Went to visit berkeydavid yesterday.The tbh hives are cool i like all the natural comb. To bad we are haveing monsoons again.we got to look in one between the rain drops.I would have loked to look abit more but told dave we better leave them alone in bad weather.IT looks like things are going well for Dave so far.He and his girls are lucky he has his own clover farm! It was a great visit.
Aren't they just the neatest thing? I love going and looking at my KTBH. I could stand with my head in it for hours. I am planning on making a split next week and building a deep tanzanian type so I can use the frames out of my Langstroth hives. Does anyone know a good way to join two boards together for the sides of my hive. I have a bunch of 1x8 lumber and need to add a smidge to it so a standard deep frame will fit. Thanks
If you want to add 3/4" or so I just cut the pieces and nail through them into the edge.
If you want to add 2" or so, I just build it like a shallow box and connect it with the hive moving staples.
My "Tansinian" style is a long medium depth hive. I didn't have any luck with a deep I tried last year. The deep comb collapsed when the weather got hot.
So I built a medium depth instead. I just used 1 x 8 (7 1/4") and cut 3/4" dado for the frame rest (to leave a 3/8" bee space above) and that leaves enough space below, and screened the bottom and added some cross 1 x 2's on the ends and two in the middle and then cut treated 2 x 2's to fit as rails on the sides with a dado for a "tray" on the bottom made out of corragated plastic.
I didn't even have to rip the 1 x 8's.
My recommendation, and I am suprised that Michael didn't make the same recommendation. Is to avoid trying to make your TBHs compatible with your langs, especially for deeps.
What happens with the longer top bars is an increase in mechanical stress. Couple that with depth of deep super and you are asking for trouble. If you really need a lang compatible hive, make the hive the height of a shallow or medium.
I recommend you stick with a top bar length of 15-16" on the inside of the hive. My top bars are 18" long, but the inside of the hive is 16" across. My hive height is 9-10" depending on how well I cut the wood. and the bottom board is 7" (because that's what a 1x8 is). I do recommend these dimensions for a top bar hive. They are working for me right now, and similar dimensions have been more successful designs with our collective experience I think. TopBarGuy seems to have some luck iwth larger dimensions, but the rest of us have seen more comb failures when using larger sizes like he does. I think its becuase he leaves his hives alone more, and doesn't disturb the comb attachments as they occur as much. If you are like me and you want to manipulate you hive more on a weekly, bi-weekly or semi-weekly basis, then I think you are better of with the smaller dimensions and make the hive longer to support a larger number of combs to offset the loss of volume per comb.
Take a look at http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/beewiki for a little more detail of TopBarHives, and design. I encourage all of us that have some experience with TopBarHives to read and contibute to the site. It only helps all of us to have our collective experiences bundled together.
Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives
I am trying to do a split from a lang with brood and such in deeps. Moving from the deeps to a TBH. Any ideas?
Scott said: >My recommendation, and I am suprised that Michael didn't make the same recommendation. Is to avoid trying to make your TBHs compatible with your langs, especially for deeps.
I had previously said: >>My "Tansinian" style is a long medium depth hive. I didn't have any luck with a deep I tried last year. The deep comb collapsed when the weather got hot.
I thought that's what I said.
Scott said: >I recommend you stick with a top bar length of 15-16" on the inside of the hive. My top bars are 18" long, but the inside of the hive is 16" across. My hive height is 9-10" depending on how well I cut the wood. and the bottom board is 7" (because that's what a 1x8 is). I do recommend these dimensions for a top bar hive. They are working for me right now, and similar dimensions have been more successful designs with our collective experience I think.
I agree. Personally I have two experiments going right now. One with a 15" bar about 9-10" deep with sloped sides. My bottom board is a 1 by 6 (5 1/2") and it's nailed through the 1 by 6 up into the sides so it's actualy only 4" wide at the bottom.
After that first failure, I don't plan to try one that deep again without the short bar and the sloped sides. If you watch a comb as you pick it up and manuver it you'll see the the corners seem to cause the stess. The longer and the more "out there" the corners are the more stress. The more sloped or rounded the less stress.
The other experiment is a long medium depth box with standard Lang dimensions. This is to see if the longer bars and square sides might work with less weight of comb hanging from it. So far this seems to work. Again the corners are out there, but three inches less than a deep. So far this seems to make a lot of difference.
Both of my hives are currently doing well. Both have advantages. Before I make a lot more of either I will wait and see how they "summer" and how they "winter". I'd hate to build ten more and then find I wished I'd done them differently.
I have consistently recommended that people NOT try a standard Lang deep configuration for a top bar ever since mine failed. It SEEMS like a good idea, but it did not work. Despite that advice a lot of you are trying it anyway and I wish you luck.
What if I just go ahead and use frames. Sort of like three deeps long instead of high?
I've done that. It works fine. I've done two and three boxes long.
Click on the pictures for more detail.
This was what I was using two years ago. Now I'm going to all mediums with a KTBH and a medium lang TBH as experiments. I have three box long mediums with frames and they are fine.
Michael Said >> I thought that's what I said.
So you did, I just read too fast I guess.
The reason whyt he squared hives don't fair so well is because the center of gravity for the edges is "outside" the edges, pulling the comb outward at the bottom. For example, take a block or board that you have cut into a right triangle. If you try to hold the triangle from one of the corners while keeping the legs of the triangle perfectly plumb, the tringle will twist in your finger until the center of gravity is reached. This is the mechanical stress caused by a square comb and pulls at the center top of the comb. Couple this with a long bar and a deep comb and the center of the comb is bearing MORE vertical weight than the edges. The edges of course are bearing shearing weight, which means they are being pulled at in a sideways twisting fashion like the corner of the triangle I was explaining above.
The sloped hives allow all the comb to bear the same weight, the design and dimensions I selected were both out of a desire to most evenly distribute weight bearing of the top bar, and as well to be able to build hives from standard available lumber (i.e. 1x12s and 1x8s etc).
The reason I selected those two particular lumber sizes is because with the way I put them together it most closely emmulates the natural catenary curve of comb.
I rip the angle into the bottom board though so that the sides are attached flushly to the bottom board and leaves the 7" bottom board 7"s. With a smaller bottom board the hive walls are not steep enough, the prefered angle being slightly less than 30 degrees, that being the angle of the catenary curve at mean (.707) from the top to the bottom. It is also the angle which the edges of the cell walls will be perpendicular to the hive wall and so far I have seen so little comb attachments as to almost be able to say I see none. If you diverge from this angle, the cells stagger at the edges and I believe this fosters more attachemnts.
Michael, the way you attach everything leaves gaps where SHB and other pests can find refuge from the bees. What I have seen so far with SHB is that they will be found in the gaps where the bees can't quite get to them. I have therefore attempted in all new hives to eliminate all these gaps and to keep any corners and angles at something manageable. Such as my top bar cuts, I make sure there are so splinters at the ends of the angled cuts for the beetles to hide (which is also where I have found them)
Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives
>Michael, the way you attach everything leaves gaps where SHB and other pests can find refuge from the bees.
I have always beveled everything to fit in the past but decided that:
A. this is an experiment.
B. A TBH should be simple to build
I based it off of this:
>What I have seen so far with SHB is that they will be found in the gaps where the bees can't quite get to them. I have therefore attempted in all new hives to eliminate all these gaps and to keep any corners and angles at something manageable.
If I ever SEE a SHB I will take it into account. That may happen some day. Although the Entomologist here believes that between the clay soil and the cold winters they will not get established here.
My theory was that if I needed to I could chaulk the gap at the botom. There are no other gaps perse that are INSIDE the hive.
>Such as my top bar cuts, I make sure there are so splinters at the ends of the angled cuts for the beetles to hide (which is also where I have found them)
Hiding in the splinters? I guess I underestimate how small they are.
They are wide from a top down view, but from a profile, they are very skinny. Several can easily fit into a standard table saw cut.
Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives
Watch out Mitch. You might end up planning, building, exploring and tbh scheming and speculating like all the guys above. :> ) It's alot of fun.
Re the Langstroth-length hive;
I have no idea how a medium depth Tanzanian hive would work, but the TBH built to the Crowder design uses a Lang-length top bar which can be started in a Lang hive.
I currently have one Crowder and one Hardison (l6 inch top bar) going. The Hardison group did fine for about ten combs, then got slightly off. I quickly pulled the offending combs to the end and put clean bars between the straight combs to start them over. Messed up my numbered bars but seems to be working to get straight comb. No comb goes all the way from end to end of a bar, nor does any comb go all the way to the bottom of the box.
The crowder hive is working a bit differently. Comb is straight as an arrow. Comb is filled out from top to bottom with a beautifully even space at the edges and bottom. The comb shape mimics the interior shape of the hive so perfectly that it is amazing to me even though I have seen hundreds of wild comb built the same way. The incomplete combs, those under construction taper from almost across the hive to just an eighth or so of a comb, but all comb built is in use. Brood to the end of the comb.
I cannot say that the difference is in the hive design. The Hardison hive is a package hive, the Crowder hive has a swarm. The Hardison hive has a telescoping box top, the Crowder hive has two plastic garbage sacks covering it at the moment. Whatever the reason, at the moment the Crowder hive has by far the best built comb.
[This message has been edited by Oxankle (edited June 11, 2004).]
Topbarguy i am not sure yet about bilding a tbh. I did find it iteresting.dave is about 38 miles from me so ill get to see more of them i am sure.I enjoy my langs and talking to all the people i sell honey to.Who knows what might slip into my garage this winter tho,
I checked the three box long medium depth Langstroth sized TBH today. They are doing very well. Again, though, they've hit the point where they want to store honey and have started cheating on the spacing. I interspersed a lot of empty bars in the middle of the hive to keep them busy with drawn comb on each side. But the back two combs are much thicker and the very back one is way off of center. The rest all look really good and straight. They also seem to be holding up well. No comb collapse. Not excessive connections to the walls either.
I am thinking a big part of top bar hive management is to add empty bars in the brood nest so they don't swarm and move frames of honey to the back so they will keep storing at the back of the brood nest. Sort of like when you check to see if they need a super on a regular hive.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited June 14, 2004).]
Michael, what I do to help prevent them from skipping bars because of thicker honey combs is to cut the caps off of the top of the combs. They start out the same size, and when the start pushing out too far, I take a knife and cut the protrusions. The bees seem to start with the thicker comb at the top and work down, but cutting this protrusion at the top before they get down too far keep the combs nice. I suspect that after the comb map has been imprinted on the top bar that I won't have this problem again in the future when top bars begin to be reused. Perhaps even leaving 1/2 - 1" of comb left on the bars so the bees don't drawn directly from the bar each time. So far all of my combs are nicely spaced if I take the time to trim the tops as honey gets stored. I only get in the hives once a week now and I haven't had a problem with them getting ahead of me much yet.