We are N. Cal folk who work in Bolivia.
We just recently learned about TBH from a fellow that I am building a greenhouse with in New Zealand (by E-Mail)
We have built a number of Langs at our demo site using our Watermotor turbine (www.watermotor.net) directly running a table saw. So we know first-hand how many tiny pieces of wood are required. Thus we were immediately interested in the simple TBH design.
I am teaching a university extension class for agronomists here in about a week and wanted to have a TBH to show the students.
I found a plan on the Internet but it seems to be wrong. See: www.tve.org/ho/doc. cfm?aid=952&lang=English
For me the dimentions of the hive end pieces cannot be reconciled with the 120 degree angle required. Anyway, can anyone either show me my mistake or direct me to another similar design?
So far my two favorites are to build a medium depth three box long hive that fits Langstroth dimensions and use 3/8" laths for the top bars. (7 1/2" by 19 7/8" by 48 3/4")But I also have a slope sided KTBH one. The problem with defining the angle is where do you measure it from. If you are measuring off of vertical then mine is 22 1/2 dgrees. If you're measuring off of horizontal mine is 112 1/2 degrees.
Here's some pictures of mine:
Thanks Michaeland all,
I've gone ahead and built a trough with
the internal dimentions of 19 cm x 44 cm, 81 cm long. It is 30.5 cm deep inside. The wall angle is about 22.5 degrees.
The wood I used is from the jungle--really soft. I don't think the bugs will leave it alone. Are there any paints or finishes I can safely use to preserve it?
After I looked at how a large jungle tree had been cut to supply this third-rate wood, the idea of using an old oil drum seemed positively inspired--apppropriate technology at its most poetic.
In any case I need to have some form of TBH to show my students a week from today.
It might be the only time they will ever hear of TBHs.
I would like to have a little design help, if possible. I'm sure this is just TOO simple for many TBH experts. We have a digital camera so can send pictures later today. This could speed things up.
Ron in Oblivia--www.watermotor.net
The site above gives dimensions and pictures of two successful designs in the US. In particular, the Crowder hive is being used by a commercial operator who is said to operate something like a hundred of these.
While most of us are pretty new at this there are a few people here in the states who have run these for years. One fellow, a professor up East, makes a small TBH that he moves about for pollination. After the combs are used a bit they toughen up enough that he can shake packages in the spring--this from reading articles about his work. Pictures of his hives seem to resemble the Crowder design but he builds them only about 60 cm long.
Don't get the idea that these are an improvement over the Langstroth hive; they are a throwback we adopt as (1) a curiosity, (2) because they are cheap to make and (3) because there is some indication that vicious bees are more easily handled in these hives.
Some early observastions indicate that entrances on the side work better than those on the ends. It also appears that the entrances need not be large--research seems to indicate that bees like openings of about 3 square centimeters.
I have found that I prefer the shallow and wide design of the Crowder hive--my top bars will fit in a Lang super, but of course comb built in a Lang would not fit a Crowder hive without trimming.
Finally, the exact angle from vertical to which the sides are sloped does not seem to be a matter of bee preference. Rather it is a matter of making the hive fit the lumber available while keeping in mind the length of the top bar desired.
Glad to look at your pics. Where will you post them? Sorry to say it is flat here in ohio and so I cannot use your motor, but it sure looks interesting on your web site!
Your dimensions look fine to me, more important issue most of us have been dealing with is the top bar. I have posted some pictures of my hives, as well as a feeder and some top bars.
the two issues are the width of the top bar and the design to stimulate fixation of the comb to the center of the bar.
We are usually pretty generous with comments on this site, so I am sure if you post pics you will get some good feedback!
I would not worry about painting or otherwise treating the inside of your hive. Less is more with these things. Main point is to spend as little money as possible, as simply as possible, and still come up with something of value (IMO).
If you have simple tools, might be better off just ripping a kerf in the top bar and if you can come up with some wax, melt some wax in the kerf. There are lots of other options, some more complex than others.
I agree with everything Ox said. This is my first year with them so I don't pretend to be an expert. But I do prefer the side entrance to the end entrance, and the bottom holes I tried were used very little.
What altitude are you? I understand Bolivia has a wide climate range. It would be interesting to see what your climate is like, so give us lots of pics!
[This message has been edited by BerkeyDavid (edited November 14, 2004).]
Hey, thanks everyone.
I will have my top bars cut today.
I think that we are pretty africanized here, so will make them 32 mm wide.
So 25 top bars will fit in my 81 cm long box with a 5 mm spacer on each end.
Is there some kind of protection I can use to keep bugs from eating the wood without harming the bees? Or should I just use a better wood next time? Specifically, what about ceder?
I'm sending a picture to Michael Bush at his e-mail address. BerkyDavid said that he would examine my TBH in progress and sent me some very helpful photos of his own. But I think that I need his e-mail address.
I emailed you. I don't know if cedar will work or not. I will search the site for info about it as a hive wood. But i would think that you should paint it only on the outside - not the inside - if you do anything. There was an intersting picture in the new Bee Culture magazine of a hive that was destroyed by termites. Bees survived a complete collapse of their neglected hive.
Have you seen the pics of the african hives that are suspended between trees? Not sure if you are in the jungle, but if so, might consider that since it would avoid contact with the ground making it more difficult for enemy insects...
Might be pretty simple to suspend, but would have to be strong since the hives can get pretty heavy!
OK, search shows no problem using cedar. See http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000218.html
Logger Mike stated he has used cedar with success as hive material and has found many bee hives in cedar trees.
Here is a picture of Ron's Bolivian Top Bar
hope everyone can see this nice hive.
>I think that we are pretty africanized here, so will make them 32 mm wide.
I'd make half and half. Half 32mm and half 38mm. Maybe have a few spares of each. The bees (Africanized or not) will draw nice small cell comb for the brood nest on the 32mm bars but when they start storing honey they will cheat on the spacing and try to make them wider. Then I'd start slipping in the 38mm ones.
>So 25 top bars will fit in my 81 cm long box with a 5 mm spacer on each end.
It's a nice plan, but everytime you open the hive the bars will get further apart because of the propolis. I'd plan on just leaving some space somewhere.
>Is there some kind of protection I can use to keep bugs from eating the wood without harming the bees?
Hanging it is common for TBH. You can make it out of cedar or redwood or cyprus or whatever other rot-proof wood you have in Bolivia.
> Or should I just use a better wood next time? Specifically, what about ceder?
As mentioned already by others, cedar works fine.
Nov. 15, 04
Thanks again for the helpful comments.
May I trouble you all again for suggestions constructing the TBH entrance?
Although I live at 13,000 ft., I am building this hive for a tropical area, the Yungas, at 5500 ft. This is where the bees live. It is pretty humid, but doesn't get either very hot or cold. I see that some entrances are a slot and some are holes.
(If interested, you can see photos of this place by writing coroico bolivia into Google images.
There are lots of photos because riding mountain bikes down "the most dangerous road in the world" to Coroico by tourists has become very popular)
Mine is simply the gap before the front bar. This also gives me a way to deal with the "growing" of the width of the bars from propolis etc. I just have the left over space at the front.
I've beem corresponding with Ron in Bolivia, he finished his TBH. Pics at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dn4911/album?.dir=/8b73
Pretty interesting place he is at now, Coroico, Bolivia, where it is Spring! If you are interested in staying there the cost for a nice hotel room is $9. Price goes to $41 for a triple suite. About 3 hours over the Andes from LaPaz.