I will be starting up a top-bar hive next spring. Starting from a 3 pound package, I wouldn't expect a large honey crop...I'm primarily interested in establishing a strong colony. I do want to harvest some comb honey in the summer though, and I obviously don't want any brood in the comb. Is a queen excluder needed? Or does the orientation of the combs negate the need for one?
Since I don't use Queen excluders on my langs i am probably not good person to comment. But it would be somewhat difficult to use on a top bar hive i think. You would have to customize it to fit your inside dimensions, and of course wait a few months until they had the comb built up. You will be able to harvest honey combs without the excluder for sure. But there will many combs with the honey on the edges / bottom and brood in the middle of the comb, with pollen in between. It might be interesting to try it. You might do it this way. Movve all your top bars with comb to the rear of the hive away from the entrance. Then the excluder. The interesting thing about Top Bars is the different cell sizes they use. Dennis has done some studies and could better answer this. But an excluder might interfere with this. If you do it keep us posted.
[This message has been edited by BerkeyDavid (edited November 15, 2004).]
I think I am going to try it. I saw the analysis of the comb and cell sizes and found it very interesting. I also saw, as you alluded to, the fact that honey and pollen cells were also a significant part of the brood combs. I realize that I can't stop that from happening, I just want to have brood-free honey comb. Also, is there a way to make my own excluder? I haven't done much research on them, but I was just wondering if there is a way to build a homemade one, one that I can fit to my top-bar hive...
If it's not brood free, then leave it for the bees. "We don't need no stinking excluders" (apologies to Mel Brooks)
Seriously I don't use them on my regular hives and I don't use them on my TBHs.