Hello Ladies and Gents-
Glad to be a new member to this forum and appreciate the constructive discussions that take place here. This season will be my maiden voyage in beekeeping. My original interest was spawned by poor pollination in my 1/4 acre vegetable garden and has grown from there.
Anyway I thought you all may be interested in some photos of the top bar hive I'm constructing. http://tinyurl.com/6xp4w
It's not finished yet but you can get the idea. Simplicity of construction, low cost and easy of handling are the main reasons I chose a TBH. The hive body is 48" long and will hold 32, 1-1/2" bars. The body itself is constructed of the plastic cardboard material called Corroplast, actually I recycled a bunch of old campaign signs made of the material. I've found all sorts of uses for the stuff. The hive body is almost 12" deep and 1'-4" wide with 22.5 deg sides. I plan on installing a removable grid towards the bottom to limit comb depth to 9" and provide an open area for the bees.
At this point I'm still trying to come up with a reliable feeder design that will allow for adding syrup without removing any bars. I'm trying to figure out how to use an air pressure principal based feeder, similar to jar feeder or entrance feeder that will replace a top bar.
I've got 3lbs of Cordovan Italians ordered from Buckeye Bee in Ohio so I need to get this project finished up to be ready.
Any feedback offered will be appreciated.
How about a piece of plywood with a hole the size of a mason jar lid and #8 hardware cloth on the bottom. Put it in place of the back three bars or so and slide the lid forward enough to make room. The screen is so you can remove the jar without facing any bees.
Before you get too many of the corroplast boxes, better check on durability.
All that stuff that I have seen deteriorates in the sunlight over a couple of years and falls apart.
Thanks for the replies. The hive top jar sounds like the easiest route. I may throw a coat of paint on the outside to protect it from the sun.
Here's another idea I had for a feeder. Has anyone considered using an aerator stone used in fish aquariums? Hook the hose up to an outside bulk feed source and let the syrup percolate through the stone. It may all run out of the stone, but I thought it might be worth trying.
My guess is that it will quickly clog the stone.
I've build frame feeders many times and it woulnd't be hard to adapt that concept to a top bar. You just have to change the shape a bit and add holes for entrance from the side instead of the top.
I really like the idea of a frame feeder but I'm concerned that this may end up being a drowning pool. I've read some info that states otherwise and am wondering if anyone has any experience one way or the other?
You CAN build a frame feeder that works. Brushy Mt makes a good one out of wood and masonite. The main things are:
It needs limited access to the actual syrup. Brushy Mt's has the top closed except for a small area in the center. This top bar, that closes the top, also holds the sides in nicely.
It needs a #8 hardware cloth ladder going down in the syrup so they don't fall in and can't get out.
A float is helpful. A bit of straw or a piece of wood cut to fit.
I built a glass one like this for my observation hive. I made a top bar all the way across and then gut a hole in the center of it to put the syrup in. You could do that and put #8 hardware cloth on so you can pour it in without opening the hive. Then you'd need to put holes on the side for the bees to get in (at the top of course). and the ladder, that limites the area.
Here's their description:
"Medium Division Board Feeder made from wood and massonite board. Fits in space of 1-- 6-1/4" frame. Holds 55 oz. of syrup. Improved Galvanized hardware cloth box prevents drowning. Top closure allows feeder to stay in place all year and prevent burr comb building in feeder."
Unfortunately there isn't a picture posted.