I have nailed and glued my bottom board on. I will set my tbh on a pallet so any rot will be there.
The interior of my hive is unfinished.
I myself haven't settled on the upper ventilation question. A 3/4 hole could be drilled and then plugged later with a piece of wooden dowel if not needed. In my standard equipment, I seasonally plug the vent holes with small pieces of pantyhose.
Let us know how your ventilation works out.
It's my first year with a tbh also.
I built one of my tbh's based on Steve's design and am very happy with the way it turned out. I did not put an upper entrance in, but did build the attic for ventilation. Also, I built a hive stand which will also serve as the bottom board, with mesh for a ventilated bottom. I haven't had any problem with twisting or warping so far.
I have been thinking about the commercial potential for tbhs. It would be very easy to build up a sideline size operation using tbh technology. Several advantages exist for a small operation interested in making money with bees.
Capital cost could be much lower per pound produced. Hive construction costs would be lower. Very little storage space would be needed as most of the equipment is on the hives year around. Expensive extracting equipment could be replaced with a few inexpensive settling tanks.
Labor costs might be much lower as well. Combs could be individually havested in the yard and macerated into a storage tank on a truck. The storage tank could be wheeled off the truck to seperate the honey by settling. No double to triple handling frames or equipment. Settling time could replace additional labor.
If the reinforced topbars could handle the rigors of transportation, the hives could easily be palletized using free pallets. The horizontal hives could be easily stacked and would be much more stable than the conventional hives. Banding probably would not be needed.
A very small area could be used to seperate and bottle the honey. This "food grade"
area could be rented. The finished product could be stored in your own "warehouse".
Just some thoughts
And if you can do it as a clean system (no chemicals, no FGMO to soften the wax and no essential oils) you can produce a lot of clean wax to sell at a premium price.
As I previously reported, I'm building a tbh modeled on Steve's tbh. This weekend I built the hive body and bottom board, attic and attic floor, and added a skirt to the body. I have two questions. First, the link below shows how Steve feeds the bees in his tbh:
Could someone tell me what size and how many holes should be drilled in the jar lids for this type feeder?
Second question: I'm planning to rout out an entrance near the bottom of the hive body. Earlier there was a discussion of the merits of a top entrance. That discussion left me wondering if there is any compelling reason to put the entrance at the bottom or to have one there at all. Ventilation is not an issue for me because I'll have a screened bottom board and the ventilation attic. Would it be OK to have only an entrance in the attic, or do I really need the bottom entrance? Thanks as always for your kindness in sharing your experience.
It's actually one of those prefernce things about how many holes. I've seen them with just a few and with a lot. Actually for spring stimulation a few is better because it stimulates without them clogging the brood nest. I would call a lot (used for fall feeding if you think they are short on stores) as covered with holes about 1/8" apart. A few would be 12 or so.
I always use those little nails that are for the frames to poke the holes. I hold them with a pair of pliers and tap them with a hammer. I have a piece of wood under it and I try to just go part way in, but if I go all the way through the nail is still small enough to not leak. The holes are probably about a sixteenth of an inch.
Also, I would staple a piece of 1/8" hardware cloth on the underside of the inner cover where the lid will rest on it so you can fill them without the bees flying out.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 03, 2003).]
Studies conducted by Roger Morse at Cornell U. indicate the swarming bees prefer a bottom entrance of about 1 1/4" in diameter.
Bees are very adaptable and I have worked hives with entrances just about everywhere. Older, more defensive bees tend to congregate near the entrance and if that entrance is left relatively undisturbed when a hive is worked the bees will be much calmer. Returning forages also have someplace to go while the hive is worked.
I have worked standard hives with entrances in the lids. The bees were much more disturbed by the inspection and when the top super was set off to the side angry bees would leave both sides of the super and look for the hive entrance. Guess what was there instead? Me :> )
Just some thoughts
Dennis, when you say that "the swarming bees prefer a bottom entrance of about 1 1/4" in diameter," do you mean a circular entrance? If so, what sort of landing pad, if any, would such an entrance demand? Thanks.
>Dennis, when you say that "the swarming bees prefer a bottom entrance of about 1 1/4" in diameter," do you mean a circular entrance? If so, what sort of landing pad, if any, would such an entrance demand?
I've done them with and without a landing pad. The landing pad was a 2 x 2 screwed on just under the round hole. Without isn't as good, but works better than you think. They can hit the hole pretty well.
Hello Harlond and Everyone,
The study used different diameter circular holes.
I have always used a 3/8" entrance and 3/4" vent holes on my standard hives and have never had any mice problems. An 1 1/4" makes me wonder about potential mice problems.
I am going to use the 1 1/4" holes, one on each end so that I can use either end for the main entrance and plug the other. I may also use 3/4" holes near the top of the tbh for ventilation if needed. They can be plugged if not needed.
I am not using a landing pad. I had originally designed them in but opted for several additional frames in the hive instead.
My tbh is a work in progress.
An interesting site, http://rupertshoney.co.za
[This message has been edited by dcross (edited March 10, 2003).]
I seen that website last Friday. I linked to it from a site that had some great photos. I have lost the website address and I would like to see that site again. Question - How did you come across the "Rupert" site? I'm just wondering if you linked from the same site that I did and if your had the addres that had the neat photos. Here is a link to anothe rintereasting site that I went from the first site as well.
>Question - How did you come across the "Rupert" site?
I don't remember for sure, but I was looking for sites on feral bees and bait hives and it came up in the search, not as a link from somewhere else.
I've been following this post for awhile and you have inspired me to build a TBH. My question is how do you effectively medicate a TBH. All the meds say do not use while the hives are supered, but if I'm not going to use supers how can I be sure the honey I harvest from the back of the hive is not tainted. Is my only choice to use a follower board? I am thinking of trying the FGMO approach but I believe I would still need to use the Fumadil and terramycin. Also, has anyone come up with good place to apply the emulsion cords in a TBH? I should have some pictures to share in a week or so.
Hello Mike and Everyone,
I sure cant't help you the mite treatment aspects as I haven't treated for mites or anything else since 1999, but would suggest that whatever treatment you use doesn't contaiminate the wax. Acids, powdered sugar, and fgmo could be used in the conventional ways.
The drugs could also be feed in syrup or dusted when the frames behind the broodnest are barren or harvested.
I don't think any more confidence can be obtained when using standard equipment as the bees move the stuff all over the place.
My experiences with small cell using conventional equipment indicates most if not all bee treatments are not needed and in fact can be very detrimental to colony health.
Besides being really fun, my TBH will be used as a research tool to investigate much of what I have seen with small cell and also what has been reported about feral hives by others.
I'm also looking at them as a commercially viable option for a small sideline operation.
Will enjoy the pictures.
Best Wishes and Happy TBHing
I have some pictures available on my website, www.appleblossomlane.com or you can use the direct link below. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome. I am planning on notching the top bars and making an inner cover of sorts so I have a location for the FGMO cords. Also I'm thinking of making the actual roof out of that corrugated plastic, but I havent worked that out yet http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif
What a beautiful tbh. I especially like the possibilities that result from incorporating the slope of the roof into the end pieces of the hive rather than building an entire seperate roof. Misc items could be stored under the roof. Feeding could be done under the lid. Extra ventilation could be easily provided if needed. The area could be insulated for winter protection. That's neat.
I'm going to incorporate that idea on my next tbh.
Let us know what kind of cover you come up with.
Thanks again for the pictures and the great ideas.
airbalancer, I agree with Dennis. That is a beautiful hive. It reminds me of the Cal-Kenyan hive except for the sloping roof line. Great idea. My top bar hives have straight sides, which are fine, functionally, but the sloped sides and angled roof add an aesthetic element. I guess the bees don't care either way, but it looks like you took great care with details and function.
I'm a carpenter (or at least I was one for more than a decade) and I wouldn't have spent that much work. It's a work of art. I hadn't thought of how a screened bottom board would look on a sloped sided one, but if the sides are steep enough, and I think they are, then the mites would slide right down and the screened open space is smaller for the slope. It looks very nice.