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Author Topic: justgojumpit, or anyone using a Top Bar Hive, need some help  (Read 3188 times)
dsj21
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« on: July 04, 2004, 08:36:25 PM »

I have a TBH and a Langstroth. Although far from being anything but a very green rookie beekeeper, with the help of Howland Blackiston's Bee Keeping For Dummies, I at least have a good routine for inspection and keeping an eye on things with the Langstroth. The TBH is a whole different story.
  After hiving the bees in April, in subsequent inspections, anytime I would try and pick up one of the bars, as I would gently lift it out, the comb would seem extremely fragile. One actually split and fell. So from then on I just opened the bars from the end they aren't working, putting in sugar water, grease patty, and some menthol and looking them over from the observation window.
  Here is my question(s):
#1 -  I know of no books for a TBH like the "Dummy" book for Langstroth. Justgojumpit, or anyone familiar with TBH's, can you give me what you do to maintain. Is it necessary to pull out each bar and examine it weekly. My bars (1- 3/8 inch wide) are made with only the groove in the middle, with a stip of bee's wax melted in to guide the bees. I imagine the way Justgojumpit has his made with the wooden spline would help strengthen. The bees are really doing great in this hive. Both hives are gentle, but this one by far is the least tempermental. There's always twice as much activity at my TBH. They aren't attaching comb to the sides. So I'm not complaining, just want to keep things under control.
#2 - What do you use for a queen excluder. I had some one make me a wooden frame the inside dimensions of the hive. I have an extra broken Langstroth excluder that I was going to cut down to fit inside that frame.
#3 - When honey harvest time comes, how does one go about it. How many bars do you leave for the bees to get through winter. I live in west central Ohio.
  BTW, here are 2 pictures of my TBH.



 It's hard to tell it from the 2nd picture, but I counted 17 bars that they've worked. Like I said, this hive is by far the hardest working of the 2. Part of me leans to that old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But another part of me says I'm being careless and I'm going to have a real mess on my hands. I'm really in the dark and would value any help.
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2004, 09:03:17 PM »

Have you been to Sheffields site?  I don't know anything about tbh's, but looks like he uses them exclusively


http://www.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/wkngtbh.htm
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2004, 10:18:08 AM »

My top bars are only in a honey super, in my langstroth. I haven't had this problem, but the comb is only about 6 inches long. I can imagine how heavy a full frame would be for you, and the stress that would put on the top edge of comb. That might be why some people using the top bar hives have modified theirs with frames and wire. For the most part though, when reading about top bar hives, they talk only about inspecting from the very back.
Here are some variations I've seen.

Bar down the center.


click for larger image



click for larger image


With frame and wire.



I know this information doesn't totally help your current situation. I was wondering too - do you think maybe it's breaking so easy because it's first year comb (not aged and hardened) or that it's just too warm and soft because it's summer?

Beth
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dsj21
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2004, 01:08:05 PM »

golfpsycho - Actually the site you gave me was one of the first I looked at last winter while trying to make up a plan. But the site got lost in the shuffle. Thanks for reminding me. It's one of the best for TBH's.

  Beth - Thanks so much for the pictures. Especially the one of the frame and wire. I will be showing that to the guys who do my carpentry. Perhaps they can fix some of the remaining 15 bars like that soon.
  I never was a natural at reading something(Directions/explanations)and grasping it very well. That problem compounded greatly as I went through my 40's, and now at 50, everything is brain surgery!!! But when I can see a picture, it helps tremendously. So again, thanks for taking the time.
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2005, 10:07:52 AM »

Well,  I got the TBH bug and built one and installed 2 nucs in it this weekend.  Don't have much advice for you on the inspections, but I found this site very informative on a lot of aspects of TBHs, including inspections.  If you haven't checked it out, you might want to.

http://bwrangler.madpage.com/bee/index.html
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2005, 11:32:43 AM »

>#1 - I know of no books for a TBH like the "Dummy" book for Langstroth. Justgojumpit, or anyone familiar with TBH's, can you give me what you do to maintain. Is it necessary to pull out each bar and examine it weekly.

No.

> My bars (1- 3/8 inch wide) are made with only the groove in the middle, with a stip of bee's wax melted in to guide the bees. I imagine the way Justgojumpit has his made with the wooden spline would help strengthen.

Probably doesn't make that much difference.  I like the trianglular comb guide the best, but the main thing is DON'T open the hive when the temps are above 90 F.

>#2 - What do you use for a queen excluder.

I don't use one in my regular hives and I don't use one in the top bar hive, IF you want to, you could cut a groove in the sides and cut a metal queen excluder to fit into the groove.  I wouldn't.

>I had some one make me a wooden frame the inside dimensions of the hive. I have an extra broken Langstroth excluder that I was going to cut down to fit inside that frame.

If it's tight enough it will work, but it doesn't take much for a queen to squeeze through.  1/6" and she's likely to get through.

>#3 - When honey harvest time comes, how does one go about it. How many bars do you leave for the bees to get through winter. I live in west central Ohio.

I try to have about 2/3 or more of the hive full.  That doesn't mean I don't take more honey than that.  I'd harvest several times a year.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Jon McFadden
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2005, 08:47:00 PM »

dsj21
Talk to James D. Satterfield: http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm
I have and he responds with good information. He uses the Tazmanian style TBH which is rectangular.
Another source is Scot McPherson, scot@linuxfromscratch.org. He uses the Kenya style TBH simular to yours. He has some interesting ideas on extracting and standardizing diminsions.
Scot has more information on http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org/
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Jon, N6VC/5
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