After listening to all the talk I have been thinking about the most practical TBH features. Limulus pointed out that TBH's for pollination can be very small. Michael mentioned a "drop" on the bar to keep it centered on the hive. This led to my recollection that in many cases the bees build small irregularities into comb that make it advisable to keep combs in the same order rather than swapping them around willy nilly.
Yesterday I walked past a stack of ammo boxes. Good wooden boxes that I thought might make storage boxes but which I never used. Took one of them apart, got two boards nine and a quarter wide by thirty three inches, four boards four and a quarter inches x thirty three.
Cut two end pieces out of some scrap 2 x l0, made a Crowder-style hive. Drilled three one inch holes on one side near the end. This produces almost exactly the l5 sq cm opening the researchers claim is optimum.
Cut the bars langstroth length (which is what the Crowder design uses), ripped a shallow kerf for wax, then cut a 1/8 inch step on each end. The step is the depth of the kerf, so the kerf does not run out the end of the bar. The box takes l8 bars plus about a 3/4 inch spacer.
I then numbered the bars; If the bees get a bit off track it will not matter so long as the combs go back where they came from. This happens from time to time in Langstroth hives and is no great problem. Such combs can always be straightened or removed at the proper time.
When all was done I built a telescoping top for the hive--. The top bars, the top of the telescoping cover and the end pieces were all I had to find. Total out of pocket cost about $3 for the hive, another $2 to get a piece of flashing to cover the top.
This is a small TBH, 1.42 cu ft, 4 bars longer than those described as pollination hives by Dr. Wyatt Mangum. However, as nearly as I can tell from the pictures I've seen, his hives are built on the Hardison pattern.
I'm going to try to get bees in the thing this month so that I can see how it winters. With NWC bees it should be ok.
I think I have figured out how to post pictures, so you can see this new hive at
[This message has been edited by Oxankle (edited May 31, 2004).]
Utilizing available resources is one of the great advantages of using tbhs, especially if going commercial with tbhs.
I think a sideline operation could be setup with very little capital investment.
I haven't been able to view your pictures at photostep.com. Couldn't find an oxankle there. And I would like to see them.
[This message has been edited by topbarguy (edited June 19, 2004).]
Sorry for the delayed reply; been in the hospital with a kidney stone.
The complete URL seems to be: HTTP://oxankle.photostep.com/
If this does not work, email me and I will email the pics.
The new, short, Crowder hive is shown on the patio table. The apiary pictures show longer hives, one Crowder one Hardison, plus a couple of new Langs that I caught.
Honeyflow is over here. Since I have been in the hospital we have had about 3+ inches of rain and nothing is happening. It will be time to take off the honey very soon now.
The link worked. Neat top bar hive.