My topbar hive has 1 3/8" topbars and on some bars the bee have drawn wax wider than the width of the bar. Some bars look like they are drawn about 1 3/4" wide. As a result the bar next to it has been drawn only about an inch thick so to make room for bee space.Is this going to become a problem, and if so what should be done? It seems like they have "overdrawn" the combs they are putting honey in. This hive was very weak early in the summer so I have feeding all summer to "help". The honey in the wide bars is uncapped sugar water. Anouther question is my hive has 31 topbars and about 18 are part drawn, but none are drawn the full width of the bar. They draw all on one side of the hive but not all the way across the bar.I have tryed to turn the bar end-for-end but they leave the drawn end and start the bar on the empty end.
>My topbar hive has 1 3/8" topbars and on some bars the bee have drawn wax wider than the width of the bar. Some bars look like they are drawn about 1 3/4" wide. As a result the bar next to it has been drawn only about an inch thick so to make room for bee space.Is this going to become a problem, and if so what should be done?
I've had the same problem. I made two different size top bars and some 1/4" spacers. So I use 1 1/4" bars where there is brood. When the bees start drawing these too fat, I put in a 1/4" spacer and start using 1 1/2" bars. I still need the spacer now and then, so I'm considering making 1 3/4" bars for honey.
>It seems like they have "overdrawn" the combs they are putting honey in.
>Anouther question is my hive has 31 topbars and about 18 are part drawn, but none are drawn the full width of the bar. They draw all on one side of the hive but not all the way across the bar.I have tryed to turn the bar end-for-end but they leave the drawn end and start the bar on the empty end.
Mine have a bit of a gap all the way down the north side. I assume it's for traffic. I don't worry about it. The bees want the space there, they can have it.
My bars are about 17" long inside the hive area, and of this 17" only about 8" of the bar is being used. I also think the bee will start a new bar much faster if I put a empty bar between two drawn bars. They are less apt to "move over" to start a bar than when I place a bar between two drawn combs.
That does seem odd, but I'm gussing they built on the south side and avoided the north? Maybe as the cluster size grows they will expand to the side. It's useful to keep the bees from crosscombing, but I don't worry too much about what they do and don't build. I figure if they see a purpose they will build it.
Maybe try reducing the size of your hive. Not sure what part of the country you are in. But I would make a follower board and block off the part of the hive that does not have much comb.
Where is your entrance hole?
The long way of my hive runs north and south, the comb is being started on the west side of the bar. I know now I have made several mistakes this summer, no follower board, looking into the hive to much, and then the weather in northern Indiana was wet and cold. The entrance to the hive is in the east facing side about two inches from the bottom. I have a screen bottom on the hive and somehow a tear got in the screen. Almost all the bees use this tear in the screen for there entrance. Another question I have is do you think bees have a awareness of the hive being unlevel, or even tilted one way or the other?
I'm not sure I'd call all of those mistakes. I don't have a follower board and they seem to be doing well. I'm sure it would have been a good idea, but I didn't get it built.
If I were a newbie, I'd be looking in the hive a lot too. How else are you going to learn?
From one rookie to another, don't feel bad I described the same thing in a previous post and I did all the things you did. I did make one observation, as I installed the queen cages they started the comb where the cage was. I put one in the middle, one on the right, and one on the left. This was not by any design I got stung 4 times on the first one and rushed the rest. All three of mine are facing south with the entrances on the south end. They all drew out 9 bars I could not understand why they would not go further. 2 hives absconded, then I started to feed them non stop, (what a concept, DUH!), as a result the remaining hive drew the existing comb across and started new bars in phases some right and some to the back. Seems they like to keep it in proportion. I am curious to know how you started yours.
As far as the bees being aware of the angle of the hive I leveled mine and then lifted the back Â½ a bubble to allow any water to run out. It did not seem to affect them. I would suggest you feed them as much as they can take I even put 20 lbs of honey in mine just to be safe and then continued with 2:1 syrup. They went from 9 bars to 15. My bars are 24 in. long and the hive is 16 in. deep at the center. I give them a 50/50 shot at making it thru a German winter. Hope this helped good luck!
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
I am a rookie too, don't feel bad. Here are some ideas / responses:
<The long way of my hive runs north and south, the comb is being started on the west side of the bar.
This shouldn't make too much difference IMO.I have one hive this way and 2 running east west. Only difference I have noticed is that the N-S hive had some bearding of bees in the entrance, which was in the end of the hive instead of the side, and that hive had a tin roof. Bearding stopped when i propped open the cover.
<I know now I have made several mistakes this summer
this is called LEARNING! not mistakes!
<no follower board
I do think this might be an important lesson for us all. They seem to do better in a smaller hive, then you can expand it as they gather strenght. See the article by Hardison posted by Miki
< looking into the hive to much,
I don't think this is a mistake. Again, this is how we LEARN!
<and then the weather in northern Indiana was wet and cold.
Where are you in Northern Indiana? close to Angola? Maybe the biggest reason they didn't do well?
<The entrance to the hive is in the east facing side about two inches from the bottom.
Is the entrance close to one of the ends? Did they build comb near the entrance or far from the entrance? What is the size of the entrance?
< I have a screen bottom on the hive and somehow a tear got in the screen. Almost all the bees use this tear in the screen for there entrance.
How big is the tear and where is it located? This is interesting and surprising to me. I have one hive in which I drilled some 1 " holes in the bottom. While a few bees will exit from these holes, most use the side entrance. This is my weakest hive, although in checking it this week i did note that they have started to draw comb on the last bar finally.
I am thinking that your hive is just too wide open, with the screen, the multiple entrances, and the large space, so they are trying to "get away" from light/air/space as much as possible by building to one side and have to spend lots of time defending multiple entrances.
<Another question I have is do you think bees have a awareness of the hive being unlevel, or even tilted one way or the other?
No this won't matter IMO UNLESS you are on a big slope then switch the comb end for end so that it no longer coincides with the pull of gravity.
Finally, you said you were feeding them. What kind of feeder and how are you doing this?
Thanks for sharing this is the way we can all learn!
If your bars are 24 inches long and the hive is l6 inches deep you have big combs. Are they filled to the bottom?
You have undoubtedly seen the discussions of comb failure. Are you not having any problem with that?
It seems to me that 24 bars of that size, if well filled, would get a colony of bees thru a siberian winter.
Here in Oklahoma it is possible (but not a good idea) to get a colony thru from Oct to early March on one well filled Langstroth, much less than you have.
Talk to us about comb depth and length. Are your combs as long as your bars and as deep as your hive?
I started with a three pound package last spinng. All went well with the installation but soon after they were in the hive about 1/2 the bees left and didn't return. They realy started with about 1 1/2 pound of bees and the queen. The volume of the hive not being reduced might gave them the feeling of being in a big box and not a hive. They then started to draw some comb, but the limited number of the bees and the cold wet weather here north of Ft. Wayne made it very slow going. The entrance of the hive is a 3/8" slot about five inches long in the lower right corner of the hive. Since the screen bottom has a 1 1/2" L shaped tear in it all the bees use this hole in the screen. This winter when I put the bottom board over the screen the bees will have to use the original entrance. I hope they will adapt to their new way in and out over the winter. As far as feeding them I now use a water I found at the local feed store that is intended to be a rabbit waterer.It was about three dollars and no bees drown. I was somewhat amazed at how easly bees can drown. I set this water in the hive towards the back. It holds a quart of sugar water and works good now , but if all the bars were drawn it would not fit.
If you had only 1 1/2 # of bees in a large hive with an open bottom I'd say that's the reason for them not doing well. They can't keep a brood nest warm under those conditions.
MB has described a pesticide kill before I suspect that if 1/2 of your bees left right away this may be what happened, what do you think MB.
Oxankle as for my hives the one I have left is the one that started on the left side, but this is where I hung the queen when I first went to see if she was released the cage was empty and had been incorporated into the comb, had to cut it out. As of today they are 90 % ( I will measure this next time I inspect) across the bar and a few inches from the bottom. The combs are largest in the center and decend in size from there to each end i.e. ball shaped. They are indeed large combs. They have started comb on the 16th bar. I am planning to send Dennis some pictures. For almost the whole season they stayed on 9 bars but I think this is because I did not feed them my original plan was to leave them alone and see if they survive then Dean Brock visited me and took a look. He said if I did not feed right away I would not have to worry about the winter. This is where I stand now I think they have a chance.
I never had any type of real hot weather it was a cold and wet season however there are now side attachments I don't think I want to mess with cutting them this late in the game.
If there is anything else I can tell you let me know I am totally amazed at what I am learning and really need to get them thru the winter, packages are not avaliable here untill late June which puts me in the same boat next season.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
Feed, feed, feed.
Far better to send them into winter with an excess of stores than to find them dead in the spring.
On the subject of one-sided combs; I have one hive that did as yours. They have a front entrance and built comb on the South side of the hive, leaving a quarter of their space empty on the N. Side. I moved up a follower board greatly constricting their space and I shut the entrance by two-thirds. They are improving. This hive is built on the Hardison design. Another built on the Crowder design is wall to wall and end to end comb. Both have much less volume than yours.
You are so right, I learned my lesson the hard way. You would think that they would want to fill the space and build like crazy.
Then again training police dogs has taught me that some things aren't what you would think. I would like to try different designs next season. I have three old military foot lockers these will be strait sided long hives next spring. Lets all hope for the best.
Procrastination is the assination of inspiration.
>MB has described a pesticide kill before I suspect that if 1/2 of your bees left right away this may be what happened, what do you think MB.
With pesticides you almost always find piles of dead bees either in front of or on the bottom board of the hive. If you don't have those, then they probably swarmed. Somtimes it's more like a partial absconding as far as their actions and their motivation, when they don't tolerate something about the hive. But I've had bees that were settled into a standard Langstroth hive and appeared to be doing well, abscond. Not often, but sometimes they do. I don't know if they were harrased by a predator (hornets, mice, 'possums, racoons, skunks...) or they just up and decided to leave. But I didn't see any signs of a predator.