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Author Topic: TBH entrance question  (Read 2315 times)
ryokomuyo
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« on: January 04, 2012, 04:49:53 PM »

Hello...Newbee here and I've loved reading back through this forum on using TBH. I saw in a discussion that some preferred having a top entrance to the hive as opposed to a bottom entrance, which is a new concept for me.
It seems the big benefit for a top entrance would be limiting the spread of disease (if the hive has varroa mites) and helping with airflow issues in the winter.
It seems though that if the roof of the TBH was built with a raised board, this would still provide the ventilation needed in the winter to keep condensation from building up. You could then use an entrance reducer for the bottom and have a well kept hive...is this feasible?

Also, has anyone used a top bar with a side entrance? While searching top bar hives online, it seems Beethinking sells TBH with a side entrance, and I'm trying to figure out how exactly that functions without splitting the hive to either side of the entrance.

This will be my first year beekeeping, and while I've seen several blueprints to build your own TBH, I don't think I'm quite there yet.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 01:14:01 AM »

>It seems the big benefit for a top entrance would be limiting the spread of disease (if the hive has varroa mites) and helping with airflow issues in the winter.

I will help with condensation.  It will make no difference in the spread of disease.  It will help with skunks.

>It seems though that if the roof of the TBH was built with a raised board, this would still provide the ventilation needed in the winter to keep condensation from building up. You could then use an entrance reducer for the bottom and have a well kept hive...is this feasible?

Everything is simpler than you think.  If you put bars in a top bar hive there is always at gap at the end as the bars are not perfect and they get propolized and they swell and shrink with the humidity.  So you have to leave a gap.  That gap, of course, if it's big enough for a bee is now an entrance.  So without any effort on your part you have a top entrance on your top bar hive.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TBHEntrance1.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TBHEntrance2.JPG

>Also, has anyone used a top bar with a side entrance? While searching top bar hives online, it seems Beethinking sells TBH with a side entrance, and I'm trying to figure out how exactly that functions without splitting the hive to either side of the entrance.

The problem is they will tend to put the brood in the center and that's not a good place for the brood nest at the start of winter as there will be stores at both ends and the cluster has to choose a direction and ends up at the other end with stores behind them across a large gap they will not cross.

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kenny61
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 07:53:06 AM »

"The problem is they will tend to put the brood in the center and that's not a good place for the brood nest at the start of winter as there will be stores at both ends and the cluster has to choose a direction and ends up at the other end with stores behind them across a large gap they will not cross."

I couldnt agree more..Ive had this problem in the past and lost a whole colony of bees over winter and the hive still had honey in it come Spring.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 12:27:39 PM »

Kenny, did your bees end up in the middle because of a side entrance, or did they get there on their own?

If they got there on their own, is it reasonable to assume that part of winter prep for a TBH would be to move the active bee frames to one end or the other?

I ask because I will be starting a TBH this spring.  I'm just trying to start a list of things to remember.  Smiley
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SEEYA
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 05:40:29 PM »

These are a little off topic.
    On a horizontal hive, with a front entrance, should the first frame be set back 1/2 bee space?
Measuring from the front wall; your have bee space, then comb depth which brings you to the center of the first frame. right?
After that the bee space is split between the adjoining frames.

If you build the top bars with a bee space between them and a cover that allows room for the bees to travel the top of the top bars.
Like using lang frames in the hive. What do you think? waste of time?






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caticind
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 06:15:41 PM »

...is it reasonable to assume that part of winter prep for a TBH would be to move the active bee frames to one end or the other?

It depends.  I have side entrance holes at each end of the long box.  This is an eccentric design based on my specific needs for a box which needs no bottom board, takes Lang migratory tops, entrances can be reduced or plugged totally with corks, and two colonies can be housed in the same box.  Definitely not a statement re: entrances generally).  From the end towards the center the most common pattern is pollen frames, broodnest, honey frames.  The colony shrinks as winter approaches and generally they empty frames furthest from the entrance first and compress the honey in towards the broodnest.  When I make my last check I can just pull out the empty frames and move the follower down.

Sometimes they move the broodnest about for reasons I can't discern, and end up with it furthest from the entrance.  No problem.  Just pull any empty frames out and push the rest towards the end with the follower behind.

Sometimes they split the difference and end up with honey frames on both sides of the broodnest.  When I see this I move frames so that all of the honey is together.  It doesn't matter what side of the broodnest it's on or where the broodnest is in the box, as long as the honey frames are grouped together, the bees will be able to move in the right direction.

If you build the top bars with a bee space between them and a cover that allows room for the bees to travel the top of the top bars. Like using lang frames in the hive. What do you think? waste of time?

This would remove the unique points of the TBH and leave only the disadvantage of comb adhesion.  At that point you might as well build a long hive which would permit you to construct or use standard-dimension Lang frames and tops.  

My long hive is horizontal, but takes foundationless Lang frames (w/ bee space between) and Lang migratory tops (bees can travel to the tops of the frames).  I did this because I cannot lift so much weight but wanted a horizontal hive that would be as widely compatible with available standard equipment as possible, while requiring as little specialized woodworking as possible.

If you are interested in TBH for the smaller number and greater simplicity of components and building your own equipment cheaply from scratch, I cannot think why you would want to have bee space gaps (rather than bars of sufficient width) or space above the bars (an artifact of the need to retain bee space between stacked Lang boxes) for their own sake.
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Adam Foster Collins
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 10:57:41 PM »

These are a little off topic.
    On a horizontal hive, with a front entrance, should the first frame be set back 1/2 bee space?
Measuring from the front wall; your have bee space, then comb depth which brings you to the center of the first frame. right?
After that the bee space is split between the adjoining frames....

Ray,

That's correct. Only in a hive with an entrance on the end. Which is why you generally won't get a comb on the first bar. If you add a little 1/4" spacer, then you likely will get a comb on that first bar. Some people like to leave that first bar with nothing on it so that they can use it as an access point to the nest end of the hive. I find that I'm always afraid they will finally have built some come in there, so I never open from that end. In the future, I will likely put a space in that first position.

Adam
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SEEYA
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 08:52:50 AM »

Thank you
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Sundog
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 02:56:42 PM »

I originally built my TBH with the entrance on the end (per what I found researching plans on the I-Net), but later moved it around to the side.  The bees did not build on the first three or four bars, but they had lots of room.  I don't know if it makes a difference in the long run, but after watching folks like Hardwood and JP doing cutouts, thinking about Langs and seeing feral hives in the area, I came to the conclusion that bees seem to build comb in-line with the entrance and not perpendicular to the entrance.

Just my $.02

Have fun!
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Poppi
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 04:09:22 PM »

Who knows...   but I think it has been said in here very well...   Bee's will be bee's and what might look like a "logical" assumption will "sometimes" not be the result...   Bee's only build down but they only move up???  TBH proves that is not so...   and what about the bee's that build in a pile of fallen trees and ground clutter on the ground...   I think after this year I have seen there are no set "rules" for bee's...  I think it's time to start a training program for them so they will learn to co-operate...

Just kiddin' folks...  bottom line I have found is try it, if it don't work, try somethin' else til ya finally get the bee's to work with ya!!!   Or let them do what they do and go with the flow...  pun intended!

Have a great Mardi Gras and Lent...  John
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Cacklewack
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 01:01:38 AM »

...it seems Beethinking sells TBH with a side entrance, and I'm trying to figure out how exactly that functions without splitting the hive to either side of the entrance.

All of my horizontal top bar hive have side entrances, but I always start my colonies at the end. I use two followers -- one butted up against the end, and one floating in the middle. This allows easy access to either side of the colony. It's worked very well for me and our customers. I've never had issues with the brood nest moving to the center. It works identically to an end entrance, while still allowing you to access both sides without concern about breaking off the first comb.

I would never start a colony in the center of the hive -- something that many with side entrances try. As others have said, you end up splitting honey up on both sides of the brood nest.

Best,
Matt
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Poppi
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 06:24:25 PM »

Matt,

That makes sense...  but like I said...  bees will be bees...  but for me I do what you are talking about...  side entrance with 2 followers to start...  if you need to modify for what ever reason... entrances to allow for that can be done at anytime.  And the followers do give you some control over the bee hive area.   I know that is a whole new topic...  no need to go there...  but it's all fun..   John
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luvin honey
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2012, 03:47:35 PM »

I have no bee space built into my fronts of the TBH and they are fine. Just like they leave space between combs, they leave a space between the front end and the first comb.
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