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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Anchorage, Alaska
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    1,649

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    My TBH has the 1.25 inch spacing between top bars. I installed four two inch or so starter strips from small cell foundation a little to the front of center in the hive. The queen was released three days ago. Today I checked the hive. The bees ignored the starter strips and began building their own comb PERPENDICULAR to the top bars a bit to the rear of center in the hive, completely ignoring the strips. One piece was about 6 inches wide where it was attached and had eggs in it. Three other pieces were a couple inches wide where attached. I cut the small pieces off and attached them parallel to the top bars. I put those pieces between the starter strips which were moved a bit more to the rear of the hive where the cluster was. Trying to attach the 6-inch piece ended up giving me too much grief.
    What did I get myself into???

    Doing a quick eyeball check, I noticed the cells drawn in the pieces of comb were about the same size as standard foundation.

    My other bees were installed in nucs with drawn standard size comb. Some of those bees had begun building comb between frames in the space made with the queen cage. Interestingly, those cells were nearly drone size.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

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    Dick

    SInce the topic of the day around here seems to be entrance location, where did you put yours? And also, how big (long) is your hive and did you reduce it at all with a follower board or feeder?
    Finally, what type of top bar design did you use on the top bars that did not have the starter strips?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I would build a frame to fit under the top bar and cut the comb and tie it into the frame the right direction. Or, better yet, make a "swarm catching frame to fit the TBH and put the comb in that.

    Do you have some kind of guide on the rest of them? Sometimes I get away with no guide but staring off right is the important part. Once they have one comb running the right way the rest seeem to paralell that one.

    Maybe this is a good argument for using a follower. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Angry

    The hive is oriented N-S with the main entrance facing south. On the west side there are a couple half-diameter holes. The hive was made with scrap plywood. One piece had those holes in it, so I just left them open. It’s a Kenya design. I took it from Eva Crane’s book. Internal length comes out to about 32 inches. The top bars were cut from 3/4 boards. I also cut a slot running the length of the bars in each of them to install starter strips.

    The bees are Carnies from a four-pound package. They sure don’t need all that space yet, so I’ll check them in another day or so and will try the follower idea, it they want to insist on doing things their way.

    Michael, can you elaborate a little more on the guide you mentioned?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I was talking about building a "swarm catching" frame to fit the TBH and cut the comb and tie it in this to get them going straight. Basically take a 1 1/2" wide board and split it and build two 11/16" or so wide frames hinged with wire to hold in the comb. Like this:

    http://www.beesource.com/plans/swarmfrm.pdf

    Only modified to fit the shape of the top bar hive and leave 3/8" space around it. I use a small piece of a 2 liter bottle stapled on both halves for the hinge.

    It would probably be useful to have a few around anyway for combs that collapse from time to time. I wouldn't bother with honey combs, but when a honey comb collapses and takes a brood comb down with it, it would be handy to have.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    24

    Post

    My top bars are 1-1/4" wide by 1-3/8" deep, ripped from
    scrap 2x4. I put a 60 degree bevel on the bars w/ 1/8" flat on the bottom of the bars & notch the ends to sit flat on the
    sides of the hive. The bees have built remarkably straight comb off these bars with little need for correction. I highly recommend this top bar design. I just used a table saw to cut the angles...
    I had a similar situation recently in a Lang hive where I put a new box with small cell starter strips (half a piece of foundation per frame) & the bees ignored the foundation & built their own comb perpendicular & attached to the bottom of the starter strips. What a mess!

    Alethea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
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    Post

    Michael this is a great idea!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Another reason it would be handy to have would be if you need some eggs because you suspect they might be queenless you can steal some brood comb from anywhere and cut it to fit the swarm catching frame and put it in the top bar hive, even if the hive it comes from is a standard Langstroth or a different sized top bar hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Dick,
    In almost every feral colony I have collected and heard tell about has the combs aligned along the north-south axis. I face all my based on what the bees do. I keep adjusting the facing until they "snap to" and build comb right along the top bar. If I face too far to the north or south, they bend new combs back towards their prefered facing. They will change as the seasons change, facing slightly more north or south as the sun declines through the year. I believe the facing should be to where the sun rises on the equinox to get the "center" of the facing arc.
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

    Post

    My TBH has comb facing E-W and they built nice straight comb. No problems other than a mouse. Now this is just my example of one so thake it for what it's worth.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Smile

    They were started right but as they progressed foward they combs started going perpendicular to the top bars.
    Appearantly they didn't stay in comb design school long enough as they've started building perpendicular to the bars.
    In almost every feral colony I have collected and heard tell about has the combs aligned along the north-south axis.
    The bees prefer a south facing entrance, and they prefer combs that face east towards the rising sun (axis roughly north-south)
    I guess I’ll have to keep an eye on these combs. For right now, after rearranging their combs, they are doing as *I* want them to and not as *they* want to. This TBH is so cool!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Well, they did it! They started curving a few of their latest combs and attached them to the top bar directly in front. Scott, you told me I had nothing to be afraid of! :mad:

    I had to do some cutting and rearranging today. I hope they can follow directions this time.

    Other than that the new tbh is coming along fairly well. I have decided to give it a name. I'm going to call it Gilligan's Island..... [img]tongue.gif[/img]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Hi Dick

    Glad to hear your update on Gilligan's Island! sounds like they have at least started going in the right direction.

    Most of my TBH's started curving their comb on the ends of the bars after a while. I just slip the hive tool along the side to clear the attached comb. If the comb is new and empty, sometimes you can cut it from above by then slipping the tool down between the top bars, then just cull out the comb, or try to straighten it a little.

    If it has honey in then you can harvest it!

    Sounds like you are doing great!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Dick,
    What do you mean I told you you have nothing to be afraid of, and what are refering to? I did infact say the bees will curve the comb.

    Scot
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    Bobobee's top bar with the 60 degree angles sounds a lot like the old "foundationless frame" top bar. Such bars will be a bit of a pain to make, but if they work really well they'd be much preferable to kerfing and using a spline or having to use a starter strip.
    Ox
    Oxankle

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Dick,
    What do you mean I told you you have nothing to be afraid of, and what are refering to?
    Under the topic “Comb going astray”
    Back on May 29 I said:
    You guys are beginning to scare me.
    On June 1 you said:
    Dick,
    There is nothing to be scared of.
    Then on June 1 I said:
    Oh, Thank God!
    (followed by a smiley face)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Quote,
    Well, they did it! They started curving a few of their latest combs and attached them to the top bar directly in front. Scott, you told me I had nothing to be afraid of!

    I had to do some cutting and rearranging today. I hope they can follow directions this time.

    Dick,
    I had similar problems with my first one last season (not perpendicular) If they are just curving the ends I would leave them alone. there has been much speculation on this forum that this may be a air circulation or ventilation attempt on the bees part, Who knows? I left it alone the first season and made corrections early this season Now look at what I got everything seems to be comming along just fine. This is my argument for minimizing intervention in the early stages of the brood nest development.

    http://photobucket.com/albums/y291/m...t=DSCF0104.jpg


    http://photobucket.com/albums/y291/m...t=DSCF0099.jpg

    This hive is 16 inches deep and a gangbuster today.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Oh that is SO out of context. In fact even in that thread I talked about curving comb and that you will have to deal with it, mostly in new hives...which this is, right Dick?
    Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Alpine, TX
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Good pics Gary. Someday I am going to get a digital camera then I can share what's going on w/ us too. The transfers from the Langs are comical in how ugly it all looks but hey, the bees are being...
    I smile like this because I have no idea what I\'m doing :-)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Right you are Scott.

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