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Author Topic: TBH question  (Read 1544 times)
mmarmino
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« on: August 04, 2011, 12:56:42 PM »

I am thinking about building a TBH and was wondering about the pros and cons versus the Langstroth hive. Also why arent the frames rectangular like the Langstroth? does this deter them from attaching the comb to the sides? I was just thinking about making mine with the same frames that i use in my other hives. Problem waiting to happen?
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 01:33:40 PM »

It is all about bee space.   If you make the TB hive with straight sides, they will attach comb the to sides.   Slope it and they will not attach comb to the bottom. 
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caticind
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 03:51:40 PM »

I am thinking about building a TBH and was wondering about the pros and cons versus the Langstroth hive. Also why arent the frames rectangular like the Langstroth? does this deter them from attaching the comb to the sides? I was just thinking about making mine with the same frames that i use in my other hives. Problem waiting to happen?

Nope, you can absolutely make yours with the same frames you use in Langs.  But most people won't call this a top-bar hive.  Instead it is called a "long hive" or a horizontal Langstroth.  If you use frames (and build carefully so that beespace is maintained between the sides of the frames and the hive) then you won't have any more trouble with attachment than you do in your other hives.

If you build a traditional top-bar hive (no frames, just bars), they are probably going to attach a little bit whether you build the sides straight or angled.  Maybe more if the sides are straight.  Any frame-less hive requires an additional tool:  a knife or wire that you use to cut attachments before lifting each bar.  That's all.

I use all long-hives, which take standard deep Lang frames, and I love them. I think they are easier to work than Langs and the bees are happy.  Your mileage may vary.

No matter what you build, make sure you calculate your dimensions very carefully and keep bee space well in mind.  Also, I recommend making any horizontal hive at least 3 ft long (mine are 4).  Remember you have to have space for a similar number of combs to a Langstroth for overwintering.

Let us know what you end up with! 
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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
mmarmino
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 08:27:49 AM »

that is great to hear. My dad is going to build these and I think they will be better for him because of the ease of doing an inspection. We were talking and were wondering what you do about the queen excluder and also how to add frames without having too many in the hive that are not drawn out yet. We were thinking about having an adjustable partition that you can move over as they draw out the comb. And also having the excluder where it too will somehow snuggly fit in there to keep her from the honey. any thoughts?
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caticind
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 10:55:09 AM »

Absolutely they are easier to inspect.  Mine are raised up on blocks so you could work them seated if you were not able to stand or bend.  Maximum weight lifted at any time is 8-10 pounds.  A word of caution, though: they are NOT as easy to transport as a Lang once they are full of bees.  Make sure you put them somewhere they can stay for the long term.

Many people here don't use queen excluders at all even in Langstroths, and call them honey excluders.  I have never used a queen excluder myself, but if you are absolutely determined to have one, I've seen a horizontal design where a cut-down excluder is slid vertically into a groove in the inside of the hive.  But it's not very convenient and reduces the innate flexibility of the design.  The queen does not really want to cross the honey to lay, anyway, especially if she has enough space in the brood nest. 

As for having enough space, that's one of the greatest strengths of a long hive.  If you need more space in the brood nest, you just slide some of the frames down and insert empty frames directly into the brood nest.  You can add exactly as many frames as you want, instead of being limited to multiples of 10 and having lots of empty space.  I find that the bees draw frames put directly into the brood nest among drawn combs much faster than they draw frames placed all together above.

You should have a "movable partition" to reduce the space the bees have to heat, cool, and guard while the hive is smaller.  In a long hive, as in a TBH, this is called a follower board.

By the way, you should add your location to your profile, so people can give more locally specific advice/offer to come help you out if they are close.
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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
mmarmino
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 05:18:10 PM »

Thanks for all the info... I'll give you a little info on my situation. I had two hives that i had while in Kentucky but am currently in Alabama going through the flight training for the Army. I gave my hives to my dad in Mississippi for him to get a start until I get back. Since then he has starting doing cutouts and has two under his belt and now has three more to do. I am sharing this info with him and i think its going to work great for him. I plan on building some when i get back to KY for myself.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2011, 02:28:33 AM »

>I am thinking about building a TBH and was wondering about the pros and cons versus the Langstroth hive.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#honey
The object of a Top Bar Hive (TBH) is to be easy and cheap to construct, easy to work and having natural sized cells.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#ktbh

>Also why arent the frames rectangular like the Langstroth?

Some people believe they will attach the combs less if the sides are sloped.  This does not appear to be true.  But the combs are a little stronger without the weight of the corners on it.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#ttbh

> does this deter them from attaching the comb to the sides?

No.  But that is the theory.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#attachments

>I was just thinking about making mine with the same frames that i use in my other hives. Problem waiting to happen?

I made one that was basically a long deep hive with just top bars.  We got a sudden strong flow and they build a lot of new comb very quickly and filled it very quickly and the weather was very hot.  The entire hive collapsed like a row of dominoes.  That doesn't mean it couldn't work but I went to a long medium for my top bar hive (accepts standard Langstroth frames) and that was no problem.

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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
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2011, 09:21:58 AM »

I made one that was basically a long deep hive with just top bars.  We got a sudden strong flow and they build a lot of new comb very quickly and filled it very quickly and the weather was very hot.  The entire hive collapsed like a row of dominoes.  That doesn't mean it couldn't work but I went to a long medium for my top bar hive (accepts standard Langstroth frames) and that was no problem.

Have you ever tried a long hive with standard Langstroth deep frames? That should work better than just top bars.   I know that you use mediums to match your 8-frame medium Langstroth hives.  Just wondering if you ever tried the long deeps.
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