View Full Version : Medications in TBH's
02-14-2005, 01:56 AM
Until just a few days ago, I had been trying to figure out some way (that is legal) to get my hands on some beekeeping equipment. Cash is about as scarce around my house as hair is on a bald head! I was just about ready to give up when I ran across the TBH's. The TBH idea really appeals to me because, 1)the hives can be built "for a song" and 2) not having to lift the honey filled supers or hive bodies that are full of brood and food, would be a lot easier on my back and other health problems!
However, I do have one concern. I live in the northern part of west Tennessee. Beekeeping here is virtually extinct! As a matter of fact, the statewide bee population has been reduced by about 80% since the varroa and trachael mites were first discovered here (according to what our state apiairist told me).
I know that if used properly, Apistan strips can be used for the varroa mites in TBH's just like they are in the Langstroths. But for trachael mites in the Langs, menthol is placed in the bottom of the hive when the outside temps. are correct, the vapors from it rise throughout the haive, the bees inhale it, and the trachael mites die. Here's where my concerns come in.
Though the colony is not "stacked up", can you still effectively use the menthol for the TBH's? If so, how do you do it? Or maybe the better question would be, where do you put it so that the whole colony will benifit from it?
I know there is a massive amount of information out there about keeping bees in a Lang. But when it comes to info about TBH's, it's mighty "slim pickens"! If there is anyone out there who can shed some light on this, please grab the switch and turn on the light!!! And, thank you in advance.
02-14-2005, 05:48 AM
>Though the colony is not "stacked up", can you still effectively use the menthol for the TBH's? If so, how do you do it? Or maybe the better question would be, where do you put it so that the whole colony will benifit from it?
I have several top bar hives and about 40 hives altogether right now on natural comb (which you will get in the top bar hive) or small cell comb. I've had bees for 30 years. I've never used menthol. I really don't think you will need it. The bees will be, at worst, on semi-natural sized comb (about 5.1mm probably) and I believe that is sufficient to prevent Tracheal Mite problems. If you really want to, you could use grease patties instead of menthol. I'm not sure how well they will work on the bottom though. I don't use them either.
Most TBH people seem to want NOT to treat.
02-14-2005, 09:47 AM
All my hives with natural cell take care of themselves as to the mite problems. The 2 hives with alot of regular foundation had to be treated for Varroa. Several strains of bees are T mite resistant. That was the reason I chose to start with Buckfast bees. I will never again buy a buckfast queen from the Weavers for other reasons but the bees did a good job keeping the mites down. Local feral bees have not been treated and are living. I live 75 miles south east of Nashville. The mountains are beginning to have quite a few wild hives again. Most of these are the little black bees. These black bees are a bit more aggressive than Italians or Carnolians(NWC are just improved Carnolians). So far nothing has been as bad as one of those buckfast hives. I can stand around and even weed eat around the hives with no problems but open one of the dark bees hive without smoke and you will be covered in bees. I have 2 TBH which I hope to get full of bees this year. I tried last year but the queen failed to return from her mating flight. If you are handy with power tools standard hives are easy to make as well. I make foundationless frames which have the pointed top bar like some of the TBHs do. They need no foundation. You end up with natural cell sizes which help fight the varroa mite. If you catch a swarm from a wild hive you should get small cell right from the start. If it was from a hive on standard foundation they will draw about 5.1mm at first them after a few frames/top bars they will draw the smaller cells.
02-14-2005, 11:13 AM
I have kept bees for many years. Never treated for tracheal mites and did not lose hives. Varroa mites are another story. If small cell works, fine.
Some of us with Langs and wax foundation are using FGMO; this takes care of tracheal mites as an "extra" feature.
02-14-2005, 12:00 PM
First, I thank all of you for the replies.
I certainly hope that you guys are right about the idea that bees on "natural" comb being able to take care of themselves without so much chemical intervention. I had read some about the difference in comb sizes between the comb drawn on man-made foundation and comb drawn naturally by the bees. Knowing that bees had survived for eons and eons in the wild with NO human intervention or assistance,I wondered (quietly and to myself) if there was even a remote possibility that man, in his never-ending quest to improve upon what God created, had somehow weakened the bees natural defense against some of the problems that we have seen in the last 20 years or so. If I correctly understand all of you, my thoughts may not have been as far off mark as I sort of hoped they were!
Anyway, I appreciate Michael reminding me about the grease patties. In a "senior moment" I forgot about them! Between Michael, Hillbilly, and Oxankle, you have pretty well convinced me that my future TBH's shouldn't be as heavily plagued with the problems that the Langs are. Or, at least you've convinced me to try the TBH's with caution, but with more of a "don't worry... be happy" attitude!
As for the Lang's woodenware being easily built, I am confident enough in my carpentry and table saw skills to believe that for me, that is right. However, right now I don't have lumber that would be appropriate for building them. And as I said in my original post, at this time, money is almost non-existant at my house! On the other hand, I have a fair amount of "scrap" lumber around here that, with little trouble, could be fashioned into TBH's. That way, all I need is some bees that are willing to utilize them. And I think I know where I can get some 3-banded Italians for nothing or next to nothing!
Thanks again for all your information. I hope all of you have a record breaking year for honey!
02-14-2005, 02:26 PM
I would use something to monitor for Varroa and see what happens. But if they get out of hand I'd go for Oxalic acid or if it's just starting to get out of hand FGMO fog.
I woulnd't worry about the TM.
Yes if you want to read about natural sized comb and the effect on the mites there is a lot on this site. Also there is a Yahoo group of people who are doing small cell and nothing else:
02-14-2005, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the link to the Yahoo group. I am always interested in such things. That reminds me, you wouldn't happen to be txbuyguy on another forum would you? Just curious!
As for testing for varroa, I have been contemplating trying to fashion some type of "sticky board" or "screened bottom board" for the TBH's for the purpose of checking the varroa population and attempting to reduce it. I'm sure that I would have to incorporate it in such a way that it could be removed or at least sealed off in the winter to help keep out the cold. What do you think?
02-14-2005, 07:14 PM
>you wouldn't happen to be txbuyguy on another forum would you?
I think he's txbeeguy here too. I'm just me and I'm not from Texas. I'm in Southeastern Nebraska.
>As for testing for varroa, I have been contemplating trying to fashion some type of "sticky board" or "screened bottom board" for the TBH's for the purpose of checking the varroa population and attempting to reduce it. I'm sure that I would have to incorporate it in such a way that it could be removed or at least sealed off in the winter to help keep out the cold. What do you think?
I haven't bothered on the KTBH designs. I was trying to keep it simple so I didn't. I just do a sugar roll for it. But you could just slip a sticky board in on the bottom.
My long medium Lang sized TBH has a SBB because I really designed it for medium frames and decided to use it for a top bar hive. I like it a lot and will probably do two more of them.
Sugar roll: http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tidings/btid2000/btdjan00.htm#Article2
02-14-2005, 08:04 PM
Once again, thanks for the info and link Michael. The powdered sugar roll is a neat idea!
But, I still have one question in my mind! Sorry I'm so full of questions! I've never actually seen a SBB in person, with my own two eyes. All I have seen is what is shown in pics in the supply catalogs and on the internet. So, I have had nothing to use to give me a mental refferance as to how big the holes in the screen should be. I know they would have to be large enough to allow the varroa to fall throuth, yet small enough that the bees can walk on it without falling through it. Would a screen such as what is used to make the screens on windows and screened doors be about the correct size?
Once again, I'm sorry to be so full of ?'s, but I don't know how else to learn about things that I don't know about!!
02-15-2005, 06:06 AM
You don't need to apologize for the questions, that is the nature of this wonderful site. Many questions and many answers, some of which you need to take with a grain of salt. ;)
SBB's are constructed using a hardware cloth graded as #8, which simply means there are 8 strands per inch. Window screen has smaller holes and more strands per inch.
Welcome to the site Mr. or Mrs. Beebiz, and may you continue to ask away, and even help pass on the valuable information to others as you feel more comfortable here.
02-15-2005, 06:36 AM
Betterbee, I believe, makes theirs with larger holes, but I make mine with #8 also. Basically you want the hardware cloth where the bottom would have been (3/4" below the box above) and the tray at least 3/4" below that. The ones I got from Brushy Mt have a "Z" on the bottom made of nylon cord. I make mine with plastic baling twine (I have a lot laying around from the horses). The tray then rests on the twine.
So in a Top Bar Hive I'd put the Screen where the bottom would have been, add a 3/4" board on the bottom of that and then add the twine to hold in a tray. I bought plastic cardboard on the internet to cut the long trays out of. That is also what Brushy Mt uses for their trays.
02-15-2005, 11:42 AM
Well once again, I tender my sincere appreciation for the information and advice. I also appreciate the friendly atmosphere of this forum. It kind of reminds me of another forum that I am a member of at beemaster.com.
By the way Phoenix, thanks for the welcome! I know that you were just trying to be polite and make sure that you had all bases covered, but Mr. is my dad, Mrs. is my mother... I'm just plain ole "Robert"!
02-15-2005, 02:20 PM
I wasn't trying to be polite Robert, I was trying to provoke you to reveal your identity and shed your ambiguity. I got the response I was looking for, thanks.
02-15-2005, 04:51 PM
Okay Phoenix... you got me! And, rather short is the list of people that have been able to say "Gottcha" to me!! You are now among those few, so I tip my hat to you and say, "congratulations!" But remember, I'll be watching you from now on!! LOL
TRY to beehave yourself!!
03-20-2005, 05:45 PM
I'm a new member. Im Az we have a problem with Varroa mites and solved the problem cheaply for the hobbiest that dosen't want to sell honey because this is considered "adulteration".
Use 1 tbsp FRESH garlic powder to 2 cups powered sugar. Mix throughly. Sprinkle over the bees so that all bees have a coating. (I have used this in Langs, 1 deep and 1 shallow, and it takes about 1-1/2 cups per hive. I just dust it between the frames.) Treat 1 week later and 1 month later. This is best done in the fall after the flow has slowed. Then in spring, treat one more time before flow starts. The garlic dissipates in about a week and cannot be found at all after 2 weeks. I'm not sure how it would work on a top bar. This is cheap and easy on a small scale. Immediately after the treatment, the bees will rush out of the hive but usually return in about 1 hour.
NOTE FOR HILLBILLYNURSERY: In Az we have the Africanized Bee. It is small and black and meaner that a wet coon with a dog on its tail. No exageration. They are smaller than the Italian and their cells are smaller. They seem to handle mites better and are spreading. They don't seem to overwinter well in the colder locations because they swarm frequently. We KILL ferral swarms because they are African in this area and too hard to handle and are dangerous in a residential setting. We can hive about 1 in 10 in Langs. I don't know about the tbh. Unless you are in a rural area, at least 1/4 mile away from anything that can be stung to death because it cannot run away, I would be very cautious on ferral swarms. The African can be quite mild when first hived but in about a month, they can become agressive. Please research these bees before you start working with them.