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Author Topic: Top bar in northern wisconsin  (Read 1361 times)
twintrades
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« on: February 22, 2012, 12:34:25 AM »

Hey i want a top bar hive this yr. ( only if i get a swarm in a trap ) Im in northern wisoconisn, and was told they dont work to winter over. Bees cant move up and they wont move through the hive when we get week long subzero temps. Any one have one that made it ? Or would i just be better off to do a warre hive ??

I just like the idea of it being simple.

Anyone ?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 12:50:06 AM »

The basic premise is the myth that bees will not move horizontally.  I would say the bees in my horizontal hives move better than the ones in the vertical hives. The ones in vertical hives start and end at the top of the hive.  The ones in the horizontal hives work their way to the other end.  The idea that top bar hives won't overwinter is a myth.  Easily disproved by the fact that people have them that are doing well in very cold places like Casper, WY and Greenwood, NE.  Bees are very adaptable and will live in anything from an empty car gas tank to the soffet of a house, both of which are horizontal.  This myth has been furthered now by a recent article in ABJ called "Newbees, Bee-Ware!" which seems to provide as their basis for this conclusion a study they did in New Hampshire which basically proved nothing because of the bad circumstances.  The actual conclusion from the study was "the project results are not necessarily a condemnation of top bar hive beekeeping in New Hampshire, but rather an indication of just how challenging it can be to keep honey bee colonies alive through a year of New England weather."

People lose hives.  They blame it on whatever is different. 

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#winter
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#superior
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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
twintrades
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 12:59:23 AM »

Well im making one just in case. I hope i get a swarm to slap in it !

Another problem was that they said if you dumped your bees in there from a package they wouldn't climb and start making comb rather the bees just clustered on the bottom and died..... ? But if others tried and are succeeding in a worse condition than me then i should be good to go.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 03:04:22 AM »

>Another problem was that they said if you dumped your bees in there from a package they wouldn't climb and start making comb rather the bees just clustered on the bottom and died..... ?

That has nothing to do with a top bar hive... if you put bees in a hive and they just died, then they starved.  Feeding would be appropriate if there is no forage.

> But if others tried and are succeeding in a worse condition than me then i should be good to go.

No matter what kind of hive they are in, bees will need to be fed until they have some capped stores and some comb drawn or there is a good flow.  It's is not natural for bees to swarm at the time you are getting packages.  They would swarm at a time when there is forage available.
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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
twintrades
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 07:15:33 AM »

The guys that did the top bars said they died beacuse of the temps and no frames with foundation to cluster on. They fed but the package just wouldnt get off the bottom and hold on to anything or climb.''

How would you feed them during the winter ? In a lang you can use a candy board and pattys. how would you do that in a top bar ?

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superhoney
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 11:57:19 PM »

Twintrades,
This is my first year with TBH too and after doing a bunch of research I have seen a follower board type thing with fondant loaded into it. I also saw a follower board thing that syrup can be loaded into, and I saw a regular mason jar type feeder that was placed in the hive body-one version outside the follower and one version inside the follower near the combs. So there's a bunch of different ways peeps are trying.

For me I still haven't decided yet, but I have a long hot summer before that task needs to bee completed. Down here in TX we have mild winters (it was 80 again today) and I try not to feed but leave them their stores, and so far they have been ok (that's from a langstroth POV though.)

Good luck and have fun with your new hive!!
Superhoney!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 12:30:02 AM »

>The guys that did the top bars said they died beacuse of the temps and no frames with foundation to cluster on.

Swarms have no foundation to cluster on.  I install packages in foundationless hives often enough with no issues.

>They fed but the package just wouldnt get off the bottom and hold on to anything or climb.''

Maybe it was too cold to feed syrup.  Once they are chilled and paralyzed from cold, bees can't warm themselves back up.

>How would you feed them during the winter ?

Winter is not the time to feed.  Bees cannot take syrup in winter.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm

> In a lang you can use a candy board and pattys. how would you do that in a top bar ?

In a lang I don't use candy boards or patties.  But you can make a gap between the top bars and put a pollen patty on if you really want to, or put some dry sugar near the cluster and wet it enough to get it damp, or you can make a feeder to fit the top bar hive.  People use everything from frame feeders to boardman feeders on the bottom, to baggie feeders on the bottom.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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