View Full Version : Production
How many bars are normally drawn out in a season, spring, summer, fall. Just looking for a comparison to guage by. I lost two hives so far and I am getting a lot of criticism from the local "old timers" who think a TBH is the worst thing they ever saw. I was told by one guy it can not possibly work. I would really like to show them it does.
08-24-2004, 07:35 AM
An average hive will draw out about 16 to 18. A strong hive will draw out about 20 of my top bars.
Much depends on the bees ability to get the comb right. Lots of cutting reduces the number of combs. One of my tbhs had problems building straight comb. I have two icing buckets of comb, about 50lbs wax/honey, out of that hive. Yet they still completed 16 top bars.
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited August 24, 2004).]
08-24-2004, 08:57 AM
My combs aren't very big. The KTBH is 15" across and about 9 1/2" deep with a 22 degree angle. So the COMB is actually only 12 3/4" wide at the top and only four inches wide at the bottom and only 8 1/2" deep.
They built about 22 of them. But they also swarmed in the middle of the flow.
The Medium Lanstroth dimensioned TTBH has built about the same number. Maybe 25 or 26.
Does not making corrections to the comb limit the amount the build. The reason I ask is that I did not make any corrections, they were angled, however they did not cross onto another bar so I just left them alone. None of my hives made it past 10 bars. I started them late June.
08-24-2004, 12:46 PM
I started mine in April.
08-25-2004, 11:21 AM
I started mine early in May. By the end of June my bees are just starting to decrease brood rearing and hive populations are at maximum. I don't know what it would be like in Germany, but I would try to follow the natural cycle and start the bees just before most hives swarm.
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited August 25, 2004).]
08-25-2004, 06:48 PM
Hi all, got a complete picture book done of my TBH #1 today (with metric ruler in place LOL). I will try to post pictures tomorrow.
Hive started out as a 3 pound package on April 9th. As of today they have drawn out all 28 bars.
08-26-2004, 02:32 PM
finished checking my TBH's today. of my 3 hives, 2 drew comb on all 28 bars. One had comb on 24 bars. They draw the comb next to the entrance last. the one with some empty bars remaining had 3 1 inch holes drilled in the bottom, as well as an entrance in the side. They never did use the bottom hole entrance, but I wonder if this extra "ventilation" somehow inhibited them from drawing comb right over those holes? The combs on the last few bars of this hive are not very big, but on the other hives they have pretty well drawn them out all the way except the final couple of bars, which have the newest combs.
Also these hives are really chock full of bees. We will see how they do this winter. I removed about a bar of honey from each hive, each bar made about 3 pounds of honey.
While i still saw some capped brood doesn't look like much open brood remaining, unlike the langs which are still laying heavy. Might be that the Top bars shut down reproduction sooner because they had filled up the hive with comb (although they are still making honey and there is empty honey comb available for stores). I am running open brood nest (no queen excluder and lots of "room at the top") on my langs so that makes me think that the fully combed hives maybe why they shut down repro.
Top Bar hives are a real learning experience for sure, but not sure they are a good idea for most beginners. (although this is my first year).\
Awesome pics, what are the dimensions of your hives. Your right its a learning experience it's my first year also I was very disappointed to loose two of my hives so early in the game. I'll try them again next year.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
08-26-2004, 06:10 PM
the one in the pictures has 17 inch top bars (inside), 9 1/4 inch deep, bottom is 7 in. wide, length is 40 inch. sides angle at 60 degrees. It has 11 top bars that are 1 1/4 inch and 17 which are 1 1/2 inch. sorry we don't do the metric over here (LOL).
If you get yours going, invite the old timers over. I will bet that if they are true beekeepers they will be interested and not so critical.
Although old habits / ideas die hard. My bee inspector stopped by last week to drop off some literature on SHB & diseases and told me he didn't think the Top Bar Hives would be able to be worked next year. He thought they would be worthless and all plugged up. Kind of a veiled threat.
I don't really blame him for being concerned, there is a beekeeper about 3 miles from me who has AFB and he wants to make sure it doesn't spread (especially to his 70 hives which are 3 miles on the other side of me). So he is uptight about inspections of TBH's. In some ways I think the top hives are probably a step backwards. While I am still a newbee, you can see some real advantages to the Langstroth hive in terms of manipulation and splits and so forth. But I think it helps you to appreciate what is going on and see what the bees do "naturally".
We will see how they winter.
08-29-2004, 07:22 PM
Well, I checked the hives today. The long medium lanstroth size has filled 30 frames out of 33 so I put on a super. It has done the best so far. The KTBH swarmed and ended up queenless and has not thrived. But the hive design seemed to work fine and the combs didn't collapse. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif I probably will do more of the Lanstroth width ones in medium depth.
08-30-2004, 10:08 AM
michael how do you open up the top of your top bars to add the super? I will have to do something next year on mine to give them more room or thhey will swarm.
Do you juust drill some holes in/between the top bars?
Inquiring minds want to know!
08-30-2004, 10:57 AM
This hive is 3/8" thick bars in a long medium Langstroth width hive with a 3/4" rabbet. My first bar is 3/8" back from the front of the hive so the bees can go up into the beespace above the bars. This also helps because there is that air space to keep the sun off the top bars and lets the bees drive out any ants etc.
That 3/8" gap is also my entrance. I have a four inch wide board with cleats on the end and 1/4" spacers to let the bees in.