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Author Topic: top bar hives  (Read 851 times)
bulldog
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« on: June 24, 2010, 09:45:30 PM »

I've never done this before, but i'm planning to start a hive next spring. i'm planning to build my own top bar hive, but one thing that i can find only vague references for is the width of the top bars. i've seen everything from 1 1/4 " to 1 5/8", but the most common i've seen is 1 3/8". can someone with an actual top bar hive help me out here ? 
thanks,
Steve
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 12:41:22 AM »

I have done everything from 1 1/4" to 1 1/2".  I've done a lot of experimenting to see what the bees build on their own, some on purpose and some accidental:

When I made them all 1 1/2" (which was the simplest) they cheated each comb over smaller until they were in the middle of the bars on the brood.  Then they went back to 1 1/2" on the honey storage.  When I made them all 1 1/4" they built the brood fine and cheated on the honey combs until they were in the middle of the bar.  So now I make half of them 1 1/4" and half of them 1 1/2" and I juggle them a bit to keep them in the middle of the comb, but most of the 1 1/4" are in the brood nest and most of the 1 1/2" are in the honey.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#combwidth


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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
indypartridge
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 07:21:51 AM »

Besides Michael's site, here's another favorite with info on top bar hives:
http://beenatural.wordpress.com/top-bar-hives/
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 07:12:02 AM by indypartridge » Logged
bulldog
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010, 11:46:01 PM »

thank you both for your responses. any help with this is greatly appreciated. i am really looking forward to next spring, i just hope i will be ready for the bees. i'm guessing i should use a follower board in the beginning to make the hive smaller and therefore easier to defend against intruders ? but how many bars with a 1 1/4" spacing for the brood and how many 1 1/2" for the honey should i start with ? and what do i do about the remaining space at the back of the hive after the follower board has been removed later in the season. i don't think i'd want the bees to be coming and going from both ends of the hive, or is this ok ? sorry, don't mean to bombard you with questions, but this is all very new to me. once again thank you for your help.
Steve
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luvin honey
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 10:06:17 AM »

Hi bulldog--You might have better luck getting answers in the topbar hive section. I think people in the greetings section tend to say Hi and then forget to check back Smiley

I'm only in my 2nd year, but I'll take a stab at your ?s. I limit my new packages to about 1/3 of my 4-foot topbar hive, using a follower board. It's your choice on whether you would also like to feed. I have, and I cut a notch in my follower board in which to stick a Mason jar feeder inside the hive, behind the bee area. Some bees get in back, but they don't cause any problems. I think my bars are somewhere around 1 3/8-1 1/2" wide. I would suggest going to Michael Bush's website for a LOT more info on topbar beekeeping (just Google him).

Good luck!
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The pedigree of honey
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 12:43:18 PM »

I have half and half with a few spares...
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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
Brett90
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2010, 10:46:08 AM »

Besides Michael's site, here's another favorite with info on top bar hives:


very useful, thank you.
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