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Author Topic: My tbh is a mess! AHHH!  (Read 4018 times)
rubeehaven2
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« on: June 02, 2013, 10:40:19 AM »

I virtually destroyed 5 or 6 large bars of honey, (uncapped), trying to separate the bars for inspection today.  Very frustrating!  I thought I had fixed the between bar problem two weeks ago.  I a waxed piece of twine to the unused bars to create a stronger line to build from.  WRONG.  What a mess, honey dripping everywhere!! 

It is even more upsetting because this is such a strong hard working hive!  They have some serious cleaning and rebuilding to do.  I stopped trying to separate bars because I didnt want to destroy the entire hive.  what a mess.

Any suggestions?  I think I'll have to cut everything out and put them in a Lang.  But even that will be a complete mess.  The uncapped honey is so soft you really cant do anything with it.

Any advice is more than welcome!

Thanks, Rich
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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 11:02:38 AM »

Your assumptions are mostly correct and your self derived solution is what needs done if you intend to have a moveable comb hive.  The earlier you do a cut out and band the brood comb into frames, the sooner your colony will recover.  I have a friend who made frames for his top bar and you might consider doing that to get the bees back in a hive you can manipulate. 

Some colonies love their crosscombs in a langstroth too!  TBH beekeeping is a hard way to go, especially for beginners.
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beeman2009
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 12:06:27 PM »

If your brood area is ok, you could just leave that in tact, cut out the honey & be prepared to feed, feed, feed!  th_thumbsupup
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 12:20:13 PM »

Quote
If your brood area is ok, you could just leave that in tact, cut out the honey & be prepared to feed, feed, feed!

yeah.   i don't do TBH, but that would be my choice with any honey comb mess.  in a lang, i'd move the honey mess to the outside and try to get them to rebuild straight.  eventually i'd remove the messy stuff and put it out to be robbed , or crush it out.  the only think you really need to be able to inspect is the brood area.
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Tim Bates
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 12:45:00 PM »

What size bars did you use? Not saying that's the problem just asking for my own knowledge bank.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 01:57:30 PM »

I don't do TBH for this (and all the other excellent )  reason. 

My custom solution (untried, so entirely hypothetical) is to build some (1-3) custom frames you can insert foundation into.  Interleave these with your top bars.  The bees will draw nice straight comb off the framed pieces, and that will mean the next comb (off the TB) will also be straight, etc.   Once modeled, the bee's repeat the pattern. Once you have well conditioned comb as a pattern the pattern will repeat.

Your wonky bars need to be straightened up or pulled.  They will simply "infect" the comb drawing efforts of succeeding bars.
Soft honey wax can be hardened in a refrigerator, and manipulated pretty easily. My advice is: move to a moveable frame hive.
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2013, 08:15:16 PM »

I just used 1 1/2 inch bars.  I started making some frames for them today.  The bees are hanging all over the hive right now!  It is certainly a learning experience!  I will be very hesitant to start any more top bars! 

Thanks, Rich



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duryeafarms
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 10:24:48 AM »

I'm in kind of a similar albeit less severe predicament. On one bar (brood), they built the honey section so fat that the two subsequent combs are pushed over in the same spot.  I hate to do it, but the only solution is to cut out the fat honey section and try to move the crooked sections in the next two. They have brand new comb though and it's extremely soft so I'm afraid of ruining those parts. I've been concerned about the rate of comb building so tearing some down isn't a happy thought, but it's the only way out.  I'm just going to put the honey section in the back of the hive and hope they move the honey to a better spot.

Just a thought...I don't know that twine is a strong enough "suggestion" to the bees. I'd recommend using some kind of cleat.  Popscicle sticks or something even more substantial.
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HomeSteadDreamer
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 04:11:45 PM »

I find it odd that the most common response is I don't keep TBH but in the TBH forum.  While I've heard it is more challenging and you certainly have a challenge there, hopefully people who do TBH's and like them will chime in to give you help.  I currently have one TBH and one Lang.  I'm too new to have an substantial opinion but so far I like my TBH better. 
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 06:18:47 AM »

I won't give up on TBH's yet.  I just have to make bars with frames, at least to start, and get them building straight!  Also, instead of string or twine, I'll use the popsicle stick center line.  I am just upset they have so much repair work to do, and more upset knowing I'll probably damage much of it as well when transferring everything to another hive!  You live and learn!

Thanks, Rich
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 09:40:24 AM »

Step 1:  Make frames that fit your top bar.  They should have between 1/4" and 3/8" space around them.

Step 2:  Make a box that can hold your bars (a short top bar hive that can later be used as a nuc would be good)

Step 3:  Flip the hive upside down and lift the box off of the combs, cutting as needed.

Step 4:  Cut each comb out and tie it into a frame with either string or rubber bands putting them in the box you built.  Scrap the honey.  Save the brood.

Step 5:  Flip the hive back right side up and add the frames with the tied in combs.

One bad comb leads to another. One good comb leads to another. If you have bad comb, wishful thinking will not fix the next comb. It will be messed up unless you make the last comb a straight one by whatever means is necessary. Having a frame you can tie a comb into is good to have. Then you can always create a straight comb. Another solution is to find a straight comb and put it at the point they are building comb and put the messed up comb at the front (assuming you don’t tie it into frames or remove it). Empty bars between drawn brood combs will keep them busy building straight combs. Just don’t spread them too thin. They need to be able to fill that gap with festooning bees quickly.
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Michael Bush
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 01:49:52 PM »

Wow. In terms of returning the hive to a manageable state from the perspective of comb, this is a great idea. However, I have a hard time envisioning what happens when you expose the entire hive at one time, but it would sure be exciting smiley 

At the very least, wouldn't you want to capture your queen first?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 02:19:40 PM »

> but it would sure be exciting

Of course.

>At the very least, wouldn't you want to capture your queen first?

How will you find a queen with a lot of messed up comb for her to hide in?  If you see her, cage her, by all means.
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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
rubeehaven2
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 07:52:24 PM »

Excellent advice!  I never considered turning the hive upside down.  That would certainly make working with the comb easier!  And, I wouldn't need to move them to a new hive.  It is a good thing this is a very docile hive.  Extremely mellow bees, as well as hard working.  They build comb like crazy, so recovery shouldn't take too long.

Now, which of my boys will I get to help with this one!

Thanks much for the advice!

Rich
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doug494
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2013, 10:04:17 AM »

I have three tbhs, two were started from scratch the third had comb from the first two to get them started.  I guess I was lucky and one built straight right away and the other I corrected quickly as the package started building comb, never letting them get too far off.  It did slow them down as their first couple weeks of comb was thrown away, or mangled as I "bent" it back into shape. I use 1/4" square stock for starter strips, maybe the string isn't enough?  FYI that hive is in it's third year has requeened itself at least twice and is extremely strong, so the early set back did not doom them.

This year I am planning to try some lang type hives.  I have been turning empty top bars upside down and rubber banding a foundationless frame to the bar and putting it back in for them to build on.  If you did that with foundation in the frame, that may be easier and give them more of a guide than an empty frame top bar.

Of course I built a square tbh (TTBH?) based on lang widths, not a Kenyian style.  Are your sides sloped?
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Santa Caras
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 03:25:45 PM »

I'm courious. Is a square boxed TBH better than a sloped/angled TBH?  Or just more convenient for the keeper using the frames from a Lang???
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doug494
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2013, 07:35:36 PM »

Better is up to the owner.  I don't think the bees care.

Square was easier to build for me.
I could mix with lang deep if I wanted.

I do think the sloped ones are more attractive for a backyard setting.

I don't have a problem with the bees attaching to the sides, although you will hear that concern.
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chux
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 03:29:55 PM »

This is my first year, and I have had mixed success for various reasons....But one thing I think I did right was start to use Top bars with a wedge shaped bottom for the bees to build on. At first, I gave them popsicle sticks as a guide, but they seemed to have a hard time building straight. I then put bars in with wedges on the bottom. That fixed the problem for me. They seem to center better and give me less trouble with cross-comb. I am using 1.5 inch bars.
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2013, 03:47:52 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean by "wedges" on the bottom, but I am certainly going to take greater care in the future!

Thanks, Rich
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Santa Caras
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2013, 11:10:08 AM »

I think when he said "Wedge" to the bottom of the top bar.....he meant a triangular piece of wood glued and attached to the center botton of his top bar for the bees to attach comb to.
With that said, I have a thought about this that I wouldn't mind some input. that wedge...if a cut was made on both sides the length of the wedge triangular piece that when one looked at it from the edge..gave the "tip" a barbed edge......would the comb hang and attach better...IE: more securely??    or am I "over-thinking" this??
 |
 \/  something like that kinda.
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