Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    I'm giving some thought to setting up a TBH either this year, or more likely, next year, and I was wondering what people do to winter them over? Styrofoam insulation? Hay bales? Tar paper?

    Obviously it all depends on your climate. I'm in Central Maine where winters can be long and cold. If we're lucky we get a January thaw, but not always.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

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

    Post

    I'm in south Germany it gets pretty cold here. I use a three piece TBH so last season I silicone caulked the seams and put a sheet of plexi glass over the top to keep it dry and that was it. I also put a good chunk of fondant in the bottom in case it got warm enough to break cluster and closed the entrance to a bee width. I did not use a follower board. I let the bees have everything they stored because this was a june swarm. Monitor the entrance to ensure it is not blocked by dead bees or snow. Mine came through last winter fine.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,486

    Post

    George I would advise the following:

    Make your top bars 20 inches long.

    Put the entrance on one side, towards one end. rather than on an end.

    Use a telescoping lid and stick a piece of foam board up there.

    Wrap with tar paper and like Gary said make sure the entrance is high enough to clear the snow. (mine are on legs).

    I lost 2 of three, did not insulate them or wrap them at all. The one that made it was the deepest one with a side entrance.

    None of them were protected from the wind. All three of my Langs survived but I had stacked bales of straw to protect the Langs from the wind. Did nothing for the TBHs. I think the wind is what did them in. Might have been better if they weren't up in the air on the legs so high...

    But the one that made it is really really strong this spring...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    January thaw in Maine? That's REALLY early, are you sure you meant january? Even in Florida our coldest month is usually January or February.
    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>

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

    Post

    Scott:
    In upstate New York where I grew up we usually always had a few days in January where it warmed up way above freezing and it was always referred to as, of all things, 'The January Thaw'. Prior to the January thaw, it was colder than a witches bosom and after the January thaw, the temperature dropped back down again.

    MIKI:
    Did they eat all the fondant?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,654

    Post

    I just put a sheet of styrofoam on the top bars with the lid on top of that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    13

    Post

    I have a sloped side top bar hive , with just installed bees , two weeks ago.New to the relationship of bees for neighbors. Anyway installing the bees into their new home went well ,i just pinched the metal ribbon attached to the queen cage between two bars . Left it for three to four days.Too long maybe. Fed they syrup with Fumagilin-B.It seems that they built around the cage and it was slightly inbedded.One week later went in to spray with sucrocide. combs on some bars cross over to the next bar and one had two combs on it.Could i say in a year harvest this honeycomb and feed the honey back to them without residue turning up.and correct the crooked comb thing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    13

    Post

    Oh Yea My wintering question . I have about a 3 inch wide #8 screen the length of the bottom. Should i close this up some , all.And some vent holes near the top on the ends also screened 1/2" inch by 2"inch.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,486

    Post

    Hi Willy
    Same problem happened to me last year with one of my hives, they combed in the queen cage. I never did get the comb in that hive "back on track", although I did get it straightened out.

    Not sure if you will hvae to close it up in the winter or not. What are your dimensions?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Fix the comb now before the bees cross comb so much you have you pick up 3 topbar blocks at a time. Damage can be repaired quickly if you do it now, once the bees build a significan't nest and grow you will have a MUCH MUCH harder time fixing things. Do it now. Once you have two good combs get them to build another comb between them, and keep working it until you can cull all the "fixed" combs.
    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>

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,654

    Post

    I would always do a direct release in a top bar hive. At least I wouldn't hang the cage. You can't afford to get the combs off track. They will repeat the same mistakes on every comb in the hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    13

    Post

    Thanks Guys Will get to it soon!!. Just did not want to disturb them so soon and possible distroy some valuable comb at this early stage. Did seem to be crossed on the short side of where they started comb and the far side seem to be centered on the bars.How about the residue question?Could i feed it back to them and it be OK ?Reduce the entrance and reduce the bottom screened opening for winter?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    Scot- Yes, January Thaw in Maine. Traditionally, there's about a week in early January with day time temps in the low to mid 40's, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, sometimes warmer, sometimes colder, sometimes rain, sometimes clear. This past winter, January thaw happened in February- we had about 2 weeks of the most beautiful weather in the mid to upper 50's and I loved it. Ruined the Maple Syrup season though. Other than that, last winter was INCREDIBLY COLD. We had weeks of weather where it never got above 10 degrees. There was over 2 feet of ice on the lake. Last year, I don't think we had a thaw at all, which is unusual.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    OK.. back to Top Bar Hives, and wintering. As with other hives, it appears it ain't so much the hive as it is the weather, and many of the principals of wintering hives affect any hive, regardless of design.

    Does anyone think wintering TBHs is any *easier* than conventional hives?

    I guess I'll go look around at TBH designs- any pointers welcome. I figure I'll touch one off (a TBH) next spring as I've got my hands full for this summer.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Just build the hives sturdy. Use thick walls 1x12s instead of 1/4 inch plywood. Give a nice sized entrance that isn't too big for winter and is big enough when TONS of bees need to pour in and out during foraging seasons. Bees can winter just fine without "insultation". They just need a dry home where water doesn't condense above and drip on them while clustered. This is the biggest overwintering problem especially the colder and longer your winters. Hive that are ventilated MORE during winter usually have a better chance than hives that are locked up tight and insulated.
    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>

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Dick,
    Hi had to go away a couple of days sorry for the lateness. I was amazed when I opened it up in the spring There was only a peice the size of a silver dollar left and they were working on that.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,654

    Post

    &gt;Does anyone think wintering TBHs is any *easier* than conventional hives?

    I don't think they are any harder.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    &gt;Does anyone think wintering TBHs is any *easier* than conventional hives?

    &gt;I don't think they are any harder

    Well I can live with that Michael. Thanks.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads