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Author Topic: Top Bar or Lang for a newbie?  (Read 5076 times)
bbrowncods
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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2012, 03:17:28 PM »

I am a newbee and am dealing with this same dilemma.  I am drawn to the Warre in the way it looks, its simplicity, and the management philosophy.  However, I don't know beans!  Ask me how to land an airplane on a Carrier and I can talk to you all day: I am scared to death of failing to keep an insect alive!

 There are so many variables and problems that can cause one to fail and get demoralized.  If the experience and knowledge base is in Langs, I think that lends a newbee with the greatest chance of success.  Once your confidence level is has reached the point where you want to try something new, then get a TBH and have fun!
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kingbee
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« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 05:32:43 PM »

I have seen all types of things chosen by the honey bee for a new home.  Unless there was a lure employed or bees were in the structure before (like in an empty hive) I have never seen bees voluntarily take up house keeping in two identical structures.  (I may be mistake.)  I may have seen two feral bee colonies in the identical fuel tanks of 1964-66 Chevy pickup trucks but they make extremely poor bee hives, at least from the beekeepers view point, the bees however don't care about our viewpoint.  The relationship between hive types is like the relationship between an artificial fishing lure and the angler.  To hook and land either a fish or a hive of bees, every fishing lure or bee hive design has first got to lure in, hook, and land either an angler or a beekeeper. 

Langs in my opinion are easier on new beekeepers because of the level of dedication (I am not speaking about inattention but the difficulty of picking up enough (different) knowledge needed to keep bees in structures strange to us.  The greater amount of knowledge in the public domain concerning lang hives will help you more than hive type ever can.  Bees are not property snobs.  Bees are more like the little old ladies you see on TV who have too many cats, they are hoarders and perfer to be left alone.  Once you feel comfortable with bees in a lang, get yourself a 1965 C10 Chevy fuel tank or anyother unconventional hive design your heart desires. Good luck and "R" to you and to your bees.
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Sundog
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« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2012, 06:48:20 PM »

I'll offer my two cents...

TBHs may be better suited for lesser developed areas where no money or mail order is available.  I made one for the fun of making sawdust and the bees just recently absconded.  You can have mine for free, all you need to do is come get it.

It was about as much fun as an ant farm.  Pull the bars, watch the bees, find the queen.  My son and I enjoyed it.  THBs are not necessarily easier, just different.  I pull my frames one at a time rather than the whole box, the frames and the bars are both 19 inches wide, so there really isn't much difference, until you need to process them.

I will be replacing it with another Lang.  Because of all the reasons Bjornbee said and then some.  Developed civilizations have been experimenting for thousands of years, and we have mail-order to make it easy.

There is a National Geographic video where TBHs were hung on ropes around the perimeter of gardens in Africa to keep out the elephants.  Apparently they work well in that application, I don't think a Lang would work too well there.

Having fun costs money, but you can build boxes and boards, the frames are too much trouble for what they cost, and don't forget the foundation.  Grab some bees and jump in!

Have fun!
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BjornBee
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« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2012, 09:54:15 AM »

Bjorn, are you arguing that the newbie should go to the TBH because "this is the way we have always done it" is bad thing or we need more "thinking outside the box". I don't get where you're coming from.

No. My point is that each type of hive has it's own set of problems. Or better yet....different ways of doing things.

So learning to use a boardman feeder or a top feeder in a lang lends no real benefit in regards to application to a TBH. It's like saying you should use wax foundation for a few year before you mess with plastic. Or you should buy only Italians before you mess with carni or Russians.

98% of bee biology is the same regardless of whether you are using a lang or TBH. And the differences that are between a lang and a TBH, are not anything that one could garner from using a lang first, then applying over to a TBH. Each has their own pro and cons.

I have 4 TBH. That accounts to less than 1% of my hives. 99% are langs. I just don't get caught up promoting one or the other for many of the sugestions I have heard. TBH are fun, interesting, unique. So are langs for any beginner. And that is what a hobby should be. 99% of beginners start off with a package, regardless of using a lang or TBH. And the information and assistance available today online, through forums, or even books, makes some idea that more books or information on Langs makes TBH harder, is a stretch.

Are TBH many times over-hyped? Sure. I have been saying that for years. And I even state that many of the claims about TBH, are false and mentioned on my website. The only type hive I do not promote is the Warre hive. No beginner should start with a Warre. And for that, I get weekly hate mail from a few zealots, mostly coming England & Germany. They equate anyone using Langs as money-honey pigs who are crual to their bees for a host of self-rightious reasons.

My point was, there are many things to learn. You need to learn what feeding methods are best, regardless of whether you use a Lang or a TBH. You need to learn to recognize and use good swarm prevention, regardless of using a Lang or a TBH. Just becuase you mastered or learned a year on one, makes no difference when you are faced with a whole new concept in using the other. Learning from one or the other makes no difference to me.
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TNTBEES
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« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2012, 11:56:51 PM »

1st year, 58 year old beek here.
Never been within 100 yds of a beehive in my life until this year. Didn't know one end of a bee from the other. I decided to give beekeeping a try last winter and spent the winter reading, watching u-tube videos, and looking at every website I could find. I decided to give Kenyan top bar hives a try because they were different, After all who wants to do what everyone else does. What's the fun in that? Built my own hives (2), installed two packages of carniolans in April. Had a chance to get a couple of five frame nuc's in May, so i built two warre's and did a chop and crop on the two nuc's. Had a chance to catch a swarm in May and put it in the other end of one of my ktb hives( i built 5 footers). Fast forward to today. I now have five hives that are ready for winter. The top bars hives all have 15 to 20 bars of stores each, the warres have three full boxes. My plans for spring are to split what makes it through the winter and add two long hives and a perone hive. My advice for what it is worth is do what ever interests you and fits your plans. Do your research and learn as much as you can to make an informed decision. If you try to make your decision solely based on what you read on forums you might miss out on a lot of fun and you might just learn a few things along the way. Most importantly you'll get out of your experience what you put into it.     Good luck and have fun, i sure have.
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bilder
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2012, 05:28:14 PM »

Did not mean to start a debate, but I am learning the pros and cons of each through this discussion, so I guess that is a good thing.

For me, the TBH appeals due to the notion of working from scratch.  I am a cheap bastard by nature so the less money I have to shell out on a hobby the better.  But there comes a point where it is best to lay down some cash and get off to a good start, which is why the Lang seems the best way to start.  Everyone who keeps bees seems to have a lang, but not everyone has a TBH.  I did look at the Warre hive, but even though it is appealing, I am not sure I fully understand how they work and would be better off going with something with much more information out there to research.

I have not made a decision yet.  Just moved into the area and will find and attend a local meeting once I am settled in.  Hoping to meet someone willing to let a noob come over and watch the process a time or two so I can be more comfortable in caring for my own hive.  Perhaps I will have one of each to see what style I prefer. 
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sterling
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2012, 07:48:43 PM »

I like that one of each idea if you are not sure which one would be best for you. Smiley
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hardwood
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2012, 08:00:39 PM »

Whichever you chose it would be wise to start with two of the same type for comparison as well as the ability to share resources (swap frames of brood/honey etc.). I would go with langs myself as you may be able to wrangle these same resources from club members...most will use langs and no guarantee that those with TBH use the same size bars!

Scott
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Jim 134
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2012, 08:49:53 PM »

IMHO at will be easy or to find information the resources for a langs



           BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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Sundog
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« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2012, 12:05:08 AM »

... it would be wise to start with two of the same type for comparison as well as the ability to share resources (swap frames of brood/honey etc.). I would go with langs myself as you may be able to wrangle these same resources from club members...most will use langs and no guarantee that those with TBH use the same size bars!

 th_thumbsupup +1

Good reasoning, tersely put.
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Mannanan
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« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2012, 11:31:50 AM »

OK, I would have to say there is no right answer to the original question. As previously stated by others, it depends on what the OP wants to get out of beekeeping. I run both KTBH's and Warres and they suit me. However, I am under no illusion that the bees prefer these, I agree, the bees simply don't care either way. So I would say, spend the winter reading, learning and deciding where you want to go and how you want to get there. Whatever you choose, it should be enjoyable or else you have got it wrong.
Good luck.
 
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2Sox
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2012, 12:42:42 PM »

I started with TBHs some years ago.  I thought they were pretty cool.  Worked my way up to about six colonies and with the hope of expanding, built a total of twelve hives with the same specs so interchangeability would be easy.  Because of my own inexperience, I ended up with two live colonies after my second year.  And I never got much honey....ever.  And I'm smack in the middle of hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped watershed.

I sold every one of those top bar hives. Every one.  And it was the best thing I ever did.  You couldn't pay me to keep another top bar hive.  I now run between twenty and thirty Langs.  But that's me.  I'm not a detractor of TBHs but I'm certainly no advocate.

I feel the most important thing for a new beekeeper is to establish a communication, a network, with other beekeepers so he or she can learn. Inter-visitation is ideal. If that's not possible, forums like this one are invaluable.  It lessens the isolation a beginner feels - especially if they are without a mentor.  If a beginner starts off with TBHs, just by the very fact that so few people use them, there is a built in isolation factor.  I know this because I felt it acutely.  I partly brought this on myself because I was conceited and felt I knew better than those who were using those "old fashioned" Langstroths.  I was gonna raise bees "naturally"!  Only I knew the real scoop! What hooey! This whole episode of my beekeeping taught me a good lesson and truly humbled me.  And I believe it gave me more knowledge and an increased ability to care for my bees better.

I agree that building a TBH is much less expensive and if cost is a factor, TBHs are attractive.  If you want to let bees build their own comb, this can be done in Langs.  That's what I do. I feel that doing everything in Langs is easier - from networking, to getting nucs, to feeding, to combining, to IPM, to getting materials. I'm sure I could go on.

My advice: If you feel you'll enjoy the experience and learn more, get a top bar hive.  After you do, you'll appreciate the genius of a Langstroth.







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Finski
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2012, 01:12:16 PM »

.
Langstroth is beekeeping and top bar is a toy or a religion.

When you have top bars, you must allways stand and smile and show that bees make their own combs. They must have hands tired.

Yes,they have made them even then when  homo sapiens did not walk on earth.

In top bar hives bees are eager to swarm because bees cannot understand horizontal hives.
Bees natural movement along a year is up and down and up

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BjornBee
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2012, 01:37:31 PM »

Langstroth is beekeeping and top bar is a toy or a religion.

Same semantics as what TBH folks say about Langs. Just different words.  Wink

When you have top bars, you must allways stand and smile and show that bees make their own combs. They must have hands tired.

You lost me on that one.

Yes,they have made them even then when  homo sapiens did not walk on earth.

Lost me again.
Trivial persuit anyone?  huh

In top bar hives bees are eager to swarm because bees cannot understand horizontal hives.
Bees natural movement along a year is up and down and up

Interesting. I have never heard of that before. Not the up and down stuff, as that is obvious.
I just have never seen any information that horizontal hives swarmed at some rate higher than vertical hives.
Is this from your own experience? How long did you have TBHs? What was the difference in swarming rates in your own yards.
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Finski
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« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2012, 03:12:33 AM »


Is this from your own experience? How long did you have TBHs? What was the difference in swarming rates in your own yards.

horizontal chest typ hives were most common here 50 y ago.
But the german black was idiotic to swam. I burned my long hives 48 y ago.

Our professionals have tried to design a hive where you need not lift back and forth  boxes when you operate with the hive. So horizontal hive where you have frames near to lift.
Guys say that bees are not able to situate honey and  brood horizontaly.

As you look from youtube dadant hives in Eastern Europe in chest type  hives,  brood and honey are in same frames. They extract on field because they return frames to hive at once.

What ever top bar guys say about Langstroth, remember you cannot win stupid in debate.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2012, 06:32:15 AM »

I'll keep that in mind if I ever manage my bees like beekeepers did 50 years ago, or use German black bees.  Wink

Thank you. That answers much.
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« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2012, 03:50:37 PM »

I'll keep that in mind if I ever manage my bees like beekeepers did 50 years ago, or use German black bees.  Wink


Yes, rule one: before you open the hive, look carefully where is the dense willow bush through which you are going to rush when you have thrown away smoker and you bee hat and gloves..

....may the force be with you...
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BjornBee
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« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2012, 04:06:47 PM »

I'll keep that in mind if I ever manage my bees like beekeepers did 50 years ago, or use German black bees.  Wink


Yes, rule one: before you open the hive, look carefully where is the dense willow bush through which you are going to rush when you have thrown away smoker and you bee hat and gloves..

....may the force be with you...

 I dunno
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edward
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« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2012, 09:36:27 PM »

TBH just for fun  rolleyes

Top bar hives are great for the developing worlds to help people enable themselves and lift them out of poverty and make life better for families  grin

And what do they do with the money that they make when they have a little extra after they have fed there family ?

They invest it in new hives with frames so they can make even more money and send there kids to school a better life and future  Wink

mvh edward  tongue
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Finski
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« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2012, 12:52:39 AM »

TBH just for fun  rolleyes

Top bar hives are great for the developing worlds to help people enable themselves and lift them out of poverty and make life better for families  grin

What about your City Hives on the roof of theatre in Böna/Bean Village. 320 inhabitants.

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