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Author Topic: Constructive Criticism/Tips/comments for my TBH  (Read 5082 times)
jgarzasr
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« on: February 23, 2006, 12:33:28 PM »

I just finished up building my TBH - or at least I hope it can be called that.

Here are a few pics:





I am looking for any advice from anyone who is using TBH's.  I used the following plan for the top bars - except the width is different, a Langstroth actually fits on top - although I would have to modify a second one to have two fit the whole length.  I will change that on the next one I build that way I can fit two supers side by side.  for the bar slot - I just ran a cut down the middle with my table saw, not sure if it is too thick, I then just used scrap to fit a piece of wood - that I guess I will coat with bees wax, from what I read.



I still have to finish the cover, and bottom.  For the bottom I am thinking of going with the design from the following link - if anyone has an opinion.

http://nambehoney.com/topbar/hive/hardison2/

for the Top and Legs I think I am going to do something similar to this pic: of course this was someone else's design - but I think it looks nice.  I also like the idea of the PVC pipe for ventilation/upper entrance.





Like I said I am just looking for some comments on possible mistakes I made or anything different I should do.  I didn't include actual measurements - but I can if needed.  Thanks in advance for any replies.

- Jason.
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2006, 08:43:10 PM »

Jason,

Nice job smiley   Although not an expert, I can share my thoughts and designs when I built my first hives last year.  I looked around the web and adapted the features that I liked into my design.

The first one I made resembled the Crowder design,  except I made it big enough to hang a Langstroth deep frame from the top bar to aid in the transition from a nuc into the TBH and added legs.   I also put an entrance in each side, as my plan was to split it in two with a partition feeder,  install a nuc in each side and hopefully overwinter both nucs.  Come Spring I plan to move one nuc to another TBH and remove the feeder.  As the colony grows,  I can open up the 2nd entrance.  I also liked the simplicity of the Crowder cover, simply a piece of metal roofing.   Although the wooden covers look nice,  they can be pretty heavy and ackward to move around.  I really couldn't find any benefit in building a wooden cover.



Since the first one went so well, I got a little more creative on the 2nd design.  Although the dimension are the same as the first,  I decided to put the entrances on top to help cool the hive in the summer.



After experimenting with bottom-less Langstroth hives,  I decided to make the 2nd version with a removeable bottom.  I split the bottom in two with a brace in the middle and used two coroplast election signs as slide in bottoms.  The feeder/divider sits of the brace so the two halves remain seperated for the time being.  Come Summer, I plan to move the one nuc to another hive as with TBH#1 and remove the feeder.   I then can pull out the coroplast and the hive will be bottom-less.  My only concern is that they might build comb right out the bottom, in which case I will have to add some screen.  Though in my Langstroth bottomless hive I never had that problem.  The pictures aren't the best, hopefully I'll take better pictures while building the next one, but hopefully you can get the idea.

The coraplast slides in from the back.


Here is a view from the bottom.


Here is a view of the feeder/divider from the top.  It is the width of 3 top bars and has a screened partition in the middle.  Each side has access holes in the top of the sides for access.  It has a piece of PVC (with screen) that allows easy filling. The PVC goes down bellow the side access holes so you can't overfill it too much without knowing it (otherwise you will fill the hive rolleyes ) There is also a hole for a dowel 'dipstick' to check the level.



Hope this gives you some things to think about.  Hopefully someday I'll get my website updated with better pictures of the TBHs.
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Andrew Tyzack
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 04:18:10 AM »

Those look very interesting! But what does TBH stand for?

Thanks,

Andrew
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2006, 05:46:03 AM »

Top Bar Hive
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2006, 12:07:48 PM »

can someone explain what the difference between a TBH and a regular hive is and the advantages of a TBH?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2006, 07:42:20 PM »

It's a way to get natural comb size and a way to build a hive with minimal work and minimal skills required.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
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jgarzasr
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2006, 11:14:53 AM »

Thanks for the reply Robo, and the tips and pics from your hive....

I do have some questions for those that manage these types of hives.  These will be new to me, actually last year was my first year beekeeping - so everything is still pretty new.  But I have learned from my first year beekeeping, and I think now I will go in this year a lot more confident.  However TBH beekeeping will be another learning experience this spring summer.

I will be receiving package bees to install into my Two TBH's - what is the easiest way to install the package?  Do I go about the same method as I did installing it into the Langstroth?  This would mean hanging the queen cage in between two of the bars.  I guess I would be worried about the bees not building the comb correctly to start causing problems when they start building up comb from the bars.

Also as far as managing the Bees - what is the best way to get the bees to build nice honey comb and not have them laying brood through out.  I guess for those of you that have done TBH's do you find that the Queen will lay brood through out the hive or is there a pattern?  Also how to keep the hive from becoming honeybound?

Any info would be appreciated.   Thanks.
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Ymbe
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2006, 02:36:01 AM »

This type of hive is obviously becoming more popular - one of UKs main suppliers of beekeeping equipment has just started to advertise these in their '06 catalogue because of "demand".

I've not come across any beekeepers in the UK yet who are using them, but do know some who use hives with horizontal expansion instead of the more common vertical - not top bar beekeeping this though, just an orientation difference! The manipulations you can do with this orientation of hive are quite interesting - with two entrances you can split the hive and use swarm control methods in the single long box.

Can you also use this type of manipulation with a top bar? Or is that not the philosophy behind a top bar?
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2006, 02:59:16 AM »

Quote from: Ymbe
with horizontal expansion instead of the more common vertical - not top bar beekeeping this though, just an orientation difference! The manipulations you can do with this orientation of hive are quite interesting - with two entrances you can split the hive and use swarm control methods in the single long box.

Can you also use this type of manipulation with a top bar? Or is that not the philosophy behind a top bar?


In Finland  perhaps half of hive were  "long hives" . Now no one use them any more.

There are many reason for that:

Longhive is difficult to move and handle. With Langstroth you may do all tricks an more

Modern good queens have too big colonies to stay in.  They swarm.

If all  frames are top bars you loose 50% of your honey yiled to comb building and every year.
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Ymbe
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2006, 03:52:21 AM »

Quote from: Finsky
If all  frames are top bars you loose 50% of your honey yiled to comb building and every year.


I have seen this figure of 50% loss used quite a lot and, whilst not disputing that it my be correct, ask: does anyone know the source of this information?

As you will all know, there are a considerable number of anecdotes, tales and legends around concerning bees, honey and management! I see this one, if it has no firm source, as particularly important because the implications for management, production and investment are quite large for the small scale keeper as regards type of honey production, extraction method and so on.

The idea of loosing 50% of your crop could make some reluctant to try new management methods.

In a recent forum, Richard Taylor's Comb Honey Book was quoted as saying that production of comb honey will equal that of honey on foundation in a good year. This would seem to dispute the 50% figure.
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Finsky
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2006, 05:29:00 AM »

Quote from: Ymbe
I have seen this figure of 50% loss used quite a lot and, whilst not disputing that it my be correct, ask: does anyone know the source of this information?.


That every year is too much if you use exctractor.

Here is one reseach.
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/fdnvsdrawn.htm

Before that I calculaed theoretically and I got same numbers.

 1 kg wax needs 7-8 kg honey

In Langtsroth box there is 1 kg foundations and it needs 1 kg to draw the cells.

Normal hive 5 langstroth box needs  5 x 15 kg honey to build combs.

Then every year you should renew at least one box combs and it takes 15 kg honey.

To use foundation is to reuse wax.

When you calculate profit, figures are much more bad.
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Ymbe
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2006, 05:57:09 AM »

Thanks for the great link Finsky - the cost is indeed highly significant (both to the bees and the beekeeper!). It looks as though it is also potentially quite variable; what works one year might not the next. I think this research also suggests that you should look to place on new foundation for the bees to draw only during the warmest part of the year and time it if possible to coincide with a nector flow you are not as interested in as a honey crop since a significant portion of this will be used up drawing the comb.
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Finsky
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2006, 06:13:29 AM »

Quote from: Ymbe
significant portion of this will be used up drawing the comb.


It does not go this way. - Bees draw combs if they need new combs. They use as much honey to draw as to fill cells.

It they do not need  new combs, they will not make them, and they do not draw cell walls if cells are half filled.

After 40 years last summer I followed what they exactly do in their hive.

I read new to me " bees draw foudations only during heavy nectar flow".

When it was cold early summer they did not build any combs even if they were half drawn from last year. When heavy nectarflow started they draw 3 medium boxes foundations during two weeks per hive.

Those hives which did not get honey enough they let  foundations be undrawn.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2006, 12:43:33 PM »

Hi all
Ymbe:TBH or hoizontal hives are great for a bit of fun or educational purposes.  Also, if you have a disability, they can mean the difference between keeping bees or not. Under these circumstances I would rather people use them and get involed than not (we had 30 kids from a school for the disabled attend our teaching apiary last year).
I have looked at the Dartington site and some of the claims he makes are definitely over the top. He also makes a big deal over the ease of swarm control. In my experience he has to because they are more prone to swarming. My main issue is that he is pushing his product at beginners who don't know any better.
Bees prefer expanding upwards - it's a fact. When you put a box of foundation on a hive it's always the ones over the brood area (main cluster) that are drawn first.  The reason for this is warmth and numbers of bees.
If you think Finsky's claims of 50% are too much I would say that may be understating it. Bees for Development have done work in Africa (I will not say Afro style ooops!!!!!!!!!!!! evil) and when beekeepers have been given modern style box hives and modern methods yields have increased ten fold.
As I said they can be great for a bit of fun or to build yourself Ive done it and have three with bees in our teaching apiary. But on average standard type hives will always out preform them. I.M.O



Regards Ian
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Finsky
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2006, 01:29:49 PM »

Swarming

The biggest problem with bees is how to prevent swarming. If hive is too tight swarm prevention is impossible. That long hive gives now advantage to question because it is too small to modern bee stains.

Here is Apis cerana. You see that it uses same size of top bar hive what hobbyiest build. Cerana colonies are smaller than European.
http://www.palnihills.org/beehive.html
http://www.beecongress.org/scan18.jpg

Swarming is beginners biggest problem and to professionals too.

Extra long hive
If you have  5 box Lanstroth hive in horizontal position, you need 3 meter long hive. Is it handy to nurse and keep clean?  Is it handy to put ready for winter?

Where to put empty combs over winter

When you restrict the hive from 5 box to one, where you put those extra frames?  Do you need double boxes for store? It is wise to store combs outside in empty part of long hive?

In my country honey frames are in store 9 months and on hive 3 months?

How long hive handles this problem?
.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2006, 06:07:47 AM »

Finsky, how do you store your frames for 9 months?
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Finsky
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2006, 06:33:27 AM »

Quote from: Jack Parr
Finsky, how do you store your frames for 9 months?


Frames are in their langstroth and medium boxes.

I have brick house and mouse can come in only from door and somethimes it does.  Otherwise storing is easy because part of time store's temperature is under freezing point.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2006, 09:47:36 PM »

I have many long hives.  Both Top Bar Hives and just long Dadant Deep, Deep and Medium hives.  Bees winter in them fine.  The expand sideways fine.  I control swarming by putting empty bars in the middle of the brood nest to both expand the brood nest and occupy the bees drawing comb.  I've posted quotes from Richard Taylor often enough I think you all know how he did (and I do)  view the concept of how much it will decrease your harvest to harvest the comb.  Besides comb honey is the best.

The bees generally won't expand past the four foot mark without a lot of effort on your part to incite them to.  I wouldn't bother making a long hive any longer than that unless you just want to experiment with the concept.

It takes working the hive more often but with less labor to run a long hive.  It's not the best choice for an outyard where you'd rather just pile on the supers and come back in the fall, but it's very nice to have in your backyard.
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Michael Bush
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