10-04-2003, 07:11 PM
Since this was (is) my first year with a TBH, I have found it a little interesting [challenging] to figure out how to apply TM this Fall. I typically use TM patties to accomplish this and since there's "no boxes" to set it between, it presents a problem unique to TBHs. My top bars also don't have notches cut in them so applying it as a sugar/powder mixture isn't a solution either.
I have no idea if this will work but I put some on the 'landing board' (just slightly inside the hive) and some more (patty version) on the bottom board. Since my TBH is a fairly "deep" V-shaped construction, it remains to be seen if they will consume the patty on the bottom board. Guess I'll report my findings later...
How are you guys doing this?
10-04-2003, 10:05 PM
The last time I fed TM was 28 years ago and I used it in syrup.
10-05-2003, 08:50 AM
Why do you not preventatively treat with TM? Have you never had a problem with foulbrood (either EFB or AFB)?
(Putting TM in syrup is not a recommended method for distributing TM)
10-05-2003, 07:31 PM
>Why do you not preventatively treat with TM? Have you never had a problem with foulbrood (either EFB or AFB)?
I have never had any kind of foulbrood. I think using TM just masks any problems you have. It's an opportunistic disease that attacks weak colonies. Also if you treat for prevention then you contribute to the whole TM resistant AFB problem. Perhaps if I ever had AFB I would have a different attitude.
>(Putting TM in syrup is not a recommended method for distributing TM)
No it is not because the TM breaks down quicker in the syrup. But 28 years ago when I did it was the recommended method.
10-06-2003, 06:21 AM
My inclination is to say, if you've never had a problem with foulbrood in 28 years of beekeeping, as prevalent as foulbrood spores are, then you've either been very, very lucky or truly, you're on to something. I don't know which.
I don't agree that it's an opportunistic disease, attacking only a weak colony. Just after writing the previous sentence, I went back and reviewed my copy of "The Hive and the Honey Bee" - specifically, chapter 25, the section on diseases and pests of honeybees. Nothing I read in this book alludes to it being an opportunistic disease. It appears to me, for a hive to be infected, only active spores and larvae of the correct age have to come in contact with one another. And "peventative treatment" is one of the few measures available to counter this particuliar threat.
I do note, they mention varying degrees of natural resistance existing in some honeybee genetics - and being a "big fan" (i.e., believer) of letting/encouraging honeybees to develop their own native resistance to such things (including Varroa mites, as an example) - I'm inclined to consider your "non-treatment" idea. The main problem I have, is that if your hives become infected, your options become so drastically limited - in the case of AFB, having to destroy equipment. Unlike mite treatment, where you can just "begin again" and perhaps use Apistan or Checkmite next time around, foulbrood is a little different animal (so to speak).
Anyway, this is probably becoming 'off-topic' and better belongs to the "disease and pest" forum. Back to my main question (assuming that you ARE treating with TM), are there any recommendations as to HOW to treat a TBH with TM?
10-06-2003, 07:23 AM
Part of the reason I mentioned the syrup is that was the recommended method of administration at one time. The only real problem with it was that in syrup it breaks down quicker. Obviously it did work, it's just that other methods were determined to be more foolproof. One problem was if the bees didn't take the syrup right away it lost it's effectivness. The point is that feeding it in syrup does work and that might be an option for you. I suppose you could pull out a couple of the empty bars at the end, space them all apart and dust them.
As to the opportunistic quality of AFB, the spores are in all bee combs all the time. Why does one hive get an outbreak and most don't?
10-06-2003, 09:12 AM
> Why does one hive get an outbreak and most don't?
I guess that was the "luck of the draw" that I was referring to earlier. According to THHB, there is only a three day window for larvae to be susceptible to the bacteria. And since the live bacteria is encapsulated in a very tough spore Â– it appears to me that the "right conditions" for an infection are quite happenstance. I'm not sure the entomologist (or microbiologist) have a very good handle/understanding of what causes the hard outer shell of the spore to breakdown, releasing the live bacteria. And certainly timing plays a role; when (and IF) the spore breaks down, the release of the bacteria must be in physically close proximity to the correctly aged larvae (i.e., to be ingested by the larvae).
10-06-2003, 09:20 AM
Forgot to mention, your syrup idea is (sounds) reasonable to me. The Terra-patties or repeated TM/sugar dusting procedure, currently recommended, are only to extend the exposure time of the bees to the TM. If they take down the syrup (at the correct LD strength), I see no reason why that shouldn't work. And my TBH is set up to handle an entrance feeder - so that might be a way to go. (Guess I'll wait now to see how they treat the TM patty on the bottom board).
10-06-2003, 10:17 AM
TM has a very short life if wet and in the sun. Feeding the stuff inside the hive where it's dark would be better.
When working as a commercial beekeeper, TM was routinely feed in extender patties. With my own hobby bees, I used to feed the stuff routinely, but stopped a decade ago. Except for one recent occurance, I've had no problems, but I am surrounded by beekeepers.
I would only use TM now if the disease were obvious. I would remove the infected comb, a very easy task in a tbh. And I would dust them with a varroa blaster.
A varroa blaster can be used to disperse the TM as well as to dust the hive for mites with powdered sugar. They are easy to make. Just take a large, plastic gatoraide or similar bottle. I like the large salsa bottles because of the handle. Drill some very small holes in the plastic cap. Fill the bottle 1/3 full with the TM/powdered sugar. Place a piece of panty hose nylon material over the open end and screw the lid down locking the material in place.
When the blaster is squeezed, a very fine smoke like dust comes out. Rap the bottom of the blaster on something solid to restore it's performance if the cloth becomes clogged with lumpy sugar.
I think several blasts from the back of the hive and under the comb would get enough TM powder up toward the front without moving each comb.
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited October 06, 2003).]
10-06-2003, 12:43 PM
BWrangler, that also sounds like a workable solution. Yes, I understand the syrup problem but "fogging them" also appears to have a couple of drawbacks. First, like you said, you'd want to do it from the back of the hive to keep from getting TM directly on open/young brood cells which are more toward the front of the hive. But then, that would have you directly dusting "potential" eatable honeycomb (at the back of the hive).
Perhaps I can live with the latter problem if my idea of putting a regular medium-depth honey super above the top bars works. The idea involves removing one top bar and covering the remaining top bars with a black plastic sheet that has a slit cut in it to allow the bees access to the honey super. The assumption is that the bees will not build filler comb due to the flexing/unstable nature of the plastic sheet but would go up to store honey in the super. In that way, it wouldn't matter if the comb at the back of the TBH was fogged with TM or not.
10-06-2003, 07:41 PM
I've got a webpage up on my powdered sugar varroa blaster if you're interested:
10-30-2003, 01:06 PM
I've been thinking that maybe bwrangler is on to something on the ventilation aspects. In a TBH the bees have more freedom to build things the way they want them and therefore to set up the ventilation the way they want. And in the end they seem to ventilate less. When we put an open screened bottom board on them, we change the ventilation substantially. I'm begining to think part of the comb failure is due to the screened bottom board. Also, we do change the ventilation while working the hive, which on a hot day could cause problems.
I'm thinking a closed SBB would be more natural.
How much do you think our "beespace" around the frames in a Lanstroth hive interferes with the bees ventilation plans?
I'm starting to plan my next TBH experiment for the spring.
10-30-2003, 01:58 PM
I chatted with Barry B. about his top bar hive the other day. He didn't have any comb failures and, if I understand correctly, stuck strickly to the optimum requirements for a hive cavity. I think it has only one entrance hole about 1 1/4" diameter.
Any details, Barry?
I must admit that for several days after opening my failed top bar hive I sure wished that it had a screened bottom instead of the solid one. But the difference in strength between the unworked comb and those that I had mangled kept coming back to me. I am sure that the hive would be intact today if I hadn't meddled with it.
But I've got alot to learn and am thinking about next years tbh and long hive with natural comb as well. It is just too fascinating to give up on now!
Anyone have a new top bar hive project in the works. Would enjoy hearing of the details.
10-30-2003, 07:02 PM
> would be intact today if I hadn't meddled with it
Not from my experience! I was gone to Russia for a month so my TBH had nobody "meddling" with it and it's comb still failed. My TBH also had a screened bottom - so there should have been plenty of air circulation.
I'm thinking the only change I'm going to make on it next year is to place it in the shade. It's present location exposes it to sun virtually all day. We'll see how that works out. Plus, the combs that did manage to survive should be harder and much stronger next year.
10-30-2003, 07:42 PM
This is getting off the current subject, but I want to build a new TBH for next year with sloped sides. What is the best angle to use for the sides?
My current top bar hive has a fully screened bottom, but a knot hole that's a little over an inch in diameter for the entrance (the only entrance). I haven't had any problems with comb tearing away from the top bars. My hives get full sun during the Summer until about two o'clock, then are shaded. Don't know if that makes any difference.
10-31-2003, 06:36 AM
I'm not sure any "scientific" answer exists for the slope of the side, but 22 degrees or so off of vertical is popular. I've used it and it worked well. I think we are all wondering if less would still not get attached too much and if less slope would be weaker or stronger.
11-02-2003, 08:34 AM
"I chatted with Barry B. about his top bar hive the other day. He didn't have any comb failures and, if I understand correctly, stuck strickly to the optimum requirements for a hive cavity. I think it has only one entrance hole about 1 1/4" diameter."
Hi Dennis -
When is this TBH discussion going to out post the Permacomb thread? Let's go!
I had no comb failure, just bees that failed to build a hive full of comb. No screen bottom on the hive or upper ventilation, just an 1-1/4" hole at the end, or is it the beginning? Remember though, I had modified "frames" and not true top bars. Mine have some wires in them too. I also left them alone for the most part. Did very little hive inspection. I hope to tear into it more next year and see what they are doing.
11-08-2003, 05:52 PM
I have noticed that not every comb gets equally attached to the sidewalls of my tbh. But those storage combs that are full of honey are almost completely connected to the sidewall. Could it be possible that the bees can determine the amount of stress or stretch that is occuring on a specific comb and reinforce it by attaching it to the sidewall?
On another note, I was looking at the shape of some of the comb failure that occured last summer. The comb didn't fail along a horizontal or vertical line, but rather along an catenary type shape. That's the shape that a substance will take to equalize the forces under compression.
One way to create that kind of force that wasn't discussed before would be if the weight of the comb caused the top bar to deform. The top bar supported by its ends would bend the greatest amount at its midpoint. The comb could be stretched on the ends and compressed in middle.
I didn't notice any obvious top bar sagging. And I sure don't know how import a factor it could be as beeswax behaves very diffently when it's warm. Maybe it would take very little deformation to contribute to a failure.
Just some pondering on a Wyoming winter day.
When plucking the comb, thunk is ok but twang means glue er in...pronto in bee talk
11-08-2003, 05:53 PM
Hi Barry and Everyone,
I have an idea on how to pass all those permacomb guys.
I will let everyone know as soon as I can figure out how to get permacomb attached to a top bar.
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited November 08, 2003).]
11-21-2003, 01:24 AM
Some of you know me from the yahoo groups and a few post here. I plan on using what I got as far as lumber and tools goes. I have 2 X 4-12 left overs from job sites. I am going to make a long hive(2 langs long) and atleast do some experimenting with TBHs.
Other than weight of the hive do you see a down side to using thick lumber as I do not plan on moving the hives?
Will the added thickness give more insulation in winter?
How hard will it be cutting the angles needed to make a sloping sided TBH with just a skill saw and hand saws but no table saw? I may just use TBs for honey storage this year above my long hive.