Have started rebuilding the lang stock we lost in a fire.Its a bigger task than I first thought.
I have managed to slip out a few TBHs and used some overwintering nucs to start them.They seem to be happy with the change.They were small nucs.
I caught a swarm,the biggest I have ever seen.Balled up it was several times larger than my big boof head,it was therefore BIG.I put this in a TBH and was amazed.
After four days they had drawn four combs and starting on a couple more.After two weeks they are up to ten drawn and working on some more.
One of the best sights in my beekeeping must be a fresh drawn tbar with couple day old larvae.The wax is so clean and the grubs look so white.It looks so right.
The couple of boxes I have made are based around a deep lang frame and about 1200mm long(I have spent years converting your measurements,now you can have a turn :D )They have straight sides
Any thoughts coming out of your honey season on your TBH dimensions ,Why you went for that size,what you would change and why.
I have an inexhaustable supply of pine(75mm x 25mm :D )so I can be flexible in my next lot of boxes.I am only paying for the screws.(42mm :D )
When I tried the deeps the combs collapsed like a row of dominoes so I went to mediums for the top bar hive. Having just gone through all three of the ones here today I will make an observation.
I still prefer the medium Langstroth one just because of all of the eqiupment reuse I get. Nucs etc. I can put them in any medium box and that's convenient. But they do tend to wander more on the longer 19" top bar than they do on the KTBH with the 15" bars. The KTBH had much straighter combs and less of them crossing to the next bar.
I think I'm going to make a follower so I can just add one bar at a time on the long mediums. That way I can control the space and make sure the last comb has to be straight with no wide open spaces to give the bees ideas. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Mine are 48 1/2" long.
I did cheat a bit by using a short side bar,my thinking was that it was a bit more attachment.My biggest concern here is the summer heat.
So far the fully drawm combs have not used them.The bees go along the top bar then go down parralel to the side bars keeping bout 1/2 inch away making no attachment.
I am worried about our heat so I might make a few around a medium depth,I can make them longer to hold more frames,say 40.I will try a temperary entrance hole in the honey area when they get down that far.I really dont want to add supers on top and they are all close by so I can keep taking out honey.Any one see problems going longer.
I am using follower boards,moving them along as needed.
All of mine are 48 3/4" long. About 33 bars or so. But then my bars vary. The brood nest is 1 1/4" bars and the honey is 1 1/2" bars and sometimes I throw in a 3/8" spacer to get them back on track.
That seems VERY long! Is that to accommodate several nucs + main colony, or do your bees occupy most of those 33 bars?
Buckbee: My KTBH is on it second year and has 25 of 35 frames (19") drawn and I haven't fed them at all except to get them going late last summer. So they are really only one and a half. So no that's not too long. But in the future my new TBHs will only be about 25 bars long. I plan to visit them more often.
>That seems VERY long! Is that to accommodate several nucs + main colony, or do your bees occupy most of those 33 bars?
They occupy all of them plus a super or two.
That's impressive. Looks like I may need to extend my 36" x 25 bar boxes...
I'm just getting some TBHs established in the middle of the biggest organic farm in England, next to the soft fruit fields and looking forward to an interesting season next year. AN I really will post some pictures soon.
My hives are 17" wide at top, 7 inches wide at bottom, and 48 inches long on the inside. They use between 30-35 topbars depending on how the bars are turned. I cut my topbars 1 1/4" X 1 1/2" so I only have to cut them one size. Then I use a router to cut the comb guide on which ever side I need it. My bees fill up the inside of this hive with comb, and the funny thing is, the more brood nest you have the more honey they produce. My brood nests ranged from 8-10 bars first year, and up to 15 or 16 bars in subsequent years.
I'm a newbie just begining to mess with topbar hives
here's what I'm playing with
so, a couple of questions
do you ever try to "super" your hives??
I'm guessing "no" since they aren't "standard" dimensions
I'm thinking about either using all topbars or a mix of topbars and ordinary frames to allow me to super above the honey storage area (the regular frames allow for vertical movement)
how about mites?
do you have success with allowing the bee's to draw natural comb in dealing with the problem or do you have to treat them??
if so, how??
I'm just a backyard hobbiest so messing with them every day or two is no prob (so supering them isn't really nessecary) just looking for input from somebody with experience
I'm finding this interesting. I'm managing 30 hives right now down here in Honduras with plans to at least double that number this year. All of them are in topbar hives.
My topbar hives are pretty much similar to Scot's. I would only add that I use a 12 inch board for the sides of the box. Most of the strong ones also had at least 15 to 16 frames of brood.
A question for Michael Bush (and everyone else): I'm a bit curious about the nmber of combs you said you get in your topbar hives. How many of these are combs with brood? Also, do you do a number of small honey harvests or just one big one, (since you have two supers on the hive)?
Down here I have to do small harvests since some of the hives get full of combs. Mine also have between 30 and 33 combs but the stongest ones will run out of space if I don't harvest the honey with greater frequency. Is this the same back in the States or are there no worries about them getting honey bound in a box this big?
>so, a couple of questions
do you ever try to "super" your hives??
>I'm guessing "no" since they aren't "standard" dimensions
I use standard dimensions on my TTBH so I can put standard supers on. I turn an eight frame box sideways to super the KTBH that's only 15" wide.
>I'm thinking about either using all topbars or a mix of topbars and ordinary frames to allow me to super above the honey storage area (the regular frames allow for vertical movement)
Then I'd build them for standard sized frames.
My bees seldom use more than 18 bars in my top bar hive. My hives are larger than most with finished comb about 20" x 16"high x 17".
The bees seldom occupy more than 18 top bars with full comb. That would leave about 10 top bars essentially unused in my top bar hive. I thought about building a shorter top bar hive. But the additional space is a great place to feed, raise a nuc, rear queens, etc.
I've thought about running two colonies in a single top bar hive. It's quite possible. But the hives would need to be worked regularly to avoid problems.
Scott - I use 17" top bars because they fit the UK standard 'National' hive and frames from the National fit my 'transitional' TBH with vertical sides.
Just wondering how you arrived at this dimension?