Hello Michael and Everyone,
Just looked at your beehive pictures. What neat ideas. I don't think I have ever seen a design which is so flexible and easily worked. Gives me much to think about.
The pictures add so much detail to your previous descriptions and are so sharp. What kind of camera did you use?
Where can I find the plans for a top bar hive? TIA
[This message has been edited by Admin (edited November 25, 2002).]
Micheal, When you remove frames for processing do you use a fowler bd with a bee escape to get the bees off the frames your taking or just remove the frames and shake them off? With out frames they could be fragile. Thanks for the great pictures. Darrell
Hi Earl -
There are several sites on the web that have TBH plans. Do a search and I'm sure you'll get several. I will make plans available on Beesource eventually but right now I'd like to gather as many different hive designs as possible and discuss them here before drawing anything up. Not yet having had experience with them, I'm not familiar with all the different pros and cons that need to be considered in designing one. I'll probably make several different styles available. First the experimenting stage has to happen.
>Just looked at your beehive pictures. What neat ideas. I don't think I have ever seen a design which is so flexible and easily worked. Gives me much to think about.
It took me almost 30 years to figure it out. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif Of course one contributing factor was that my back can't take as much as it used to. I also use DE hives and bodies on these tables. They are about 18.25" x 18.25" and still fit on this table. Plus I have varying widths Lanstroth sized supers, 3 frame, 4 frame 5 frame and 10 frame. You could also use 8 frame to cut the weight of each box. You can use any depth, but I'd standardize on Deeps myself. The only criteria is you have to have a lid that is no wider than the box (like a migratory cover). My next set of tables will be eight feet long. The materials come out better (if they are new) and you have some spare area on the back of the table to juggle equipment without setting it on the ground. Also you can keep spare equipment on the back of the table. Of course, you can also do what I'm doing now, which is, have some extra tables around.
>The pictures add so much detail to your previous descriptions and are so sharp. What kind of camera did you use?
Acutally I scaled the resolution down a lot so they would fit on a web page and not be as large. I took them with a Cannon PowerShot S330 Digital ELPH. It's a nice small size and the only thing I don't like about it is it takes a proprietary battery.
>where can I find plans for a top bar hive. http://www.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm http://nanaimo.ark.com/~cberube/images/ktbhplan.gif
Or mine which is just to build a long table bottom board and use standard equipment with top bars in place of frames or mixed with frames. The other ones I built are a long box (the size of four Lanstroth hives side by side) with rabbets for top bars (or frames) a groove at the right depth for the space at the bottom of the frames (10 3/8" down from the top) and a bottom board that slides in. You can add a 2" by 2" down the outside of the length to stiffen the 1" by 12" so it won't warp. http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/index.htm
Also, I didn't specify this in the description of the observation hive, but the plexiglass is difficult to cut without getting a relly fine plywood blade and using it with the teeth backwards. Also you have to drill holes in the plexiglass for the screws that are larger than the screw diameter or the screw will break the plexiglass. My hardward store will cut the plexiglass to fit also, so I don't always have to cut it.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited November 25, 2002).]
>Micheal, When you remove frames for processing do you use a fowler bd with a bee escape to get the bees off the frames your taking or just remove the frames and shake them off? With out frames they could be fragile. Thanks for the great pictures. Darrell
Sometimes I don't have time to mess with a bee escape in which case I brush them off with a bee brush. No you can't shake them off the top bars or the comb will break. You also have to be careful to keep the plane of the comb perpindicular to the ground. You can spin it in either direction but you can't lay the comb flat. This means you can turn it front to back. You can turn it upside down but only if you make sure the comb stays in a line perpindicular to the ground. I'm not sure how to say this clearly, but it's ok to have the bar on the bottom and the bottom of the comb on the top. It is never ok to have turn it so that the plane of the comb ends up horizontal to the ground. This will break if it has much honey in it. I use a frame grip on my top bars when brushing them off, because the top bars are more difficult to hold on to and not break them than frames, but you could probably brush them off without it if you are careful. You'd have to hold the end of the bar and let it han at whatever natural angle it wants to and then brush it with the other hand.
Usually I use the triangular bee escape (don't know if it has someone's name on it). It's the only kind of escape I've had good luck with. On the table version you just put the bee escape board on the back of the table and set the super on it. Even if I'm using the long trough type hive, which has no seperate boxes, I build it to take standard Lanstroth frames, or top bars of the same size, so I can pull the frames or bars out and put them in a deep Lansgroth box over a triangular bee escape that is on a standard bottom board. In fact I'm likely to stack this on the front of the trough hive if I'm stealing it out of the back of the hive and then leave it a couple of days before I come back to it. Of course the standard for bee escapes is to make sure there is NO brood in the frames you're trying to clear or the bees will not leave. Sometimes I'll put a triangular escape on the top and the bottom. Just make sure it's bee tight when you do (except for the escape) and the escapes are on the right way (the top one is upside down compared to the bottom one. They seem to come out the top faster, I think because of the light coming in. If I do both it will usually be pretty clear in 24 hours. Of course it's never totally clear, so you have to brush a few bees off.
Also, I'll mention what to me is the obvious. When robbing a top bar hive, or even inspecting it you have to unlearn some habits. With a frame you can just pull it loose even if it's cross combed or has a lot of burr. The frame keeps the main comb together for you. You can't do this with top bar hives. You have to be gentle, see where it's attached and cut the attachments. It's not that they attach it more, they do it with the frames, but it doesn't matter as much. I have a old small meat cleaver that I sharpened on the end (tip?). It acts like a hive tool, because you can pry with it, but it also works for cutting comb loose. You will need to add a knife to your tool kit to do top bars.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited November 25, 2002).]
Hi All, In reading Micheal's post about the meat cleaver, I have an old Butcher Knife about 10 or12" long that I use for cutting comb. Another tool to keep track of. Dale
Barry fixed the one picture that didn't have the link. If you click on it now you'll see the complete hive and a description of it.
>In reading Micheal's post about the meat cleaver, I have an old Butcher Knife about 10 or12" long that I use for cutting comb. Another tool to keep track of. Dale
Not sure if you mean it as a bad thing that you have to keep track of it? Anyway, that's what I like about my meat cleaver. It's not another tool to keep track of, it replaces my hive tool.
The following site is where I got the ideas for the top bar hives I have built. I built the first one very similar to the one pictured, then the next one, I made longer (36 inches). What I have found is that the shorter one seems to be holding up better as far as holding it's shape and straightness. This design seems to be particularly suited for hives in hot climates because of the ventilation. http://www.xscd.com/tbh/
When I've built really long box type hives (with the legs attached to the box) I have put 2 x 2 s across the middle or across the top and bottom on the outside, to stiffen it. I glue it and screw it with deck screws. This helps with the warping in the middle so your bars don't fit anymore because the width changed.
Thank you all for the information on top bar hives. I have checked each link and have decided that it is going to be my next project.
I am basically a new beekeeper. I have always been interested in beekeeping, reading articles and taking courses from our local beekeeping club (NEOBA. This spring was my first year to have hives I started with a nuc, and found a swarm. I have been dismayed through out the last two years at the cost of beekeeping. So this year I begin to look for alternatives to the Langs. No one in our area is familar w/ any other method. However when talking to my Grandmother, she would tell me about her Dad's hives and what they looked like as best as she could recall.
So I started searching for something that matched her discriptions. I found James Satterfield's site.
From spring to now I'm positive that I don't like working w/ Langs. To heavy, costly for a hobbist. Besides I like comb honey.
Today I found this group, which has answered a lot of my questions. One that I still have is what is what are you coating the sides with, I don't understand the abbrivations letters.
Anyways - Very Good Information Thanks. I think I ready to venture out and try this type of hive reguardless of the styrotopes of this being the backwards way of beekeeping. To me costly, heavy and unnatural concept is outdated. Happy Thanksgiving
Are you asking what to coat the outside of the hive with? I use oil base paint, 2 coats over a base coat of primer. On one of my hives, I used spar urethane and it turned out beautiful. I think Michael Bush (I think that's who it was) said in another thread that he uses exterior latex paint. I'm sure either would do fine. I just have better luck with oil base in outside projects. I'm glad you have enjoyed reading the posts on this thread. It has been very informative.
I think you are refering to my reference to FGMO. That is Food Grade Mineral Oil. If you are a large beekeeper you can figure out how to get it in bulk, but if you're a small beekeeper, just buy the mineral oil at the drug store that is labeled for use as a laxitive. NOT baby oil. I think you could also use vegatable oil but the research on mites is using FGMO and that is what I use. I paint the inside of the sides sometimes and it just keeps the attachments from sticking as well and helps with the mites.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited November 28, 2002).]
Have you seen the new pictures of Barry's tbh? Check out the removable bottom and the modified tbh frames.
I can tell he had lots of fun building this one. Is this the best tbh yet?
Just one drawback though, it will still be at least 3 or more months before bees can occupy it :> )
Seeing some neat stuff
Just finished building the trough for my Kenya style top bar hive. Will build the frames sometime this week and post some pictures. I will use a T shaped frame with a vertical piece to help reinforce the comb.
Hope everyone is well on their way with a tbh. Spring is just around the corner for most and it's just about time to catch those swarms in the south.
A lot of you are going to a lot of trouble to reinforce the comb. While this is probably ok, I'm not sure it's necessary.
It just takes some adjustment in your technique to not overstress the comb by trying to turn it flat ways. As long as you rotate it while it's still hanging down, it's not that hard to handle. It just requires you to think a little differently.
Also you have to think differently when pulling a comb loose. Where a frame can be just pulled out and the burr comb breaks but not the main comb, in a top bar hive you have to cut most of those burrs so they don't tear the main comb apart. Again, this is just an adjustment in technique.
I do hope all of you with your hoops and vertical braces let us know how well they work. I am curious whether they are worth the extra work. Part of the appeal of a TBH for me is less labor. Less boxes to lift, less frames to assemeble less frames to clean, less foundation to put in etc. My top bars are just a 1 by ripped to 3/8" thick with a shallow groove cut down the middle for waxing a starter strip. I like how simple they are to make.
I have a few photos of my first TBH located on my yahoo profile: //profiles.yahoo.com/txbeeguy
I used scrap wood so the cost was "free". The cover will be one of those plastic ridged panels (like you see as skylights in some barns or metal shop buildings.
The angled sides are 22 deg off the verticle and the top bars are 19" long (so they will fit in a lang box if needed). It will hold 30 top bars and the 'follower board' in a snug fit (but I still will use the plastic cover for additional protection against the rain and sun).
> I do hope all of you with your hoops and vertical braces let us know how well
> they work. I am curious whether they are worth the extra work.
I am curious too! The hoops and braces is just the bane of my perfectionism. Perhaps it is just overkill, only time will tell. Of course for me, all this "extra" work is not really work, it's fun and allows me creativity. Simple is good too.
Chomping at the bit for spring so I can stock it with bees.