View Full Version : How Do You Combine in a TBH?

Adam Foster Collins
10-30-2010, 02:03 PM
In a Lang or Warre, you can just use a sheet of newspaper between boxes to unite two colonies.

I'm wondering what methods people have tried or use successfully in order to combine colonies in top bar hives.



Michael Palmer
10-30-2010, 06:41 PM
I'm wondering what methods people have tried or use successfully in order to combine colonies in top bar hives.



I've never had a top bar hive, but what I have experienced in uniting bees would be the same. No matter what kind of frames you use. Beeisbees.

My mating nucs are 4 way with a solid divider across the body the short way. Created to chambers. Each chamber is divided in half with a movable feeder. When I catch the last queens, I leave one for winter. The feeder gets pulled and moved over to the side wall giving the remaining queren all 8 minicombs. I do nothing to unite them except unite them. No paper, no syrup, no whatever. Must have happened, but I can't say I've ever lost any queens this way. I think Bro Adam had it right. It's not about each queen having an individual smell that only her bees will recognize and accept. It's about being a laying queen.

I guess my setup is side to side. Your top bar is side to side. So I would just unite them in the most logical comb configurarion. Cluster near the entrance, followed by pollen and honey and honey. Or do bees fill a couple frames with honey near the entrance and then the cluster? I don't know. You know, the way you see them setup their colony in a top bar hive. If you're really concerned with fighting or losing queens, drizzle some 2:1 over them lightly to keep them occupied. Not that it really matters.

Oh yeah...Bro Adam also said to take extra precautions with queens that you really care about. Go figure.

10-31-2010, 08:53 AM
For topbar to topbar:
Take a jigsaw, using a 2 lb. coffee can or larger for a pattern, cut a hole in a follower board. Paste or staple newspaper over the hole. slice a couple of slits in the paper. Place the new bees in one end separated by the follower you just made. Pinch the least desirable queen and close it up.

For lang to topbar:
cut some plywood with an elongated hole in the center. Remove enough topbars that the plywood fits snugly on the topbar hive. Place the new super on the plywood board. Use the follower board as above to unite them after pinching the queen.

11-07-2010, 01:21 PM
That is the best method I have heard to date! I will be using that in the future.:applause:
I taped newspaper in place behind the follower, added the bees and then removed the follower leaving only the newspaper separating them. Worked well but your idea is much better.


Michael Bush
11-09-2010, 06:56 AM
Confusion is your friend. Bees from three or more sources adds enough. Smoke can add confusion. Just banging the hive around causes nasonoving and confusion.

11-09-2010, 10:38 AM
I generally just heavily smoke them, dump them and check on them a couple weeks later.


Pink Cow
11-16-2010, 04:41 PM
Along MB's confusion line....

I asked this question on a TB specific site and its owner recommended sprinkling both colonies with powdered sugar, then combining and letting them mix when they all smell alike. As he said, "By the time the are done cleaning each other, they'll all be friends". For me at least, it worked very well. I'd think adding smoke could only help.