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Author Topic: Making a couple of top bar hives in western Sydney, Aus  (Read 653 times)
Inquorate
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« on: September 27, 2013, 07:21:00 PM »

HI all, newbee to the forum and to beekeeping.

Thought I'd share some photos of my new top bar hives;

The build;

 

 

 
I ended up leaving an opening in front of the front-most bar once they'd started building comb, but also made another four entrance holes

 
And the bees


So far I've only done one inspection after the first four days and intend to another inspection soon to make sure all the comb starts off (it did) and remains straight. (we'll see)

My top bars are only 3cm wide and have 1cm triangular guides. I reasoned that they would leave a bee space on their own so the guides go right to the edge and the bee space seems to be being maintained so far. I am soon to have some more bars cut to 3.5cm for the honey, and will make some more 0.5cm spacers made.

I bought sugar water feeders although I was umming and ahhing about them, and the next one I build will have a closer gap between the side and bottom boards. They are 30cm high, 40cm wide and 120cm long.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 06:33:21 AM by Robo » Logged

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Inquorate
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 06:05:33 AM »

The hives are one week old today, and the wind dropped off enough to check the bees this-evening. I spotted the Queen in one of the hives(on bar 5 or six, so one might assume she has laid in the earlier combs?) but haven't spotted larvae yet. Kinda hard to see a white dot in white comb; they should start capping the brood in the next day or two and that will be easy to see.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 06:40:44 AM »

Welcome, and nice job on the TBH.   You might want to update your profile so people know your climate.
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 06:42:47 AM »

Nice work grin I've been thinking about building a top bar hive for a while now. Not sure if I'll get to it this year, but some time.
 Keep us up to date with how it goes.
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Inquorate
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 06:18:48 PM »

They're a lot of fun so far, though I can see how they are a back-yard enterprise; If I'd checked it a day later I'd have cross-comb. My next horizontal hive may have square inserts like a foundation-less lang; I'll have to make the combs interchangeable somehow...

Here's what I did a week on;

they were building their comb on only one side of the hive (about 20 - 30cm of 40 cm bar) as well as the comb touching the rear edge of the 3cm bars by bar 6, so i've got some 8mm spacers in there now between 5-6 and 6-7. I also turned bar 3 and 5 around so they're on the other side. It's been quite hot here for the start of spring so I hope they'll be fine with that move. I guess I'll take another peek in two days just to check.
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Inquorate
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 06:21:46 PM »

I'm also thinking of removing the feeders and just putting wet sugar on the bottom board for them. Keeping the flat board they go in there instead of having bars is just asking for messed-up comb.
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Inquorate
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 06:25:27 PM »

Found my hives completely "honey"-bound.



Honey is in inverted commas because it is mostly sugar syrup, with the odd cell of actual honey.



There's brood in both hives (Yay!) and I've completely opened it up with alternating blank top-bars so they don't get it in their collective heads to swarm.





I've taken away the sugar-water feeder; there was brood only on these two combs that I could see, and the rest is sugar-water storage. Given that there is a bit of honey and pollen in the brood area as well I reckon they'll be fine now.
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Inquorate
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 09:33:52 PM »

Just found out I probably should have just made space between the stores and the brood, and perhaps not have opened up the brood itself, as the girls have to keep the brood at 96F/35C, and with the temps this week going from 10C to 30C, they'll have to work at it. Learning something new every day.
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Joe D
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2013, 01:10:47 AM »

The learning keeps going, thankfully.  Nice looking hive.  One of the things that I did was to put the frames or bars in to see how they fit together to start with.  Arranged them then for best fit and numbered them with a permant marker, all on the same side of the hive.  So I would be sure to get them back in their right places.  Good luck to you and your bees.



From down south to down under,

Joe
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Lone
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 07:15:18 AM »

Nice looking woodwork, Inquorate.  I've never seen a TBH up close.  I must say the messiness of crush and strain puts me off!  Looks like the bees are doing well.  This ought to be prime foraging season where you are, I'd guess.

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Inquorate
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 02:57:04 AM »

Had a fellow newbee (he's had a hive for two years) come by to look at the top bars yesterday. Learnt a few neat tricks (like blowing on the comb to disperse the bees so you can see the cells better - bee brush was a bit annoying and difficult to hold the top bar one handed) and spotted both queens. They've got a fair amount of honey, although they are using it as fast as they make it; there's some capped honey so i will keep an eye on it. That should tell me if they are experiencing a dearth. There's also lots of different types of pollen stored. The comb was quite yellow from all the pollen in fact. There's also been some laying in older brood cells where young adults have previously emerged.

So all in all, the girls are doing quite well. I'm pretty happy with them and will be moving one of the hives further west to my Dad's farm where there's lots of patterson's curse blooming at the moment, just as soon as the other smoker arrives in the post.. (he's paid for the hive etc and has been reading all my books on the subject).

Just thought I'd do an update.
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