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Author Topic: Top Bar Hive management  (Read 2035 times)
jgarzasr
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« on: June 14, 2006, 02:04:51 PM »

I checked both my Top bar hives yesterday - and all bars are being drawn out - I would say they have the hive about 80% built up with comb.  Almost this entire comb is brood.  So my question is - what do I do now as I am almost sure they are going to need more room.  The summer flow is starting here in Michigan - and they are not going to have much room for nectar storage.  Any suggestions to those that have top bars and what I should do?  Thanks.
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Joe
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 03:04:58 PM »

I don't have any TBH's but I have always been under the impression that you culled honey combs on a regular basis.  Doing that would always ensure that your bees have available top bars for new comb.  I would think that most TBH's would have slightly more then twice the capacity of standard deep langstroth boxes (if not more) and if so then 80% of the hive being devoted to brood would be about the norm.

Some TBH's are made in such a way as to allow for supering with Langstroth boxes, if thats the case for you then make sure you have some available supers. If your TBH doesn't currently support supering then it could be rather easy to modify it. Maybe you can space some of your top bars a little and place a super over those, the only problem I can see is that you may get quite a bit of burr comb. You'll probably need to devise a slightly different roof as well.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 04:43:23 PM »

The whole idea behind the TBH as I see it is to take what you need as you need it.  This keeps the bees working to replace that which was removed.  Just leave a 1 inch strip of comb attached to the bar and the bees should draw it down again.
But then, I don't have TBH's either, so what do I know?
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jgarzasr
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 08:46:12 AM »

That was my understanding also - but I can't cut any comb away right now as like I said about the entire drawn out comb is Brood.  Maybe once some brood emerges, they will fill with nectar?

I am sure I will figure this out - just looking for some other people that manage Top bar hives to give input.

I know a couple things that are nice - I have both of my Top Bar hives in the woods - and it is very comfortable working these hives - hardly break a sweat.  As opposed to my hive in full sun - where after I am finished checking, I am drenched.  The bees are also much easier to manage as you don't bust open the whole top - only a couple bars at a time.

I just hope I get the management part down.  Thanks for the replies.
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Jon McFadden
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 11:23:10 AM »

I just keep adding top bars. I started them with 12 bars and added 6 more bars when they had 10 bars drawn down. The design I used is 4' long. I posted the information on the http://nordykebeefarm.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=6 site into two parts, one for construction and one with pictures of the results.
I built mine as an observation hive, but seeing how well it worked and the time it saved me for inspection, I will have at least one viewing port on all my TBH hives in the future. With the viewing port, the first time I needed to manipulate them was when I added the new bars.
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Joe
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 11:39:21 AM »

I've been wanting to try out TBH's for a while myself but everytime I begin drawing up plans and collecting my thoughs I end up with a long langstroth hive that accepts standard frames.. I hope your TBH's work for you, they are very interesting.  I especially like the ones with a observation windows.  I'd love to hear about your TBH's, let us know how your bees do.
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Jon McFadden
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 12:37:18 PM »

Hi Joe,
Go to the website and look. I have the plans posted in "KTBH-Observation Hive" and pictures posted in "KTBH Results":
http://nordykebeefarm.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=6
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Jon, N6VC/5
Joe
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2006, 12:43:18 PM »

Thanks for pointing me to your plans Jon, I also took a look at your robber screen plans.  I like both.  What do you use to cover your top bars?  Do you have a roof or are they exposed?
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Jon McFadden
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2006, 12:56:05 PM »

I don't have a permanent top for them, yet. I plan to use corrugated metal roofing, but right now I use 3 pieces of heavy metal shelving. Two upside down and one right side up to cover the seam. I'll post a drawing and picture when I construct the cover.

The same for the stand. I have the KTBH sitting on concrete blocks. I plan to drive a couple of pipes in the ground, attach two pipe flanges with short lengths of pipes to the bottom of the hive and slip these into the other pipes. This will get the hive far enough off the ground that I should be able to relax in an Adirondack chair and watch them comfortably. I have to lay on the ground, now.
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Jon, N6VC/5
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2006, 11:46:54 PM »

Here are some pics of my top bar before bees http://hh-farms.com/bees/topbar/ and some during install http://hh-farms.com/photos/bees/051306/

my queen cage was placed in the very back and that is where she started working. They are drawing one bar at a time and have completed about 8 out of 24 bars.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2006, 09:13:32 PM »

A top bar hive, as with any hive, has to be kept from getting too crowded AND has to have the brood nest kept open during the prime swam season.  I put empty bars in the brood nest to keep it open and harvest honey to keep room in the hive. Or you can super them if your hive is the right size to put standard equipment on.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LongHiveSupered.JPG
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