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Author Topic: experiment - T-bar frames in my honey super  (Read 4666 times)
Beth Kirkley
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« on: June 14, 2004, 12:26:55 AM »

I'm doing a little experimenting with my hives. Mostly because I'm too broke to buy any frames, so I had to be inventive. It's nothing really new in the beekeeping world, but new for me, and unusual for many in the US. I've built T-bar frames for two medium honey supers. They're just simply a top bar for the frame, with a thin wood strip down the center about 1 inch away from each wall. I then also covered the strip with a thin layer of wax.


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I then put this on the stronger hive, and placed a top entrance above that. Tommorrow I'll do the same to the other hive.


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Beth
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snowzerdog
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2004, 07:24:49 AM »

Beth,
In Richard Taylors Comb Honey Book he has instructions for building home made frames.  Start with 3/8 inch thick stock.  The end bars should be 1-3/8 by super size high.  Top and bottom are standard length.  These are not the strongest but should last a season or two.  Just glue and nail as any frame.  You don't need to make fancy cuts or notches just a small groove on top and bottom to hold foundation.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2004, 10:37:17 AM »

These hold no foundation. The idea is for the bees to start their natural comb right off of the strip of wood on the top. I think they'll go for it. They seemed fine building comb off some extra space I mistakenly gave them.



The only worry I have is that my spacing is off and they'll build too much burr/bridge comb.

Beth
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Bee Boy
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2004, 11:00:24 PM »

Now if I'm getting this correctly, it would seem that it's a better use of space than the regular frames. I curious to as to where you got the idea. Smiley
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Bee Boy
golfpsycho
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2004, 11:26:59 PM »

There are some sites that discuss T-bar hives on the web.  Several of them mention putting a small strip of foundation along the top bar to get the comb started in the right place.  Seemed like a good idea to me so the comb didn't get all skiwhampus.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2004, 11:27:53 PM »

I saw some articles on it last year when I was looking into beekeeping. It looked interesting, but not what I wanted to do at the time.
Here's one place that has good info on them: http://www.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm
It's usually something used in Africa, because it takes so little wood to build the frames. I really don't see any problems with the variation, and some say they like it better. I've read often too that the bees are calmer, and spend less time fanning. I think it has to do with ventilation. In a way that doesn't make complete sense once they've built up the comb, then they'd have the same "ventilation" as any hive.  I'll just have to see how it goes over the next few weeks. I should see some comb building within even a week, so if I do, I'll post pictures.
Oh... I will say, my bees seem so much happier since I put on the screened bottom. They're in the hive in the late evening, and were so much sweeter when I worked them yesterday.

Beth
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2004, 07:01:01 PM »

It's been 4 days since adding the top bar frames to the strong hive. They had started some comb - some off the top bar, and more off the tops of the frames below. The comb that was coming off the frames below was pointing upward (of course) and is what they'll normally do when given so much open space like I did. I guess that's why a top bar hive has slanted walls, so they won't build upward from the floor.
It wasn't a problem though. I just went ahead and scraped it off, and attached it to a couple of the top bars with a little bit of wax squishing to make it stay. I'll just keep checking the hive every few days to see how they're doing. Also to move any wax if needed. I'm sure that will be needed until most of the space is filled with wax.


click for larger image


The other hive is still weaker. They've got wax on every frame in the 2 brood boxes, but some of the frames are only 2/3 done. I did an inspection, and they look good. They are checking out the top super that has the top bars, but have no wax building yet. But I only put that super in 2 days ago. I'll check on them everytime I check the other hive. I do feel better about their build-up and strength now though. They just aren't as big as the other hive.

Beth
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2004, 11:47:22 AM »

So far the bees have done a good job on 7 (of 11) frames in the honey super. This picture gives you a good idea on how close they get to the frames below while building wax. They know just where to stop though, leaving one bee space. They haven't attached the comb to the frames below, but they did attach it to the wall. It was easy enough to cut loose.


click for larger image


This is a picture of the best comb they finished. I've got it hanging on the stand, and you can see the far right edge and how close it fits the frame rest wall. This is the one they had attached to the hive wall.


click for larger image


These pictures were taken 5 days ago. I checked the hive again today - (June 29th) day 16 of putting on the top bar frames. They hadn't done equally as much work as they have daily, but it was looking good in there. They've started capping on one frame, just a little bit.

I've also started work on my latest project. Some of you know what it is, but I'm not going to explain it in this post. It's an interesting project, and I can't wait to show it all. Smiley I guess all this building and experimenting is what I like best with beekeeping. Here Al has found his thrill - swarm catching! Mine is the designing, building, and experimenting with the hive.

Beth
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golfpsycho
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2004, 11:54:48 AM »

Does it include a control tower?
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2004, 12:10:33 PM »

LOL No, but it may end up looking like the space shuttle. Smiley It's certainly starting to anyway. And once I put some frame rests on the stand (on either side) it'll look like it has wings. Smiley Find me a good picture of a control tower golf. LOL Having trouble figuring out how to make one.

Beth
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2004, 10:13:58 PM »

I have a question for you. How are you going to get the honey out of the comb at the end of the summer? Are you going to squeeze it out? The reason I ask is because I don't believe that you could extract it out in an extractor without making a total mess.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2004, 06:44:57 PM »

I've gotten some of the honey already from it. I just squeezed it and strained it. And you're right, it wouldn't really be possible to put in an extractor. But squeezing or using as comb honey works fine.

Beth
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BigRog
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2004, 07:54:47 PM »

Control tower would be a problem
Air traffic controllers are in short supply, they are retiring and there isn't enough to go around.
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