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Author Topic: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction  (Read 2561 times)

Offline TwoHoneys

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I built my first KTBH according to the plans on Michael Bush's website (http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm). I love it because it's so basic. To me, simple and functional is elegant. But it's narrower than I want it to be, and I wonder if anyone has dimensions for a shorter, wider top-bar hive that will accept medium-depth Langstroth frames. I'd love to be able to interchange the frames from hives all over the yard.

Next question: I cut the top bars using a hand-held circular saw, and they certainly don't fit perfectly together. There are small gaps between them. Will this be a problem?

Next question: It seems to me that bees will be able to move beyond the follower boards (the follower boards I cut don't fit the sides perfectly either!). I've seen follower boards with netting attached, and the netting seems to fill the gap. Is this advised?

Liz



"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline caticind

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 10:51:52 AM »
Hi Liz,

A TBH shaped like a square rather than a trapezoid so it can take Lang frames....is called a Long Hive.

Michael Bush has some info on these on his page (he calls them horizontal hives), and I have been involved in the nittygritty of building them for several weeks and would be happy to answer any questions you have via PM.

As far as the gaps go - it depends where and how big.  Bees can get through gaps around 1/4 inch, sometimes smaller.  If you don't have a cover over the top bars, holes there might lead to water leakage into the hive when it rains.  Or bees may use the space as an alternate entrance.  Too many alternate entrances will make the hive more vulnerable to robbing and pest invasions if they can't guard them all.  If you are trying to close off a large empty space with the follower board, then bee-sized gaps make that futile. 
The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 10:56:18 AM »
Use a one by eight or a one by ten for the bottom.  Add two or four inches (depending on which you use) to the 15" sides and you have a hive that takes 17" or 19" bars.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Tommyt

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 01:41:44 PM »
Quote
Next question: It seems to me that bees will be able to move beyond the follower boards (the follower boards I cut don't fit the sides perfectly either!). I've seen follower boards with netting attached, and the netting seems to fill the gap. Is this advised?

 Get some Paint stir sticks and tack/Glue too the Follower to make it a better Fit

Tom
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Abraham Lincoln

Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 07:46:19 PM »
Very helpful replies here, friends. Thanks. I can't wait to build my next (wider) KTBH. And, caticind, I know there's a long hive in my future...expect questions about that at this time next near!

Liz
"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline caticind

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2010, 11:08:43 AM »
I'm really enjoying mine, and by next year will have some rough data as to how well the long hive overwinters and builds up in spring.
The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest

Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 09:40:37 AM »
Use a one by eight or a one by ten for the bottom.  Add two or four inches (depending on which you use) to the 15" sides and you have a hive that takes 17" or 19" bars.

Michael...I'm preparing to build my next KTBH...one that will accommodate an ENTIRE medium-depth frame. The dimensions you suggested here will fit the 17" or 19" bars, but I don't see how this new hive will fit the entire medium-depth Langstroth frame.

When I sketch this out, it seems to me that I should just go ahead and build a long horizontal hive, yes?

What are the advantages of horizontal hives vs KTBH or vice versa?

Liz
"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 11:10:41 AM »
If you want to accommodate a Langstroth frame, then build a long medium hive.  In other words just a langstroth box but longer.  That would be 19 7/8" wide by 48" long or so.  Then you put just top bars in it and you have a Tansanian top bar hive.  I have several.  The only mods I made is I made the rabbet 3/4" instead of 5/8" deep.  And it comes out perfect for a one by eight with no ripping as the space beyond the 6 5/8" for the box is equivalent to the bottom board.  I have used coroplast (the political signs) for bottoms and I've also used Luan.  I've even made them screened and put coroplast under that, but I probably won't bother with that again.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Robo

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2011, 02:01:31 PM »
Liz,

Here are a couple TBHs that I built that fit Langstroth deeps.  There are no magical numbers for TBH,  just adjust them to fit your needs and the bees will adapt.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2011, 06:11:25 PM »
Thanks for the specifics, Michael. Tomorrow I'll build my first TTBH!

And, Robo, those are gorgeous! Trying to get those legs even always throws me for a loop, though, so I'm leaving them off of mine.

I got a new table saw for Christmas, and I'm itching to make kick some sawdust into these 45-degree days.

Liz
"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Questions about wider, shorter TBHs and less-than perfect construction
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2011, 11:11:30 PM »
>Next question: I cut the top bars using a hand-held circular saw, and they certainly don't fit perfectly together. There are small gaps between them. Will this be a problem?

Not for the bees.  They will just propolize them together.

>Next question: It seems to me that bees will be able to move beyond the follower boards (the follower boards I cut don't fit the sides perfectly either!). I've seen follower boards with netting attached, and the netting seems to fill the gap. Is this advised?

I haven't used one on the KTBH.  I would just make sure there are bars in the other half, and if they move in they can have something to build on that you won't mind.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen