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Author Topic: early beginner level - info required  (Read 3126 times)
Algonam
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« on: January 13, 2011, 07:10:34 PM »

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed these days and can't seem to find the info I need. I am a beginner at this and am still trying to remember all of the terminology. The people I know who have hives are very far from me so I am not able to visit and ask questions very often....and then I don't remember everything!! Nor do they have top bar hives.
I am looking for a resource for the early beginner. I have so many stupid questions...
here are a few maybe some of you wouldn't mind answering:

Are the top bars just sitting freely on top of the main box (hive)? If so, are they jammed together so there are no gaps?
Every second bar is for what? and what is the other for?
Once I build a hive(the wood part only) and Spring is here, what will I need to buy to get 1 hive going? (Queen bee + ??)
If I build 4 hives will I have to buy 4 queen bees?
Once I have success at this, how will I extract the honey?
I am in Ottawa, Canada and it seems the local beekeeping clubs are in hibernation....


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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 07:21:10 PM »

I'm not a top bar keeper but I know a bit...others will help too.

Top bars just rest freely and are movable.
Every bar is for comb and should be spaced as such (1-1/4"  1-1/2")
You will need more than just a queen (and the attendants that come with her). Most order packages for TBH
You will need 4 packages for 4 hives.
extraction is normally done using "crush and strain" although I've been toying with an extractable frame/.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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Algonam
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 09:08:11 PM »

Believe it or not.....I just took out a childrens book from our local small town library and read it from cover to cover in 10 minutes. It has helped alot! None of it referred to top bar hives though nor does the "Encylopedia of beekeeping" which was the only other beekeeping book on hand.
Now more questions:
Extracting from a top bar hive-crush and strain because there is no frame for stability?
When i remove a bar full of honey and comb from a top bar hive, how rigid is the comb? Could it snap?
How is the crushing and straining done?
Then, is it as simple as that? Is the honey that is strained, ready for human consumption?
How much cleaning up of that bar would I then do before replacing it into the hive again?
What about wax? Will it be possible to retieve wax for candle making also?
How do you exclude the queen from laying eggs in the main chamber? (queen excluder?)
Sorry about all the questions but I don't have anyone else to ask.


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hardwood
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 09:24:20 PM »

That's ok...we're all here for the same reason...we love bees! Everyone is a beginner at some point and we love to answer questions grin

Crush and strain is really your only option right now...yes the combs won't make it through a conventional extractor.
The comb gets more rigid with age and dependent upon the temp at the time...always handle fresh comb (top bar comb especially) carefully.
Do a search here for crush and strain. Tillie has a great blog and describes it in full. Basically you just mash up the honeycomb and strain the stuff. You could also just treat it as cut comb and enjoy it, wax and all.
Once you're done harvesting just put the frames (we call them "stickies")  or bars back on the hive for the bees to clean.
The wax you get can be rinsed and melted for use. Don't expect a lot of it at first, just keep saving it up.
TBHs don't use excluders. Keep the brood bars together with enough honey/pollen for the bees and harvest the outer frames of just honey.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Algonam
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2011, 10:19:12 PM »

WOW !!
Tillie's blog is great! I just watched her video on crush and strain and it looks easy. I'll just have to get the strainer equipment.
As for volume, I understand the TBH don't produce as much. If this is the case, maybe I'll make more hives. ( We ate a 25lb bucket of honey ourselves in the past 12 months)
Although I don't know how much the queens kit costs. Maybe someone can give me an idea...

Thanks for the advice so far!

Can I expect only 1 extraction per summer. Our summer is really only warm between June and August. April, snow has melted, May, things are coming to life, September, the leaves are falling off again.

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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2011, 11:44:15 PM »

>Are the top bars just sitting freely on top of the main box (hive)?
These are:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/KTBH4.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/KTBHOpen.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/KTBHDrawing.jpg
These are not:
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TTBHOpen.JPG

> If so, are they jammed together so there are no gaps?

Correct.

>Every second bar is for what? and what is the other for?

Every second bar is generally for the same thing as the previous bar.  On one end they are probably brood and on the other probably honey, but that is up to the bees.

>Once I build a hive(the wood part only) and Spring is here, what will I need to buy to get 1 hive going? (Queen bee + ??)

A package is your best bet.  They come with a queen and a few pounds of bees.

>If I build 4 hives will I have to buy 4 queen bees?

You will have to buy four packages each with a queen bee.

>Once I have success at this, how will I extract the honey?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm
Comb honey is nice.  Crush and strain will work.

>Extracting from a top bar hive-crush and strain because there is no frame for stability?

I can be.  Some people extract, but that's a lot more expense than a hobbiest with four hives needs.  You don't have to have a top bar hive for it to be impractical to be buying an extractor.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#harvest

>When i remove a bar full of honey and comb from a top bar hive, how rigid is the comb?

When it is brand new it is very soft.  As it ages it gets tougher but more brittle as well.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#management

>Could it snap?

If you turn a comb full of honey sideways it's almost guaranteed to snap.

>How is the crushing and straining done?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#crushandstrain

>Then, is it as simple as that? Is the honey that is strained, ready for human consumption?

Yes.

>How much cleaning up of that bar would I then do before replacing it into the hive again?

None.  The bees will clean it up.  Just leave a row of cells at the top (or more) and they will build from that.

>What about wax? Will it be possible to retieve wax for candle making also?

Of course.

>How do you exclude the queen from laying eggs in the main chamber? (queen excluder?)

The same way most beekeepers do, since I'd say at least half of the ones I know don't use excluders... http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#excluder
Sorry about all the questions but I don't have anyone else to ask.

Here are the FAQs for top bar hives:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#faqs

and a page on them:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
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Michael Bush
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2011, 12:29:39 AM »

Yeah, what MB said grin

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 01:12:37 AM »

You've come to a good place, there are a number of various experts in different degrees of disciplines of beekeeping right here on this site. I'm probably going to rub a few the wrong way by saying (it is my opinion that) the best way to get your learning going is to prioritize - get yourself situated so you're ready to start without doing yourself or the bees any harm and get to it when spring comes. It seems easier to me to digest new knowledge in pieces.
"today I want to build a hive" - "today I want to inspect the bees" - "Today I want to steal honey"
"Overwhelmed" seems to mean you've been doing the right thing and reading everything you can - I don't think I'm alone calling that a good approach.
The good news is you won't need all of that information at once. I hope you get right to it and really enjoy yourself.
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Algonam
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2011, 06:22:58 AM »

Thanks again everyone for your help. Yes, I agree that I will be focusing on one thing at a time and of course the first is the hive building. After viewing some of the videos I know I will build them with ease as my garage is a workshop set up with saws and other construction tools.

One question that comes to mind right now (6am) is :

Why does the bottom of the hive have to be #8 screen?
I took a quick look in our Home Depot and they have #4 and then regular screening for windows. Is this an absolute requrement? What are the risks if I don't use the exact size that is recommended?
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bud1
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 09:11:09 AM »

one usually has to order it, larger than 8 lets othe bees and yellow jackets in to rob. i always ad a folower bord out or coregated plastic behind the 5 bar so they have less space to start with and when they fill that remove it
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 09:32:19 AM »

Quote
Why does the bottom of the hive have to be #8 screen?
It is used for ventilation and to let *SHB and other things fall out
But small enough that the bees cannot get through
Remember if bees can get out they can get in
Bees don't always treat each other well
If you had large screen and you hive was full of honey
Other bees (different colony) may come and try to rob the Honey
if the entrance is small it is easier for YOUR hive to defend
If the entire bottom had screen big enough to let bees in and out
they could never Protect from the robbers
If you had a 100 thief's coming for your gold wouldn't it be
better if they could only enter through your front door where you
stand watch with a Big Hammer grin

Tommyt

* small hive beetles
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 10:11:44 AM »

If you use anything larger than #8 screen they can also build comb down and through the bottom of the hive with comb sections literally extending several inches below the bottom of the screen.

How do I know this?

My buddy Bailey built some screen bottom boards once with larger than #8 in his Langs and I saw the pictures!  grin

As mentioned but worth mentioning again, when you harvest, definitely leave an inch of comb or so for a starter guide. Makes it that much easier for the bees to draw out those bars again.

Have fun!


...JP

Oh, almost forgot  grin

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 11:40:57 PM »

"If you're not confused, you're not learning anything."--Michael Bush

http://bushfarms.com/beeslearning.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 11:45:32 PM »

>Why does the bottom of the hive have to be #8 screen?

I'd make it 1/4" luan plywood... but I have a couple that are #8 screen and a tray under that, usually that plastic cardboard stuff they make political signs out of... I have a couple with the plastic cardboard as the bottom and no #8 at all... that works fine as well.
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Michael Bush
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Algonam
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2011, 05:59:49 PM »

All very good info....

I have just bought enough rough pine to build my forst 2 hives.
The price for the rough pine was less than half the price for planed so I also bought enough to make my roof frame with as well as the top bars.
Before I start cutting it up I need to know if the top bars have to be 3/4" thick for some reason. This rough lumber is exactly 1" thick and I'm hoping to use it, but I won't until I hear back from you experienced ones!

I expect to start up the saw after bfast tomorrow!
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hardwood
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2011, 08:29:36 PM »

1" (what we refer to as 4/4) is fine...it's the width that's important.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Algonam
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2011, 08:03:47 AM »

I have another newbie realisation and question.

I am currently cutting my wood and creating my follower boards and just realised that the follower boards aren't the ends. Once this built and bees are in, what process takes place between the ends and follower boards?

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2011, 08:53:15 AM »

With luck nothing happens between the followers and the ends... but I'd have some bars in there in case.  The point is to control the space they have to care for, guard and heat.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2011, 09:28:58 AM »

www.anarchyapiaries.com
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Tommyt
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2011, 09:50:30 AM »



Link doesn't work says

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