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Author Topic: KTBH vs Warre brood theories which is true?  (Read 1856 times)
doug494
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« on: October 09, 2010, 08:33:36 PM »

OK, I've been reading on the two types and have found two different theories.

KTBH - The brood will be towards the entrance, and remain there, because that is were you start the hive before moving the follower board for expansion.  Honey is harvested away from the entrance.

Warre - The queen likes to lay in new comb so when you add boxes to the bottom the brood will move down, leaving honey in the top boxes for harvest.

These two claims seem to contradict each other.  So I'd like to know from those who have experience with either hive which is more correct.  (I realize neither will be exactly true since this is nature)
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Buz Green
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 10:47:56 PM »

There are two different "theories" because they are two different things. A KTBH is a horizontal cavity and a Warre is a vertical cavity. The bees make the most efficient use of the cavity they are in and build accordingly.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 10:49:28 PM »

or it could be that both are true.

in a vertical environment, like a Warre, which is supposed to mimic bee life in a vertical tree, the bees start building comb at the top of the void and the queen lays eggs in the comb as it is drawn, initially, near the top.  As the comb expands downward in said vertical environment, the queen will begin to move downward to lay eggs and the bees will be gin to backfill the upper cells with honey and pollen.

in a horizontal environment, such as a ktbh, which is supposed to mimic a horizontal log or floorboard/ceiling type of nest, the bees will begin to draw comb somewhat near the entrance, not always immediately near it, and the queen will lay in those cells.  As they build comb to fill the void between the started comb and the entrance the queen will move toward that comb to lay new eggs and the bees will begin to backfill the previous comb with honey, typically keeping the queen confined to the first 8 or 10 or however many combs lay in between the entrance and the furthest comb she can lay eggs in that aren't backfilled..  As the bees look for places to put nectar and pollen, the first combs are full of brood and eggs and so they build comb beyond the original comb, now the backfilled honey comb, to store more honey.

At least, that's how  I've seen it work in my tbh's and Warres.  plus the cutouts I've done.

but, that could just be me.

enjoy the bees.

Big Bear

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 03:58:08 AM »

I think you are missing the point.  The point is that the bees and the queen do not scatter brood all over.  They have a consolidated nest.  The only time I've seen brood a long ways from the brood nest is when they have no drone comb in the brood nest and it's the time of year for drones, but they can tear down new soft wax (as in supers) to rebuild as drone, so they build some drone and take the queen there to lay.  In a natural comb hive, this is not an issue.

Bees try to  store their honey overhead when they are in a vertical hive this works as explained by bigbearomaha.  They start at the top and work down unless beekeepers interfere by adding supers at the top, but even then they want to store honey overhead so they tend to fill the supers with honey.

In a horizontal hive they may TEND to have the brood nest by the entrance, but that is certainly not a sure thing.   What IS a sure thing is that there won't be brood scattered all over in either kind of hive.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#excluder
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#excluders
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesulbn.htm
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Michael Bush
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doug494
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 09:23:20 AM »

So, in KTPH, when you add empty bars to the brood nest, does the nest just get bigger or does the queen stop laying brood in the brood bars you have spread apart, allowing the workers to store honey?  At some point they would have to or a hive would have brood everywhere.

Basically if I have a KTPH and continually add bars in the middle of the brood to do regression, does the brood chamber ever stop growing?  Is there a "normal" or maximum number of bars the will lay brood in?

If I understand what you are saying correctly the comb is a single unit.  If the bees start a brood comb, that comb tends to be all brood.  This reduces the chance of having a comb of brood in the bottom half and honey stored in the top half.  Direction is secondary to making a comb all one thing.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 10:51:00 AM »

in a ktbh,  I start the colony with 5 to 15 top bars, depending on the size of the swarm or cutout being placed in it.  I anticipate that all of those will be the brood area.  after the colony is established,  I add blank bars in between fully drawn combs at the back of the hive, near the follower board.  This allows them to add more brood comb or stores comb depending on their needs.

They may go back later in the year and backfill some of the comb that was initially brood comb and they will often still have a layer of pollen and honey at the top of the brood combs as well to accommodate feeding the brood.

Big Bear
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 05:56:48 AM »

>So, in KTPH, when you add empty bars to the brood nest, does the nest just get bigger or does the queen stop laying brood in the brood bars you have spread apart, allowing the workers to store honey?

During swarm season they keep expanding the nest.  When they decide buildup is over they start storing comb  on the edges and shrink the brood nest.

>  At some point they would have to or a hive would have brood everywhere.

Of course.

>Basically if I have a KTPH and continually add bars in the middle of the brood to do regression, does the brood chamber ever stop growing? 

Of course.  As soon as the buildup is over and the flow is on, they will start storing honey instead of expanding the population.

>Is there a "normal" or maximum number of bars the will lay brood in?

Every hive has it's own agenda...

>If I understand what you are saying correctly the comb is a single unit.  If the bees start a brood comb, that comb tends to be all brood. 

Well, the bottom part, yes.  They almost always have some honey at the top and perhaps some on the edges, and when it gets backfilled they will reduce the brood space.

>This reduces the chance of having a comb of brood in the bottom half and honey stored in the top half.  Direction is secondary to making a comb all one thing.

Almost every comb will have honey stored at the top.  The honey combs will have it all the way down...
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Michael Bush
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David McLeod
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2010, 03:42:47 PM »

I will not make any claims as to knowing anything other than what I have observed (from hundreds of cutouts) and even that can be subjective to my own powers of observation and interpetations (which can be biased by preconcieved notions).
So here is my personal observations. Quit thinking of the brood nest as individual combs (a trait influenced I'm sure by the langstroth moveable frame and the human tendency to to break things into comprehendable units). Think of the brood nest as the core that encompasses several combs but not nessesarily the entire expanse of these combs. Okay now that we have forgotten the individual combs the brood nest is a more or less spherical (in my own observations being more or less a slightly flattened sphere when you consider the usual overhead honey but this may vary per time of year and or expansion or contraction). This sphere is the heart of the hive where the queen will be located and where she lays her eggs. This sphere will encompass all eggs and hatching and developing brood so it also houses the young nurse bees and the queens constant attendents and all bees tasked with feeding and keeping the brood warm. A ball of bees if you will where all brood rearing activities occur. Now this ball is mobile within the hive based upon the need of brood rearing at any given season. If more bees are needed (pre swarm, spring/fall build up, establishment, etc.) this ball of bees will be inflating across the width and breath of the combs and the inverse is true during those times when less bees are required to the point of reaching it's smallest size during the winter days of zero brood rearing (called the cluster at that point). At this time the bees are focused on nothing more than maintaining warmth and to do that they feed on the stored honey overhead and will move up until hitting the top, if the hive is horizontal one hope they step sideways into honey on adjacent combs and so forth until hitting the rear/side. They usually figure it all out on their own.
Now the question remains, where is this sphere located? The general layout of a hive whether vertical or horizontal is for the brood chamber (sphere) to be located at the bottom with food stores located above and to the sides. In vertical hives this is a no brainer but in horizontal it can be at either end but will always be at the bottom portion of the combs it is found on. Now take into consideration that once bees occupy a cavity the first item on the agenda is to build comb immediately and to fill it with brood and bees like most creatures will not travel to the far reaches of their shelter to begin construction will generally construct that first series of combs immediately adjacent to the entry so one could see the brood nest immediately at the entrance in a true horizontal hive. Now in nature there really is nothing that is truely horizontal or vertical so if there is any degree of slope to the cavity look to the bottom to find the brood nest.
To sum it up, brood nest to the bottom unless there is no bottom (true horizontal) then usually at the point of first construction though without a bottom it may shift side to side with time but always the bottom of the comb it is on. Bottom trumps entrance everytime in my observation.
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