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Author Topic: It's Official - Top bar long hives are my favorite.  (Read 1198 times)
HomeSteadDreamer
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« on: May 14, 2014, 12:20:54 PM »

Last year I started with a package and a top bar hive.  As we had splits and swarm captures, I moved to get some in Langstroths so that I could eventually sell Nucs to get rid of the splits.  I have one Lang that over wintered and I just put a second box on a few weeks ago and a Lang that I started with a spring swarm.

When going into my hives I have decided I really like the top bar long hive better.  I'll know more at the end of the season but just the ease of no real lifting and being able to target one area or frame of my hive without disrupting or cutting the hive in half really is working for me.  Last weekend even though I wanted to go into the Lang and check on the progress of building out the bottom of the box, I didn't cause I didn't want to lift off the top box.  I wont' get a good comparison on honey production this year but I'm ok with less honey since I get it just for me and my family.  Hopefully the hives will produce enough for that no matter what.
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Joe D
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 12:42:29 PM »

You can make a long hive, it's a TBH with Lang. frames.  The thing I have found that isn't easy was if you have to move a TBH.  Other than that I like mine also.




Joe
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HomeSteadDreamer
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 02:10:01 PM »

Yea moving is harder.  I also like the solid top bar because when I open the hive I don't have 10 frames mad at me just the one frame that I'm currently looking at.

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fruitveggirl
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2014, 02:29:58 PM »

Glad you posted this! I've been considering getting 2 Langs, but I haven't been able to make the jump yet. I currently have 2 TBHs, which I love, love, love!
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Modenacart
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 09:48:14 AM »

I hate mine. I have tons of problems with cross comb and the bees not reattaching the comb when I cut it to straitened the comb.  Huge mess.
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chux
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 10:06:34 AM »

modenacart, what are you using for comb guides? Did you make sure the first combs were straight? If one is crooked, all that follow will be, too. I find have had the best success with straight comb using a wedge (picture a three sided strip of wood glued and nailed in with the point of the triangle pointing down) for a starter guide, instead of popsicle sticks.
 
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fruitveggirl
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 12:05:45 PM »

Modenacart -- I agree about the wedge-shaped bars. That's what I have, and they build beautiful comb on it. Also, if I see some comb starting off the guide, I just push it into line (I don't cut and try to reattach). New comb is very soft and moldable.
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Modenacart
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 12:49:51 PM »

I use a strip of wood. I will have to try a wedge.  I have thought about cutting strips of foundation and attaching them to the bars as a starter strip.
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HomeSteadDreamer
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 10:19:02 PM »

I also use wedge strips too.    I don't really have any trouble with cross comb.  Sometime I get wavy comb.  I push it back or I rotate to the back and get rid of it.

If I was stronger and didn't mind having lots of bees flying around then Lang might be ok.

I really like no lifting to peek in my hive.
I really like not having the whole hive get mad when I peek in.
I also have a window in my long hive so I can check it.
My bottom oil trays have more surface area which seems like it might make the difference between the lang people who say they don't work and they seem to work great for me.

I don't think there is anything wrong with langs I just really enjoy my top bars.  Hopefully I can get some honey from them this year.
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2014, 12:52:28 AM »

I've always liked the 'idea' of a TBH, but It's all what you like and what works best for you. a TBH here would surely freeze in the winter (Michigan can get -20) and I'm 6-1 and over 200 lbs so have np lifting a 70-100lb honey box really. and you can put viewing windows in your langstroth hive as easily as you can the TBH too really. though no one I know of actually does it. I've thought about it, though. with my langstroths, I seldom have to disturb the actual brood boxes though. I leave the bottom two boxes of my langstroths alone, and let them deal with them as they will, unless I am doing something specific and keep any honey they store there as well.

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HomeSteadDreamer
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 08:45:57 PM »

Ok a few weeks ago I added a second deep and moved some frames up.  This left like 5 empty frames down bottom.  I left is alone for a while but since this hive coming out of winter seemed to lack vigor until I added some capped brood I wanted to check on progress (note it seemed to be increasing in vigor when I added the second deep).  Taking off that top box and how upset they were.  Ripping their house in half.  I didn't like it.  They didn't like it.  It was way different than poking around my TBH. 

I'm going to keep this lang and the other one I've started mainly to sell nuke's in formats others want to get rid of bees that I keep having to make from swarm control splits but....  I don't think I'll ever switch to all traditional langs.

Next I want a horizontal lang with small boards on top.
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Modenacart
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 10:32:36 PM »

I don't have problems with my langs getting upset. My tbh is way more invasive and way more bees get killed during inspection.
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Judd
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2014, 04:07:12 AM »

Hello there, a newbie here.
I have kept bees for awhile but lately my back has made me start to look at TBH. Interesting to read some of your thoughts here. I joined this forum to look and read other folks's ideas on the subject. Appreciate everyone's pros and cons. So I guess before asking a bunch of repetitive questions, I'll lurk a bit more and read what's been posted before. Nice to bee a part.
Judd
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2014, 03:16:24 AM »

sounds like you have the right idea to me. no shame in going with a TBH I don't think, especially if you are concerned about the weight, although people do not 'have' to lift whole full boxes off either....I mean you can remove them frame by frame too, removed the bees from it and put it in a different box or replace with empty frames. frame by frame doesn't weigh much.... course doing a production amount like that would be insane.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2014, 11:15:10 AM »

Most of my hives are Langs, but I do have 2 top bars (might be splitting one pretty soon for a total of three).  I must admit that weights aside, I do appreciate the aspect that I don't have to do a lot of bending when I inspect my TBHs.  The bending is almost as hard on my back as the lifting.  Feels good to stand up straight and stay that way!
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triple7sss
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 08:26:31 PM »

I started out top bar and went that way for 3 years.  Had some success over-wintering, enjoyed it for the most part but just today bought a pair of medium Langstroth boxes and frames.  I'm kind of tired of everything being a friggin' disaster whenever the girls build comb out of place.  You try and correct the smallest thing and honey is running everywhere with bees drowning and chunks of comb falling off.

I have a really healthy top-bar hive and I'm going to try and split a group off into the Langstroth.  I think top-bar is more "natural" and for me it was a great way to start.  Better for backyards and hell, I kept a hive in a 10x20 area that was the backyard of a condo I was living in and it worked out great.  Just ready to move on to something....what...a little more sturdy?  We'll see.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2014, 10:23:07 PM »

>a TBH here would surely freeze in the winter (Michigan can get -20)

That's a typical winter here and I winter top bar hives every winter...
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Michael Bush
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Carol
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2014, 12:29:19 PM »

Better.To.Bee.Than. Not.... I have windows in all but one deep on my langs....even the supers. I can take a look whenever I want. Have a window in my TBH too.  Really like the TBH...just ended up with some langs and went with them. Considering a long hive that I can use the frames in. All 3 are natural cells....oh...had a swarm move into my squirrel box...guess it's a bee box now....and are they ever packing in the pollen. I love my bees.
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