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Author Topic: Top bar nucs?  (Read 926 times)
Pre-Bee (Rowan)
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« on: February 21, 2012, 02:05:19 PM »

Has anyone tried using top bar nucs?  Is there any reason not to use them?  One of the beginner guides I was reading suggested having only nucs for the first year and learning to split them when they got too strong.  I want to make my beginning equipment (got a pile of wood I'd like to get cleaned up) but I think that making my own frames is beyond my skill/equipment level.  That means buying them or making top bars.  Spring/summer plans are in the air as I may be moving, and I don't really want to try moving a four or five foot long hive, but langs do require full frames as far as I know.  Because of the possibility of moving, I'm open to enticing swarms to move in, but I don't want to spend a few hundred on buying bees that may or may not be getting shipped up north while I'm on my way elsewhere, and I'd rather start with feral mutt bees anyway.  I know I may have no luck this year with catching bees, but I'll feel better about it knowing that I at least got some more woodworking experience out of it instead of a hundred bucks sitting out empty in the yard.

To keep a nuc weak enough that it won't swarm will require a fair number of splits over the summer, no?  And hence a fair number of frames.  Long and top bar hives don't seem to have a 1 to 1 ratio to langs, as far as I can tell, framewise.  EX: A five 8-frame medium hive equals two and a half deeps, so 25 frames, which would take up about three and a quarter feet in a long hive, but four to five feet is recommend. Is this equivalency true or am I missing something, and how would it effect how often a top bar nuc needed to split compared to framed nucs?

Long post is long... Brian  Thanks for reading.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 12:40:04 AM »

The concepts of a nuc are the same regardless of the shape of the hive.  Just make sure they have the same profile so the combs will interchange and make them shorter.  About half the volume of a ten frame deep works nice for small splits.
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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
Cacklewack
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 01:05:22 AM »

We build and sell top bar hive nucleus hives and they work great. Ours are 7 bars with a follower board. Like Michael said, just make sure the dimensions are the same so they are interchangeable.

I use them for swarms, splits and bait hives and they work well for all of these purposes.

Best,
Matt
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