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  1. #1
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    Would it be feasable to propose a contest where the beekeepers here create the perfect TBH?
    I know we have the know-how with all of us in here.
    Here's what I propose:
    Any person or persons who can develop or design the perfect TBH would be recognized here in this forum and their plans would be placed on the site for all of us to benefit.

    The perfect TBH is defined (for the purpose of this proposed contest) as:

    1. any hive that uses top-bars in the Kenyan TBH fashion.
    2. is very lightweight yet extremely durable
    3. is the least expensive to build
    4. is designed with the most ease of use by the beekeeper
    5. is demonstrated to be the most efficent and utilitarian to meet the bees' needs
    6. is the least complicated to produce

    Anybody who would like to amend or add to this suggestion is welcome as it is merely a rough proposal.

    ANY THOUGHTS on how we could reward the winner would be much appreciated as well. It seems that some are more responsive when it comes to monetary rewards!

    Of course the contest would take time (at least a year)so as to prove the qualifications 1-6, but it would give us time to consider how to show appreciation to the designer of the best TBH.

    Please add any thoughts to this.
    Is this even a consideration?
    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    930

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    I think this is unrealistic. TBHs are designed by region and what is good for one climate may not be good for another.

    A "perfect" TBH in Florida would probably do poorly in New Hampshire, and a TBH for Hew Hamshire would probably be very swarmy in Florida.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,320

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    It would be nice to have a plan that we know works. I'm not sure your criteria is necessary or not. It think it needs to be easy to build, have comb sturdy enough to survive careful working of the hive and arranged so that the bees are productive and overwinter well.

    >1. any hive that uses top-bars in the Kenyan TBH fashion.

    According to Satterfield, it doesn't matter if the sides are sloped. I'm not convinced yet one way or the other but am leaning toward the Kenya style as being better. But what if it doesn't matter? I have built one of each for this year. A Kenya and a straight sided one. The straight sided one is a medium depth box.

    >2. is very lightweight yet extremely durable

    Durable is nice. Lightweight probably doesn't matter. It will be too heavy to pick up once it's full of bees.

    >3. is the least expensive to build

    That's a good criteria. But then scrounging is the best way to make it cheap and we don't all have access to the same trash. I have no doubt one could be made entirely from construction scraps. I haven't had time to go scrounging for construction scraps.

    >4. is designed with the most ease of use by the beekeeper

    It would be hard to improve on the ease of a top bar hive, but there probably are a few tweaks that could improve them. Having a rack to put bars of comb on helps. But these kinds of things need to be balanced with simplicity of construction.

    >5. is demonstrated to be the most efficent and utilitarian to meet the bees' needs

    I don't know how you would measure this. We all speculate a lot, but an objective measument is, I think, impossible. Also a hive tha overwinters well in Toas, NM, may not be the one that overwinters well in Buffalo, NY.

    >6. is the least complicated to produce

    I agree

    I also think there will be some variation in the end products that work well. Several might be quite different but work fine for the bees and the beekeeper.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    930

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    If this is the only reason this is a good reason why kenya styles are better. When you lift the comb, it clears the walls almost immediately.

  5. #5
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    I suppose I was hoping for a plan that everyone could use and make adaptations for their area, but overall a "better TBH".
    When I wrote #3 I was thinking about materials that we all can find easily wherever we might be. I agree one could probably construct one with materials that were completely free of expense.

    I suppose I was also hoping for a tad bit of interest as well. We could all benefit from the resulting ideas, right?
    Jason

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

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    Scott:

    I do not agree that ease of lifting combs out of the Kenya or Somali hives make them any better than the straight sided hives.

    There are times when lifting deeps out of a Langstroth when you want to be careful not to mash any bees on the end bars. After than first comb you simply turn your frame/comb to a slight diagonal and you get exacty the same effect that you get by lifting a comb in a sloped box.

    There may be other reasons to favor the slope-sided boxes but I would not rate ease of comb removal as a critical factor.

    After all the reading of comb collapse, the choice of slopes, volume, entrances etc I am beginning to do some reconsideration.

    Our beekeeping is not at all like that in Africa. We overwinter bees. We treat our bees. We requeen and split. Our hives last half a man's lifetime.

    I am wondering if it might not be worth the extra trouble to build a hive that imitated the catenary slope of natural comb. Start with a 1 x 6, go up the side with a slope 60 degrees off the vertical for the width of a common 1 x 8, then either straight up with a 1 x 4 or at a slope 13 degrees off vertical like the Hardison hive. Volume on this would be very low unless the top member was made of the 1 x 6 in which case it would approximate 70 litres per meter.
    Ox

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I've also considered a more complex curve on the sides, but part of the appeal of a TBH is that it is easy to build yourself. If it gets too complicated, then I may as well used frames instead of bars and eliminate the problems with comb collapse.

    But it might be interesting to try anyway just for fun.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    716

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    I have my plans drawn but have not cut the boards and made sure everything fits. I plan on putting my plans on my web page which the link will be posted. If my frames turn out nice and easy to make I will put the plans for them up as well.

    The main problem I find with your list is that I can not make it light weight and free. My hives will be made of 2xs because I get them free for picking them up at home building sites. I even get some plywood and OSB boards. I am going to make a TBH out of plywood with 2x frame if I get around to it in time for swarm trapping. As MB said you would not be able to carry them when they are full of bees and comb by oneself. I have no plans on moving mine once they are set(I know thing happen so I will not put them on post or anything perminet).

    I do hope everyone that has a TBH plan that works for them to show it to the rest of us. These must be easy to make and cheap to make or I would stay with foundationless frames. From seeing the hives that work we can make improvements to ours.

    About the frame/bar rest, I plan on putting one on the end of my hive. With me using 2xs for the hive body these will be made ad screwed on the back end of the hive. I have not settled on the design of this yet. I am thinking I will make it hold 3 bars. One of the things I was thinking about was a triangle peice of 2X as the jobs sites have plenty of them. Then I have alot of commercial shelfing units which I have extra shelf arms for.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Of course there is the problem of how to judge them. Do we all vote on our favorite. Of course MINE will be my favorite. It is EXACTLY how *I* would build one.

    I had a boss once who stated something he thought was intuitively obvious and yet overlooked by many of us a lot of the time. EVERYONE thinks their idea is better because they thought of it. Obviously THEIR idea is more in line with THEIR way of thinking and that's WHY they thought of it.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    oxankle,
    You miss the point, its not a matter of ease, its a matter of if you do not "clear" the walls nearly immediate you endanger the comb because you are "draging" against the side of the tTBH. Its just a matter of reducing stress on the combs during manipulation.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
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    491

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    Scott;

    No, I got your point, and it is valid. I simply contend that you get the same clearance just by turning the comb on a slight diagonal in the straight-sided hive. Not as MUCH clearance, but plenty.

    However, the more I study these matters the more I think that I have built my last straight sided hive. Fortunately they are SO easy to rebuild.
    Ox

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Sapulpa,OK USA
    Posts
    174

    Big Grin

    I was glad to see someone mention plywood and 2x scap lumber. I have a lot of 1/2" and 3/4 plywood scraps and some 2x scaps as well. (I'm building a house). I have been thinking about design that would work with plywood. I was thinking about making a 1x2 frame and then glueing and screwing the plywood to it. With 1x2 edging to the outside and the plywood to the inside of the hive. The 1x2 would serve as a nailer so the sides could be attached. What do y'all think of this method?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >I was glad to see someone mention plywood and 2x scap lumber. I have a lot of 1/2" and 3/4 plywood scraps and some 2x scaps as well. (I'm building a house). I have been thinking about design that would work with plywood. I was thinking about making a 1x2 frame and then glueing and screwing the plywood to it. With 1x2 edging to the outside and the plywood to the inside of the hive. The 1x2 would serve as a nailer so the sides could be attached. What do y'all think of this method?

    If you design it right it will work very well. I use 1 x 2 frames around sheets of PlexiGlas for my lanstroth size observation hives.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    B28:

    If you will build your end pieces out of 2x material you will not need any nailers there. You might want to use a nailer where the sides attach to the bottom, but the 2x end pieces work fine. (I'm thinking 1/2 inch plywood and up. Thinner plywood and you might want bracing on the top edges too. I am using 2x end pieces and am sold on that method.
    Ox

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    716

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    I made one lang box out of 3/4 plywood that was scrapped. The problem I found with plywood(but have not had with advantech chipboard) was when prying inner cover off it splintered alot. My idea was to use 2Xs for the end and then tack a 3/4 X 2 board across the top for the top bars to rest on for easy prying up. This will also add strength to the plywood so it will not bow outward. But plywood is much cheaper than solid wood.

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