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  1. #1
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I've added a single, vertical wooden slat to re-inforce the comb on one iteration of my top bars. It worked great. Comb could be handled with one hand as the bottom of the slate could support the comb/top bar. And the vertical support almost eliminates any side sway in the comb when the top bar is kept in its natural plane.

    I initially thought that the slat divided the broodnest, with drone comb on one side and worker comb on the other. But I've seen the same structure in other hives without the slat. So I don't think it interfers very much with the broodnest.

    Although, the comb reinforcements assist normal comb handling, they didn't prevent comb failure in my tbh disaster. Since then, 've changed how I manage my tbhs in hot weather by blocking up the cover. And I've changed the hive entrance from the end to the side of the hive. No comb has failed since these changes were made, even in my latest top bar hive, with it much larger comb, without any reinforcements.

    I've returned to a standard type top bar. I like its simplicity. The bars are easy to make, store and maintain.

    Regards
    Dennis



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Dennis,
    I read somewhere that someone (I'm getting forgetful/old) is using wax impregnated cord instead of cutting a kerf. Have you heard of this and does it work good.

    ------------------
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.

    Gary

  3. #3
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Gary,

    I have heard of it used like a starter strip. It should work if the cord is completely soaked with beeswax. It would be about the right heigth and the beeswax would give the bees something to 'chew' on.

    I've also thought about another possibility. A cord could be run down a portion of the top bar like a starter strip. But then the rest of the cord would be allowed to hang vertically. It would be incorporated into the comb, like the wires in Barry's top bar hive, and would strengthen the comb. This approach could be used more than once on a top bar resulting in several reinforcing strings hanging vertically beneath the top bar.

    One of the problems I encounter, with my wooden reinforcements, was keeping them absolutely vertical. Building that way adds lots of extra time to their construction. And the thin strips would sometimes warp out of vertical and would not be completely incorporated into comb.

    A hanging waxed cord should solve that problem if a beekeeper would like to reinforce the comb.

    Regards
    Dennis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    My two best results for centering were the triangle wodden comb guides and nothing. The one with nothing was a standard Langstroth length top bar in medium boxes. I know nothing sounds bad, but what I did was use ONE bar with a starter strip in it in the center of a five frame nuc and the rest of the bars had nothing. The bees built beautiful combs right down the center. Then I moved it to an eight frame box and they continued. Then I moved it to a ten frame box. When all ten frames were started I moved it to a three box long box (33 frame box). I had 1 1/4" bars, 1 3/8" bars and 1 1/2" bars. When they started building wider honey storage combs I went to the wider bars. I also put one 3/8" by 3/8" spacer when they first started going wider and I only had a skinny bar in.

    The bars were sure simple. One had a cut with a starter strip waxed in and the rest were just 3/8" thick bars with no centering mechanism at all.

    Of course my intent was merely to see how they would space the combs with no influence from me. But I think I will do more hives this way.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    54

    Post

    Dennis,

    Your mention of using cord hanging from the bar reminds me of something in Eva Crane's magnum opus, The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting, where (as I recall) she's discussing the use of string in top-bar hives in Vietnam. There, the beekeepers attach a string to the bar, so that each end of the string is fastened near an end of the bar. The string hangs in a catenary curve, and gets incorporated into the comb as it is built. The string is attached by being threaded through holes, and is knotted at the top of the bar. (The beekeepers will sometimes harvest the honey at the top of a brood comb, by cutting out that portion, then raise the remaining brood comb by re-knotting the string.)

    I've been thinking of trying a hanging string like this, this spring. If it makes newly-built heavy honeycomb less prone to fall to pieces, it'll be a great help.

    David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,020

    Post

    That sounds like an excellent idea. It is tempting to run a wire in a loop instead of string, to make the thing stronger, but knowing bees' aversion to metal, maybe that's not so clever. I wonder if a thin, flexible, plastic rod or tube would work as well or better?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    I like the idea too, what kind of string? I wonder if twine would work (baling twine). [untreated and free of any foreign substances etc etc. ]

  8. #8
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Hummmm.... Looks like another top bar test :> ). I will probably used beeswax coated twine, with the catenary shape, attached down the center of the top bar in a shallow kerf with molten beeswax. Tht way I'll get a starter strip and reinforcement.

    Neat Ideas
    Dennis


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    How about bailing wire, so it will keep it's shape, wrapped in thin cotton string, for better acceptance, and dipped in wax, for even better acceptance?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bridgewater VT. USA
    Posts
    238

    Cool

    sounds like a job for dental floss after a quick trip through bees wax.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Big Grin

    >That sounds like an excellent idea. It is tempting to run a wire in a loop instead of string, to make the thing stronger, but knowing bees' aversion to metal, maybe that's not so clever. I wonder if a thin, flexible, plastic rod or tube would work as well or better?<

    Remember to harvest you will have to crush the comb, unless anyone has come up with a better way. String can be crushed and put in a melter and recovered or discarded when done.....unless you design a press around your frame idea then anything could work!

    ------------------
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.

    Gary

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