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Author Topic: New top bar hive - design discoveries and a question  (Read 1535 times)
eri
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« on: April 13, 2009, 08:36:15 AM »

Glad I check the bees every day.

I hived a package Thursday into the new MB Kenyan and left a small gap at the front for an entrance, just wide enough for the bees. Made the top out of a scrap of T1-11, wide enough to barely cover the bars (not by design, happened to be the width of the scrap). We had some rain one night and it's been a bit humid. By Sunday I noticed the gap had closed to the point the bees were struggling to barely get into one tiny space at a corner -- seems the bars had expanded with the moisture. So I readjusted all the bars to provide a gap, and plan to frame the top today to make more of a telescoping cover that will protect the ends of the bars better.

The question: I'm feeding this hive with an inverted jar of syrup inside the back of the hive. When I changed it, I noticed a clump of bees hanging on one side of bars 5-8 and another clump below them on the bottom. AND lots of dead bees -- maybe 50 or more. With a top entrance, are the cadaver bees going to be able to remove the dead or should I expect to be cleaning the bottom occasionally? This situation has me thinking about drilling an entrance hole towards the bottom of the front and closing the top gap, but I don't know what the advantages/disadvantages would be.

Suggestions?



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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Robo
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2009, 09:25:01 AM »

All depends on the size of the hive. If the hive is small enough, they will keep it clean and remove the dead bees.  It will be a struggle for them though.  There comes a point where the hive size is big enough that they will feel the dead bees are far enough away from them and will leave them.

I built my TBHs with slide out bottoms.   Spring usually seems to be the only time I worry about cleaning them out.  The large amount of bees dieing during the winter seems to make a lot of work for them to try and clean out,  especially if they have to drag them out through a top entrance.

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eri
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Location: rural Orange County, central piedmont area, NC


« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 08:13:33 AM »

Thanks, Robo. The slide-out bottom is a good idea, both for cleaning and I imagine also for doing a mite count. Too late this year, but I'm already seeing some modifications I might try if I build another TBH. I think I'll leave well enough alone for now and stick with the top entrance, but note that I've seen two disadvantages so far smiley

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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
slaphead
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 11:42:08 PM »

The §¤«£¿æ makes for an interesting read.  His TBH design has a couple of tweeks and the construction looks pretty easy (important for me  Smiley). The centralized bottom entrance might help mitigate the issue you have raised.  You can download the design and construction instructions for free on line (at §¤«£¿æ dot com I think). 

Sooner or later I'm going to cave in and build a TBH for the joy of it.  The simplicity of the design and maintenance appeals to me.  Do have some concerns as to their viability in damp, cold climates though.

SH
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slaphead
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 11:43:23 PM »

OK, I guess I typed in something I shouldn't have.  My apologies.

SH
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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR, 1933
eri
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Location: rural Orange County, central piedmont area, NC


« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2009, 10:49:30 AM »

I'm checking the top bar hive daily now to feed and have noticed that all the dead bees are gone from the bottom. The bars are set now to accommodate the expansion and contraction with moisture without closing up the entrance, so I'm leaving just the top entrance as is.

I pulled a few bars to check the comb building progress, and the comb is absolutely gorgeous! Now hoping that on next inspection I will see eggs and larvae. Just a few weeks into the TBH experience is much more pleasant than my first few weeks with a lang last year. That said, I'm sure I'll find something else to worry about soon  Wink
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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
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