with a regular langstroth hive, people often talk about a managment procedure where in the spring you take the top box (containing the cluster) off the brood chamber and put it on the bottom of the stack. some folks talk of checkerboarding the boxes that are now on top.
what happens with a top bar hive?
presumably the bee's tend to have their brood toward the entrance of the hive and the honey behind it. during the winter the cluster moves into the honey area. in the spring do they move back into the front of the hive to raise new brood?
the reason I ask is because I'm thinking about the fact they build different size cells in different parts of the hive.
seems like you want to avoid them laying in the honey area where they presumably have larger cells.
They will move forward again. Bees move upward as they eat through their winter stores, then as is normal for them, the start working down again as they brood and layup the empty combs. As they fill the queen works down again. Flipping brood chambers just gets her down quickly, but in ULBN management its not entirely necessary.
In a TBH since there isn't vertical expansion, the brood nest ends up getting pushed to the bottom half of the combs as the season pass. This is normal, and the norrow/shallow brood nest is nothing to be concerned with. In fact, it helps force a beekeeper to leave on enough honey stores for winter. Anway, the cluster will move to the top of the hive and work backwards if things work out right. When spring comes, they don't have to move "down", they are already "down". The only reason why they stay "up" in a lang, is because they like to be up and only move down as they brood up the combs, then as the bees emerge those cells get filled with honey pushing then down. ANyway, in a TBH its not the same, they are already where they need to be, and they will probably leave 2 or 3 combs in the front alone with honey, water and pollen and brood slightly farther back, but I think this get pushed backward only happens once (unless you undo it) because they prefer to have a little insulatation between the nest and the cold outside.
>in the spring you take the top box (containing the cluster) off the brood chamber and put it on the bottom of the stack. some folks talk of checkerboarding the boxes that are now on top.
I don't do either in a Langstroth hive. But I may try the checkerboarding sometime. As it is what I DO is try to keep the brood nest opened up by putting empty frames in the middel of the brood nest.
Since I don't do it anyway, I guess I don't care how to do it in the TBH. [img]smile.gif[/img]
The bees sort it out just fine. Other than putting empty bars in the middle to keep the brood nest open, that's about all I do.
To really get the an idea of how a TBH is going to work in your area I suggest you just watch and take notes on what they are doing for a season before you try to take any honey off. I learned that they will only build comb on the first 5 to 8 bars if the volume of the TBH is large unless you add empty bars in the spring wnen you are feeding. If and when you do harvest some honey and you find a patch of brood cut it out and return it to the hive untill it hatches and then remove the comb like you would clean burr comb. I just lean it aginst a corner so the bees can reach both sides. Working a TBH is nothing more than following Mother Nature's lead and a little imagination. Everything should go fine as long as you don't try to force anything.