Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Post

    Hello Everyone,

    I was talking with Barry Birkey the other night, thinking about our tbh experiences and the contributions from other tbhers. And have come up with the ultimate small cell beekeepers beehive. It could be the best yet for those not wanting to mess around with tbhs but with most of the advantages.

    The bees in my tbh went like gang busters for the equivalent of slightly less than 2 deep supers but then got very complacent. Others have also reported this behavior. So it would be a long hive 32 1/2" long. That's just long enough for two standard supers to set on top.

    It would be deep and wide enough for standard deep frames. The deep frames would use an unfoundation approach or at least small cell in the front half of the hive. That's where my tbh built all the small cell comb. And they would build it there during a major honey flow.

    A cloth inner cover would be used to isolate the unworked bees from any disturbance during inspections. It would function much like the solid surface formed by the topbars in a tbh.

    It would have a split cover so standard supers could be added in any combination or location above the broodnest. When I transferred my surviving bees into two deeps, they filled them with unripe honey in 5 days. My other small cell colonies filled about 1/2 a super. Supering upward is good for production.

    All parts of the hive would be fairly accessible without much lifting.

    It would look be just about the same as Barry's Urban Condo Hive which was hisbbest producer and overwintered well in the Chicago area.

    All things old are new again! :> )

    Best Regards
    Dennis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    I've started something similar. I have a double wide Dadant Deep box (32 1/2" x 19 7/8") with plastic small cell foundation and I put two migratory covers side by side on it and made a screened bottom board that is three boxes wide (about 50 inches counting the landing board). My thikning is that the brood will tend to be in the front and the honey in the back. I can add supers on top of the brood nest and as they fill set them all the way on the back of the hive. I can also stack them on the back half of the double wide. That way I never have more than one super in my way to get to the brood nest. If they will fill it, I may even just keep them on the back half and not have to move that one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I have done a bit of reading of material regarding this.

    It appears to be very true that beehive size preference depends greatly on your climate. If you live very far north, say upstate NY, your bees will likely prefer a 35 liter hive, which is a littel shy of a brood chamber in volume.

    Bees living south tend to increase their hive size preference, finally reaching some 240 liters for tropical regions.

    I live in florida, and through conjecture of the available data I have determined that for my climate Sarasota, FL (sub-tropical) that I want between 120-140 liter hives. Which is equivilent to 3 to 3.5 deep supers in volume.

    It seems that hives that are too big are TOO much for a colony to maintain properly and do not do as well as a colony of bees situated within a hive at/near their natural hive volume preference by climate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Question

    How odd. I was of the opinion that most northern beekeepers kept their bees in double deeps and ya'alls kept them in singles.



    ------------------
    Bullseye Bill
    Smack dab in the middle of the country.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    I used to do doubles and triples.

    But this isn't the optimum size of the hive but the optimum size to overwinter.

    I have had a lot of hives that were so tall I couldn't reach the top super without something to stand on. The bees seemed pretty happy with it.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I don't have any direct experience with experimenting with hive sizes, this is just stuff that I have read from various sources.
    Including top_bar_hive_lore.txt found on ibiblio
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/..._hive_lore.txt

    It is an exceprt of a book that I think "was" being written by Marty Hardison, but I don't think he's working on it anymore because the text file has been there since 1996 and I haven't heard of a book being published with this material.

    I also have some really old and ancient beekeeping books written by Chas Dadant and A.I. Root and others between the periods of 1890 and 1918. Like ACC/XYZ and First Lessons in Beekeeping, and others. Newer books don't seem to touch upon anything other than Langstroth Hives. (Yeah these are original books, first edition, second, etc. edition material. I am scared of destroying the books each time I touch them.)

    *me hoards the books* *Don't touch the books* *me laughs madly like evil scientist, mhehehmehe*

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    It seems to me that we control the volume of a standard Lanstroth hive by adding and subtracting boxes. I find it's works well to install a package in a five frame medium nuc until it's well underway and then move them to an 8 frame medium and them move them to a 10 frame box. By me controling the volume the bees have an eaisier time controling the envrironment. By the time the 10 frame box is doing well, I open the SBB on it up and the weather is usually getting hot.

    In a TBH the easiest way to control this is with a follower. Why not have a TBH that is "too long" for optimum and use the follower to enlarge it during the honey flow and contract it when starting a hive or after removing the honey for the year? That has always been my plan.

    Since I made mine to standard Lanstroth dimensions, I just started it in a 10 frame box and then moved it to a double wide box (22 frames). Execpt for the combs collapsing in the heat, this worked well for the bees thriving. They did thrive.

    The article says that using 1 1/2" wide bars contributed to more drones. I did use 1 1/2" wide bars and I did have a lot of drone. I may try the 1 3/8" next time or even the 1 1/4" since I'm rasing small cell bees anyway.

    I wonder what would happen if you used full sheets of foundation? What about wired full sheets? I would be afraid of them unzipping at the connection to the top bar and afraid of all those bees hanging on the foundation and pulling it out before it gets attached. But if you could attach the wires to the top bar securely it should work.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    >The article says that using 1 1/2" wide bars contributed to more drones. I did use 1 1/2" wide bars and I did have a lot of drone. I may try the 1 3/8" next time or even the 1 1/4" since I'm rasing small cell bees anyway.

    The more I think about this the more sense it makes. The bees probably figure if someone spaced this comb that far away the intent was to build honey comb not brood comb, so they build bigger cells which the queen lays drones in. I think I may do 1 1/4" next time.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    Actually it occurs to me that this has implications for those regressing their bees. Perhaps planing the end bars down for 1 1/4" comb spacing (instead of 1 3/8") might improve the bees wanting to build smaller cells.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Michael,
    You Said >
    In a TBH the easiest way to control this is with a follower. Why not have a TBH that is "too long" for optimum and use the follower to enlarge it during the honey flow and contract it when starting a hive or after removing the honey for the year? That has always been my plan.

    I say >
    Yeah that's my plan, but one of the consierations of the top bar hive is the length of the hive. you don't want it too long otherwise it will be unweildy. My hive plans already call for 48" hive which will yield roughly 35 bars of 1 3/8" or 38 bars of 1 1/4". One might even consider using different bar widths for the brood chamber and the honey pot if one wanted to maximize honey storage. THough you loose your interchangeability a bit.

    You Said >
    Actually it occurs to me that this has implications for those regressing their bees. Perhaps planing the end bars down for 1 1/4" comb spacing (instead of 1 3/8") might improve the bees wanting to build smaller cells.

    I Say >
    Yeah I think I asked about this when I first started posting last month/2months ago.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Greetings,

    My combo hive has vastly outperformed both my top bar hives and my Langs. The combo hive is a 20 frame long hive. It was setup with two excluders and two deeps above that. See it at:
    http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/latest.htm

    It's toward the bottom of the page.

    Bees are stimulated to store honey above the broodnest. It appears that the long hive approach provides much more stimulation than the equivalent amount of supers stacked vertically in a standard Langstroth hive.

    Maybe the stimulating effect caused by open space above the broodnest has some kind of distance limiting component. Or maybe the empty space above a longer broodnest stimulates more bees.

    Regards
    Dennis

    [This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited August 07, 2004).]

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Hey Dennis and all!

    Question: how do the bees get from the lower unit to the top? I thought the Top bars would seal off the uppers.

    From what I have observed this combo hive would work well they really seem to like to move up more than out.

    berkey david.

    PS did the pictures today, got about half way through the tbh when comb started to collapse. it was real hot today here, 89 degrees so I shut it down.


    [This message has been edited by BerkeyDavid (edited September 07, 2004).]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi David,

    Sorry to hear about the comb. :>((( Let's forget the pictures and just get them through the winter.

    Regards
    Dennis

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    After this seasons experience, I would make my combo hive 3 boxes long rather than just the two. It ended up taller than it was long, which negated some of the advantages of using a long hive.

    Regards
    Dennis

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Have any of you top bar keepers read the articles by Walt Wright in Bee Culture? There is an article about keeping two emmpty supers on top that I have read about 20 times. I think he is on to something. And I think it has real implications for improving production in Top Bar hives. What I am interested in is how the bees get from the top bars to the supers above? Do you just space out the top bars? Or do you make them smaller at the ends to provde bee space between each bar?
    I do want to add some supers to my TBH's next year. But I am unsure how best to modify.
    These are very strong hives. But I need a way to tap into their resources. This will have tthe double benefit of swarm reduction, as pointed out by Walt Wright.

    Also his latest article about pollen storage seems to me to be right on with what I have observd in my Langs and Top Bars.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    My entrance on my top bars is the front bar is pushed back 3/8". On the medium Langstroth dimensioned one, I have 3/8" thick top bars and 3/4" frame rest rabbets, so there is a 3/8" bee space between the bars and the migratory lids I put on. I make a gap in the front by either a 1 1/4" by 3/8" notch in the front of the migratory cover, or by taking a one by four and making a short migratory cover (cleats on the ends) with a 1/4" spacer on each end to hold it up to make an entrance. I can put the super on the front with the gap in the bars in the super at the front (again) and put the one by four on top of that. Essentially, the entrance has now moved up 6 5/8" and the bees have to fly THROUGH the super to get to the brood chamber.

    If you wanted to you could leave a 1/4" gap between some other bars further back to make more communication between the super and the hive, but I figure the returning foragers can't help but notice it.

    In the past (back in the 1970's) I've also drilled 3/8" holes in the gaps between the bars, so half the hole is on each bar. But I kind of like avoiding this if I can. You could also cut notches in the bars.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    OK, I follow you. Interesting idea to put the entrance up there. That might work real well. I like the idea of the bees having to fly through the super. Does that seem to work the best for you michael?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,556

    Post

    Acutally I went to all upper entrances on all my hives. It does work well. For all sorts of reasons. Of course running them throught the super is one of them. But getting the entrance above the grass is another and keeping out skunks and mice is another. The skunks hurt me a lot last year. Didn't bother me at all this year. The mice hurt my bees a lot last winter, but I don't anticipate a problem this winter.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads