of things as it is.
Knowing how interested you are in the workings of a hive and how you lalso ike to observe your girls I think you would enjoy having a tbh.
I like that if you need room and they have enough honey you just pull out a bar and cut off the comb and stick the bar back in.
Comb honey for desert after dinner!
I was told to leave one comb of honey for every comb that the bees cover and you should be good. I figure I will take some but leave them most of it this year and see how they do.
I can always take it in the spring when they don't need it anymore.
I have read that some tbh keepers are leaving all the honey in the hive until spring and then doing their harvest, opposite of when we do it in the langs.
thank you for your kind words. I do wish you were able to keep your bees at your house.
You have alot of insight into this method of beekeeping and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
Beekeeping is good of the soul isn't it?
its worth a try. You don't invest alot of money in building these hives so if its not for you then you won't feel like you wasted money on it.
Its a different way of doing something for us but there are people in other countries who have only ever done this method of beekeeping and are quite successful.
I feel more involved in the hives that are living in the tbh as I am able to observe more.
As far as winters, people have been losing record numbers of hives over the past couple of winters in langs so my feeling is that it doesn't really matter what type of hive the bees are in.
There is no guarantee that the same colony that dies out in a tbh would have lived if it were in a lang.
I don't think tbh keeping is a cult or fad, its just that you don't hear about it from all angles like you do with langs.
Langs are a standardized hive that can be mass produced and marketed.
You need alot of different components to make up one complete hive and all of those components will eventually need to be replaced or increased.
You will need to order some more frames,a few more supers etc.
Suppliers can count on you coming back again and again to order more parts.
If they were to produce a topbar hive you would be done with them forever.
There aren't any parts to a tbh, its the body and the bars.
The one company that I have seen offering topbar hives are charging a ridiculous $400.00 for them.
Why? Because its their only chance to make the money off of that hive.
I think thats the reason there is no promotion of these hives.
Its not that the hives don't function well but suppliers could not justify what they would have to charge in order to make it worth their while to produce this type of hive.
To address your question of an experienced beek (I don't say old beek only because my feeling is that just because they have been doing it along time doesn't necessarily make them all that experienced with other methods, alot of these oldtime beekeepers are just that old time and they don't switch over to tbh because they would never try anything else anyway so I would not use them to measure anything)
however,there is a commercial beekeeper that keeps thousands of topbar hives in Florida and New York.
He claims that he has seen amazing results in the health and productivity of all his hives since making the switch over from langs to topbar hives and having them on natural comb.
That makes alot of sense to me.I am actually picking up some of his bees this week to add to my yard.
He has some intersting things to say about all aspects of beekeeping.
Here is a link if you want to check out what he has to say.http://anarchyapiaries.org/hivetools/node/32
In Europe they produce and use 3 or 4 types of hives and they all work.
I think there is a place for topbar hives in our beekeeping world.