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Author Topic: Why not an inner cover on TBH?  (Read 2226 times)
rubeehaven2
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« on: March 01, 2013, 06:39:47 AM »

Just curious.  I made a TBH and will be putting bees in it at the end of the month, but was thinking of making an inner cover for it to help with ventilation.  Which would mean changing the bar design a bit to let the bees through.  I have also been wondering how you do winter feeding with the TBH's.  Since there is no area above the bars for the bees to go. 

Thanks in advance!

Rich
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Bush_84
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 08:34:11 AM »

The top bars form the inner cover.  I suppose if you want to change the top bars so that bees can move above them then you will need an inner cover of some sort.
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Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.
Sunnyboy2
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 09:23:56 AM »

Winter feeding has proved to be a problem.  Cold winters here (zone 4).  I have not feed for fear that opening the hive will cause more harm to the cluster than the extra food solves.  I have tinkered with the ides of chicken wire attached to top bar to hold candy or fondant.  Or a plate of dry food put on floor of hive. The key seems to be letting the girls keep their honey, making feelings unnecessary. 
I also built a warre inspires quilt box to cover my top bar hive.  I thought about adding a top feeder but my hope I'd no feedings after this first year. 
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Sundog
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 11:46:02 AM »

When I was helping my TBH get started, I cut a slot into one of my follower boards and mounted an entrance feeder.  It worked well since I never needed to open the hive to check or refill the feeder.  You may want to consider fitting one into your end panel before you put you bees in.  You can always cover it when not in use.

I also had a section that was about 4 bars wide with screen in it for ventilation, but I quit using it after a couple of weeks.  It seemed unnecessary even here in FLA.

Have fun!
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edward
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 01:28:41 PM »

Why not make a frame feeder in the shape of the top bar hive?


mvh edward  tongue
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Joe D
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 01:51:10 PM »

I have a slot entrance in the end of my TBH, when feeding I put an entrance feeder there.  I have also put an entrance feeder inside the hive when it wasn't to cold to open hive.  Could possibly put a candy sheet in bottom of hive when not to cold.




Joe
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gjd
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 09:12:11 AM »

The one year I had a KTBH, they did not flourish and went into the winter with inadequate stores.  Just before the weather got cold, I spread out a few bars, putting spacers at the ends so that the gaps led only upwards.  I made a slim rectangular wooden frame (maybe 2 cm deep)  that lay horizontally above and on the bars, such that the upward gaps were within the frame, and covered the frame with a piece of glass.  I had put insulation in the cover, and removed enough to provide space for the frame under the cover, and got some cloth or burlap to loosely fill the extra space around and above the frame for insulation.   I put slim slabs of fondant in the feeder, which was warmed and accessed by the bees up through the gaps.  The cluster stayed under the gaps, and they were in the feeder chamber all winter.  The glass allowed me to inspect the chamber, which didn't hold more than a few weeks of fondant.   It was a very mild winter, and they survived nicely, probably mostly on the fondant.  It was an act of desperation.   If I tried another KTBH, before installing bees I'd cut gaps in some of the bars, and work out some sort of  permanent cover/quilt/feeder above the bars.   I've seen several variations on this idea on various internet forums, all better than I expect I could do.  Look for TBH quilts, and consider adapting them as feeders.

This hive showed little interest in side syrup feeders and no interest in side or bottom fondant or pollen patties on a follower board.  I gave up on it because I could not solve ventilation deficiencies, possibly caused by my climate and siting.  I believe it also had a mite problem I wasn't able to deal with effectively.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 12:26:39 PM »

The one year I had a KTBH, they did not flourish and went into the winter with inadequate stores.  Just before the weather got cold, I spread out a few bars, putting spacers at the ends so that the gaps led only upwards.....This hive showed little interest in side syrup feeders and no interest in side or bottom fondant or pollen patties on a follower board.

I had the same problem with my TBH.  I separated a couple of the bars by just one bee width on one side and used shim pieces in  the end spaces to keep cold air from coming in the sides.  Then, I did what I do with my Langs, and placed a piece of newspaper over the top bars and put dry sugar in.  This seemed to do the trick for them.  As the cluster dwindled a bit, they just wouldn't come to any other food source and this had been my last idea.  It worked and they utilized all the sugar I had given them.  Now that it is March, I'm trying syrup again, but if they are taking it, it is very slowly.  I'm keeping an eye on them.
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 09:37:17 PM »

Thanks for the input.  I'm getting a new package tomorrow which will be going into a TBH I made with scrap wood last summer.  I routed some slots in the bars, and made an inner cover similar to the Langs,  I just thought it would make cold weather feeding easier.  I also cut a rectangle out of the floor ( maybe 5" x 8") and covered it with screen.  Just thought for ventilation and mite drops it would be a good idea.  It's not neat and tidy, but I don't believe the bees will rate me on craftsmanship!  I've certainly learned a lot, so my next one should go smoother.   

Rich
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 09:49:42 AM »

One of the arguments for a top bar hive being more natural is that the comb is attached to a solid top as it is in a tree, rather than having a gap and space above, as it is in a frame hive...  If I were doing the "inner cover" thing on a top bar hive, I would make multiple ones so you can uncover only part of it at a time.

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Michael Bush
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