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  1. #241
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Everyone,

    I have added some additional sections to my tbh webpage. They include:

    Hot Weather Management
    Honey Production
    Honey Harvest

    They are at the bottom of
    www.geocities.com/usbwrangler/mana.htm


    Regards
    Dennis

  2. #242
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Brandon, Ms, USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    BWrangler

    Good Job on the additions you made to your tbh page. I agree that tbh beekeepers are very innovative. It has been enlightening to see and read what fellow TBHers are doing.

    Just a thought - those of us on this tbh discussion list could each take a chapter and get that TBH BeeKeepers Manual/Book knocked out. It could be an online resource for new folks picking up the TBH methodology. That might be a good project for us this winter. It is just a thought.

    Happy Hiving
    Steve

  3. #243
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,509

    Arrow

    > Barry and I talked about what kind of entrance the tbh hives should have. Research indicated that a 1 1/4" hole was optimum. Barry put that on the end of his hive. How's it working for you Barry? <

    Hi Dennis -

    My TBH is doing real well. I realized from our phone conversation that our
    TBH's are in very different settings. Yours sits out in the full sun and
    mine is in the shade all the time. I have not noticed any negative effect to
    having just the one 1-1/4" entrance hole on the hive. When the activity
    really picks up and a large field force comes back all at the same time,
    there is some congestion but the bees simply land on the side of the hive
    and work it all out in time. I don't feel my bees took any longer to build
    comb than yours did.

    I tried to really get into the hive Monday and look at every comb, but I was
    not successful. There are two frames I can get out (approx. frame 7 and 8)
    with no problem as they drew it very straight. These were the first couple of
    combs built when I started the hive. All the combs in front of and in back
    of, have curved ends and they're attached to the adjacent top bar. It gets
    worse the further away you get from these two combs. I decided not to try
    and straighten things out just so I could look at the combs. I am going to
    leave them to their own creation and see how they winter. Eventually I will
    use the bees to start some other TBH designs and then I will pull the combs
    apart and do some extensive measuring and studying of the combs.

    It's interesting that they still refuse to draw the combs down to the bottom
    of the hooped frames I made. My "frames" are about 20" deep and 20" wide.
    I'm not sure why they stopped the combs 2/3rds down. If you figure up the
    total comb area in my hive, it is very close to the same area Dennis finds
    in his, yet his bees drew the comb to the bottom (14" deep?). I know for
    sure that this hive requeened themselves as there quite a few opened queen
    cells on some of the combs. I have a gut feeling that the one swarm I got
    this year came from the TBH also. I'll try placing a standard super on top
    of this hive next year and see if they will store honey in it. What will the
    bees do next year, now that they have the combs built? Will they want to
    store more honey? Will they have a greater tendency to swarm? Things to
    watch for.

    The hinged bottom (3" x the length of the hive) I
    put on my TBH has 1/8" hardware cloth (screen) attached to the inside of the
    hive so when the bottom is open it is still bee proof. I tried to open it
    this week and found that the screen was totally covered with propolis and
    glued to the hinged bottom board. I guess they didn't even like the small
    amount of air coming in through the 1/16" gap around the bottom board. The
    hive is totally sealed up except for the 1-1/4" entrance.

    Regards,
    Barry

    [This message has been edited by Barry (edited August 17, 2003).]

  4. #244
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    28

    Post

    Hello all,
    It was pretty hot here last night. I took this picture of them bearding the hive entrance. It looked like they were dripping out of the extra hole I put in.
    Mike

  5. #245
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Mike and Everyone,

    Nice shot. That hive even looks good in the dark and especially good with bees on the front. That's about how my standard hives have looked at night since July. Is it abnormal for your area.

    On another note, I pulled supers from my standard hives and extracted with my 2 frame hand extractor. What a chore compared to harvesting comb out of my tbh and letting it drain through a nylon screen and into a bucket.

    I have been around extractors so long, I didn't think there could be an easier way.
    But comparing the two methods side by side draining beats extracting on a small scale for me. I don't think I could suggest a small extractor for any hobbyist like myself.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Thinking the tbh list was going to pass the permacomb guys. But maybe not. :< )


  6. #246

    Wink

    ...Just back to the list after a three week trip to Siberia; good to bee back in the land of hot showers and iced tea!
    --
    Thought about checking in on my TBH but after reading the horror stories of comb breaking, I've decided to wait until the temps cool a bit (high today around 105 here in my Dallas backyard). Last time I checked it (about a month ago), the bees had drawn out what can only be described as a large triangle-shaped honeycomb (due to the 22-deg slope of my hive's side walls). The comb is rather deep but seems to support the weight okay - I guess this is because the further away from the connection point at the top bar, the comb gets narrower and narrower (so the suspended weight becomes less and less). I'm planning on measuring the depth of the comb (from the top bar) the next time I go into the hive; but I'd bet to the bottom point of the triangle, it's at least 20 inches. A few earlier pictures of the comb can be seen at: http://profiles.yahoo.com/txbeeguy

  7. #247
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    28

    Post

    Hello txbeeguy,
    Those are some great pics of your TBH, and some large comb. I would be interested to know the weight of a full honey comb that size, if you were so inclined. Some quick math shows your combs are 50% larger than a standard hive showing just how strong beeswax is.
    Mike

  8. #248
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi TxBeeGuy,

    Looked in your briefcase. Nice! I know you're having fun.

    Regards
    Dennis

  9. #249

    Smile

    Yep...we're havin' fun now! The TBH has been an interesting little "experiment". This was obviously my first year with it. From everything I can see and experience, I think sloped walls on a TBH is absolutely essential. Before I built mine, I had read on some English website, that particuliar author didn't seem to think there was any difference with the bees attaching burr/brace comb between a straight (i.e., verticle) walled TBH and a sloped one. From my own personal experience, I can now say my bees haven't attached ANY comb to the sloped side walls and as can be seen, the combs are fairly large. Others with verticle walled TBH have reported varying problems along this line. Also, the technique I've used for my 'starter strips' has worked out nicely (I covered this in an earlier posting). Here in another month or two, I'll place my "bottom board" back into the TBH in preparation for winter (they've had a screened bottom, all summer long) - this should be about a one minute procedure; again, this is visible in some of my photos. I'm thinking I might make another TBH this winter and so far, I don't think I'll change a single thing.
    The bees have available to them a total of 30 top bars from which to draw out comb. My bees so far in this first year, have drawn out only about 15 (however, they are rather large combs). Next Spring, I will probably reposition the top bars in the back of the hive more towards the front to encourage them to draw out these bars. For this Winter, I will put the 'follower board' behind comb #15 to effectively make their hive space smaller. Probably the year after that, I will begin to put regular medium depth honey supers on, using the black plastic sheet techinque (also written about earlier).
    Yes, I will try to weigh a fully drawn honey comb and calculate the area of the comb so this will have meaning to you.

  10. #250
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi TxBeeGuy and Everyone,

    >I will probably reposition the top bars in the back of the hive more towards the front to encourage them to draw out these bars.

    I tried inserting empty top bars within the broodnest to get them to draw additional comb. It worked to a degree but the bees tended to draw some burr comb in the space between the combs until a significant amount of comb was built on the empty top bar.

    I think moving the broodnest to the rear of the hive and giving the bees space will work better. That's also my plan for next year.

    Regards
    Dennis

  11. #251
    Attn: BWrangler, Michael Bush (& others)

    After waiting for the temperatures to moderate a little here in north Texas, I finally opened my TBH today - first time in about six weeks. What I found: comb failure! Now, I'd like to say to BWrangler, you can give yourself a break; it apparently had nothing to do with you working your hive and the bees not being able to maintain a cool enough temperature inside the hive. My combs were looking really good, a week prior to my summer vacation trip (six weeks ago) and I thought eveything would take care of itself while I was gone. So, I wasn't working my TBH or messing around with the comb and they still suffered comb failure. I had failed comb from about five different top bars. The comb separated about five inches from the top bar and fell to the bottom of the hive. I have a screen bottom, so the bees got busy and cleaned up the spilled honey; the queen continued to lay eggs in large sections of the comb that was still oriented (more-or-less) vertically. Needless to say, I had quite a mess to clean up today - cross comb, comb attached to the sides of the hive, etc. etc. But I got the hive put back into shape and guess I will now have to feed them, if they're going to be able to draw out enough comb and store enough honey to survive the coming winter. I did put in my bottom board today; it fits above the permanently screened hive bottom. I also moved the follower board down to where the bees have access to only fifteen of the top bars (rather than the full thirty) - that was about as much comb as they pulled out this year anyway.

    I took a couple of photos of the failure but due to having a new digital camera, they weren't in focus (operator malfunction) so I probably won't post them. Just thought I'd share my experience since everyone is being so brutally honest with their TBH experiences.

    I'm inclined to believe the depth of the comb (i.e., suspended weight) obviously contributed to the comb failure, along with the hot temperatures (my hive sits in full sun also). I have a fully screened bottom and fairly large front hive opening (I'd say, on the order of four or five square inches). So my point here, is that the bees had plenty of opportunity for air circulation. I'm hoping that next year, after the comb has a chance to become more "old" - that the comb will become stiffer and stronger.

  12. #252
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Post

    I also had a screened bottom board and I wonder if it doesn't contribute to the failure. In hot weather, the bees are trying to keep a cooler than outside temperature and having too much ventilation could interfere with that.

  13. #253
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Texbeeguy, Michael and Everyone,

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss. :<(

    There's definately some aspect of management that I don't understand. I've wondered about the heigth also but have seen pictures of comb at least 5' high hanging between studs without anymore attachment that I've seen in my tbh. And the walls were essentially clapboard and the comb should have gotten very hot in that narrow space.

    And I've been quite curious about the bees desire for such a small amount of ventilation in my top bar hive. They essentially just left just a bee space at the bottom of every comb and then some communication holes around the edges of the honey storage combs. Yet they expended less effort ventilating the hive that the bees in my Langs next to them.

    For a guy like me who has used screened bottom boards, ventilated covers and drills each super with a vent hole, I was amazed at the bees apparent efficiency at ventilation in my top bar hive. They used fewer bees and fanned less often than the others.

    The comb I was working with in my tbh just before it failed was stiff. I was trimming some edges and thought all was well. Then comb I had previosly worked failed. I tried to pick it up to prevent any bee lose and couldn't it was just like a pulp! I couldn't even effectively scoop it up with the hive tool. So I just bulldozed it to the back of the hive.

    On another note, I rendered all the wax from my top bar hive and got a little over half a bread loaf pan. Not very much wax in that new comb!

    Sad Regards
    Dennis
    Knowing we'll get this kink in our top bar hive management worked out



  14. #254

    Sad

    Interesting idea, Michael. I wonder....
    ---
    I didn't try rendering my wax {yet}. Perhaps I'll do that this week - it's mainly just been a sad sight to see all that capped brood wasted but it was the only way to 'clean up' the crossed and collapsed comb. Plus, I'll still have to check back in a few days to make sure I didn't kill the queen during my "clean up".
    Oh well...better luck next year!

    Maybe I'll move the hive to an area with more shade (may not help a whole bunch but certainly couldn't hurt).

  15. #255
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Post

    The nigerian beekeeper idrisbee says they keep theirs in the shade.

    I think we need to remember that the inside temperature of a hive in the heat of summer is COOLER than the outside temperature. So maybe a SBB is counterproductive.

    Also, I found a "foundationless frame" designt that confirms my thoughts on how I will make my next top bars.
    http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/frameinstructions.htm http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm

    I think I may mill my frames to have a slope top and bottom to use with or without starter strips.

    I would like to move away from foundation altogether if I can.

  16. #256
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sapulpa,OK USA
    Posts
    174

    Smile

    I like this idea MB. After all the trials w/ just TBs and the failures everyone has had this might be the way to go. I think that a frame is a good idea. The main thing that I'm intereasted in is a horizontal hive that I can produce myself and just harvest the comb and the honey. What a about a horizontal hive that would take medium foundationless frames that would also fit into a standard medium box?

  17. #257
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Post

    I have a horizontal medium depth hive right now except I have it full of PermaComb. It is three boxes wide (16 1/4" times 3 = 48 3/4") and medium depth and it has a screened bottom board the length of the hive. It is prospering and is easy to work. I figured I would add supers on the back third of it if I needed them. I usaed a 1 x 8 (which is 7 1/4" deep) and cut the rabbet 3/4" (which leaves 3/8" beespace on top with PermaComb on spacers), cut a notch for the front door and put screen on the bottom and I have a 1/2 below the regular frames for the bottom space and 3/4" on the bottom of the PermaComb. No waste of lumber.

    I also have a standared vertical hive of all starter strips. It is also prospering, although it ended up queenless with a laying worker for a while. They did build a lot of drone comb. I was planning to convert it to horizontal also.

    I really like horizontal hives for ease of work and minimum disruption of the hive.

  18. #258
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I've got a horizontal hive using the unfoundation approach in the works also. It will be two boxes long.

    Should we start another thread for this one or tag it on to an older thread. I know Michael had a thread that would work?

    Regards
    Dennis

  19. #259
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Post

    It doesn't matter to me where we discuss it. Here's a link to the Jakson Horizontal hive. Note the frames are a solid top bar (no gaps) and a dowel for the sides and bottom. Easy to make.
    http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/

  20. #260
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Post

    I am already starting a Dadant Deep horizontal hive, with the thought that if you're only one story high, you may as well be a tall story. Since I'm not going to lift the hive I don't care if the frames are heavy. I'm thiking if I angled the top and bottom bars and put a 1/2 square piece of wood horizontally in the center at a 45 degree angle (like a diamond shape) then maybe I could get the same effect as the "foundationless" frames I mentioned above. It would have some support in the middle. It could be used for cut comb (a row above and one below) or even extracted if you were gentle. It wouldn't require foundation and it wouldn't sag much with weight in it. One could even put two horizontals in or even a couple of verticals if you wanted to. What do you think would work the best to support the comb and not interfere with natural comb building?

    The vertical version would provide support from the begining. The horizontal won't provide any support until the comb reaches the half way point.


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