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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I've done a little experimenting in my new tbhs this year. I used a 1/8" high wooden spline to guide the bees in centering comb on a top bar. On another set of top bars I included a vertical comb reinforcement.

    The edges of the spline and the reinforcement were rubbed with beeswax, much like one would wax a cross country sky.

    Well, this didn't work too well. The bees would often start comb on the spline and then move off center to one side or the other of the spline.

    As the edges of the comb construction approached the vertical reinforcement, the bees would angle the comb around the reinforcement. The comb on one end of the top bar would curve toward the front of the hive. The comb on the other end would curve toward the rear of the hive.

    I went back and applied melted beeswax to the edges of the spline and the reinforcement. The bees are now building comb centered on the spline and attaching it to the reinforcements.

    Melted beeswax works much better while just rubbing it on the surface was worthless. The bees actually removed the rubbed wax from the spline.

    I have also inserted a half dozen top bars with just a saw kerf filled with melted beeswax. This worked as well as beeswax starter strips did last year. Will let everyone know how this little test turns out.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Thinking a beeswax filled saw kerf is alot easier than splines, et al.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Dennis
    my experience (limited as it is as a first year rookie) is consistent. I liberally brushed melted beeswax on the spline. I have had real good success, in two of my hives I have not had to do any reconfiguring of the comb, nor has any of it been attached to the sides. Only hive with problems was the one where they combed in the queen cage.
    In that hive I repeatedly tried to rework the comb. I was losing brood. So I finally decided to just isolate the three bars which were cross combed and let them alone. They have returned to the "straight and narrow" throughout the rest of the hive.
    I think I will try to eventually "retire" that cross comb section (if that is possible and I cannot get it fixed)_. My only concern is the bee inspector may not know what to do about a TBH.

    Since I am a new beekeeper I am told that I can expect a visit (I registered my hives as required by law).

    Any advice out there or experience in dealing with inspectors and TBH?

    Cheers!

    David

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Dennis:

    Please keep us posted on the success of tthe saw kerf!~ wow that would sure be easier!

    david

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

    Post

    I built mine and used a 1/2" x 1/8" thick wooden spline on the top bar. I hived a swarm into it about 12 days ago and it is doing very well considering how small the swarm was. (about 1 1/2 lb) Nice straight comb centered on the spline. No beewax or anything. Now they have made attachment to the side of the hive but no biggie, hacksaw blade took care of that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Berkey,
    My suggestion regarding the inspector is have you hives in good condition before you invite him to inspect your hives. If they are slightly cross combed or not in the best condition, I think you may have a battle on your hand if you want to keep the hives. If your combs are straight and regular, then I think the inspector will have nothing to take exception about. The purpose of moveable frames is to facilitate inspectability, if your top bar hives are as easily inspectable as a lang, then there should be no problem. If you are keen on it, work your bees without a veil while the inspector is there. Make sure you work the hives and let the inspector inspect but don't let him work them until you are confident he won't do any damage. The reason is not a lack of confidence in the inspector, the reason is you don't want the inspect breaking your combs and then ordering you to replace your TBHs with langs because of HIS mistakes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I register my hives but have never seen an inspector, except at the annual bee club picnic. And that's with over 35 years experience with lots of bees :> ). In my state they like to stay in the capitol and work on budgets, etc. :> ))

    I would check around with other beekeepers and see if you have anything to worry about. Most states have eliminated the bee people due to budget constraints.

    Regards
    Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    I don't know of any states that have any laws other than the reqirement of "movable combs". Any hive can get crosscombed and any inspector can complain about it or find that it is not in compliance even if it's a Lanstroth hive.

    I don't think there will be any problems with the inspector as long as you straighten out or retire the cross combed sections, but you may have to point out that the combs have to handled carefull and not turned horizontally. It is a bad habit of beekeepers with frames. But I doubt you will ever see an inspector unless you request one.

    I have had the best luck ever with the 45 degree (each side) angled piece on the top bar and 1 1/4" wide bars. The bees have stayed within 1/8" of the center of it and stayed on the bars for every comb. The bevel also keeps the frames centered in the hive. I probably will not try anything else after the success of this. I do expect (from previous experience) that they will want to build wider spaced combs outside of the brood nest and I have wider bars for that.

    This has been my best top bar hive yet. The smaller sized combs and the angled sides on the comb seem much more supportable.

    So far the medium depth one is working fine too and has the advatage of being able to take frames if I want. But the comb still seems more supportable with the natural shape of the angled sides.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I was only making the suggestion of having the hive looking good first because it removes any potential issues. In my state, the law is stated "Movable Langstroth-Style Frame" or something to that effect. It doesn't quite say you must have a lang, but it sure does point towards that direction. Therefore I am making sure everything is in tip top condition.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    It always helps. "An ounce of appearance is worth a pound of performance." Murphy

    I had not seen any Apiary laws that specified "Langstroth" or "Langstroth type" before. The ones I've read that far use the term "movable comb".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    I checked the TBH again today. I generally don't even smoke it and they are very docile. They have built comb on 15 bars now and all looks well and all of them are in the center of the bars. I am VERY pleased with this design so far.

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

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Here's an prliminary update on my spline type top bars versus the wax filled kerf.

    I place the wax filled kerf type top bars at the back end of the broodnest right next to the splined type top bar with comb on them.

    The comb was slightly off center toward the rear of the hive on the splined top bars. But the bees centered the next comb on the wax filled kerf top bars right on the kerf, even though it was too close to the adjacent comb on the splined top bar. They modified the older comb to make it fit.

    Regards
    Dennis


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    Dennis:
    I am using the splines with wax PAINTED on the splines. So far the bees are staying on course, but as you know when you paint the splines you also get wax on the bar here and there.

    Were you especially careful not to get wax anywhere but on the spline, or did you paint some on the bar too?

    Second; When you filled the kerfs with wax, were you especially careful to keep it all in the kerf, or is some of that wider in spots too?

    This may be a factor. If they have a spot where there is wax a half inch wide they may wander off the spline/kerf. Let us know about this as it may be a critical factor.

    My own hives are not that far along; one has about ten combs, the other is only a week old. Both are on splines.

    If it turns out that keeping the wax in the kerf/on the spline is critical, it seems to me that the kerf will be easier to control as you can do that with a wax dripper from Kelley or you can make one out of copper pipe.
    Ox

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    >If it turns out that keeping the wax in the kerf/on the spline is critical, it seems to me that the kerf will be easier to control as you can do that with a wax dripper from Kelley or you can make one out of copper pipe.

    I have one and they are easy to use to do a lot of waxing, but you still spill it here and there.

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

    Post

    Hi Oxankle,

    >Were you especially careful not to get wax >anywhere but on the spline, or did you >paint some on the bar too?

    I was very careful with the wax on the splined top bars. I inverted the bar so the splines were on the bottom side. Then I dropped one end of the bar until beeswax would flow along the bottom edge of the spline.

    I thought that maybe wax odor was important, so I was very careful not to get any wax on the top bars.

    >Second; When you filled the kerfs with wax, >were you especially careful to keep it all >in the kerf, or is some of that wider in >spots too?

    I used a spoon to fill them. After they were cool, excess wax was scrapped off using a hive tool. That left just the wax filled kerf and just a wax film where it had overflowed.

    Some thoughts.

    Maybe I was too careful while waxing the spline. A more liberal application of wax to the spline has worked for others.

    I have noticed that the bees will remove wax from the spline and use it on the comb when it's off center. It was very obvious when I just rubbed wax on the splines.

    There may be a certian wax thickness that the bees accept rather than move. With lots of wax on the spline or trapped in kerf, the bees use it rather than move it.

    I had assumed that the wax odor might guide the bees and so was very careful about the spills. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

    Regards
    Dennis



    [This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited May 28, 2004).]

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    My first TBH with starter strips waxed into grooves they would follow the strips if it suited them and ignor them completely and build a comb 1/8" over if it didn't.

    With this one with the bevled bars, they are still building all the combs perfectly down the middle on every bar and these are 1 1/4" spacing with a package of large cell bees on it.

    I've finished my experiment. I will build them all with beveled top bars from now on.

    I also love how they stay centered in the hive with the bevel hanging down in the hive to keep the bar from sliding sideways.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    I just built the body of my first TBH I was i basically followed yout plans Dennis and was planning to go with the saw knerf. My question is how wide and deep does it need to be I will be ripping the bars tommorrow.
    MIKI

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Post

    When I was doing the bars with the kerfs and starter strips the bees seemed to go in line with the strip but would cheat on the spacing. Made the bars 1 1/2" wide but the bees would cheat over a little on each bar. They seemed to prefer about 1 3/8" when they were still large bees. They went to 1 1/4" as they regressed and then they go to the honey section and went to 1 1/2".

    So this time I made the brood nest bars 1 1/4" and the honey section 1 1/2". I'll juggle them around as they decide to start storing honey instead of brood.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi Miki,

    I made the saw kerf the width of the blade, aboout 1/8" and about the same depth.

    Regards
    Dennis

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Thanks guys,
    Mike, I'll watch for the variance. Dennis I started my web site. Went with prohost, I'll post the pics there when its done. Target date for the bees is 15 June.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Boynton Beach, Florida, USA
    Posts
    278

    Post

    Hi Miki and Everyone,

    Looking forward to bookmarking your site.

    Regards
    Dennis

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