I've got bees in two top bar hives. I modified last years top bar hive and built another one of a new design.
I have also built a combo hive that can function as a top bar or long hive.
You can see some pictures at:
Click on the 'Last Hive' link to see what I did to last years hive.
Click on the 'Best Hive' link to get a few more pictures of the best hive I've ever built and of the combo hive.
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited June 25, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited August 07, 2004).]
>I have also built a combo hive that can function as a top bar or long hive.
Mine last year was virtually identical to this one. I liked it alot until the combs all collapsed.
I have just stocked a Hardison type hive and have a Crowder design ready and waiting for a swarm.
I like your gabled roof. As for hive dimensions, I think the shallower hive will have less danger of comb collapse here in Ok.
Also, a really thriving hive will have to be harvested more than once a season if it cannot be supered. A hive built exactly to the dimension of either width or length of a Langstroth could be supered with a Langstroth super, a considerable advantage.
Such a hive could also be STARTED with a Langstroth brood nest simply by placing the brood nest above the top bars and as far from the entrance as possible. Such an arrangement would require only a modified top for the TBH. Used in its design configuration the gabled top of your design would do a fine job. I think your top design is better looking than most and it will certainly shed water and insulate better than flat tops.
I got into the tbhs today. My first impressions of the wooden spline rubbed with beeswax are somewhat unfavorable. The bees tend to start on one side or the other of the spline rather than centering the comb on it.
I removed the topbars and ran melted beeswax down the bottom edge of the spline. I hope this will improve their performance.
Last year I used 3/8" to 1/2" starter strips. They were too heigh. Although the bees readily centered their comb on them, 1/4" proved a better heigth.
The best choice, so far, has been a beeswax filled saw kerf down the center of each top bar. I tried it last year and the bees easily centered on it and built strong comb from the very start.
I am still trying too hard to 'help' my bees. I must repeat 100 times, "Less is more". :> )
My two most interesting ones are a plain 3/8" thick bar 1 3/8" wide that I'm using just to see what they build. I had a blank starter strip down the middle of the middle one and nothing on the rest. So far they are centered as well as anything I've done.
My favorite so far is the 90 degree bevel nailed on the bottom of the bar. The connections are strong and the combs are all centered. They do curve a little on the ends, as do all the other methods I've used. These are spaced 1 1/4" and it was a package of large cell bees.