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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Grinton, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    102

    Lightbulb

    I have just finished my first season with the bees, and I am hoping to design and build a THB over the winter. TBHs are not as common over here in the UK, so there is no standard set of dimensions. I would quite like the bars to be the same length as 'National' type frames (17"), so they are, if nescesary, interchangeable with my existing hives. Other than that I have no idea where to start, so could I have some ideas please.
    </font>
    • What is the best angle for the walls?</font>
    • Fixed or seperate floor?</font>
    • Entrance in end or side of hive?</font>
    • How much to allow for expansion of the timber?</font>
    • etc.</font>

    I think I might get quite a few conflicting opinions here. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Thanks

    ABB

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    &gt;I would quite like the bars to be the same length as 'National' type frames (17"), so they are, if nescesary, interchangeable with my existing hives.

    That's what I'd do.

    &gt;What is the best angle for the walls?

    Square. And put the same rabbet for frame rests as a National. Just make a really long national hive. Same width. Same depth. Same frame rest. That way you can put National FRAMES in if you want.

    &gt;Fixed or seperate floor?

    I did mine fixed and screened. I don't think it matters.

    &gt;Entrance in end or side of hive?

    Mine are all on the top at the end now. It solved problems with skunks and mice and the gap at the last bar is how they get down into the hive.

    &gt;How much to allow for expansion of the timber?

    You always want at least 1/4" gap at the front and back so you have a little room to work.

    &gt;I think I might get quite a few conflicting opinions here.

    I am sure you will.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    I'm not sure how long you're been following the conversations here but this is what we're doing now.

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/lh/lh.html

    For the same reasons you mentioned and of course I agree with Mr. Bush completely.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    a.b.b.,

    I am also experimenting with THHs in the UK, using 17" top bars and vertical sides to facilitate the changeover.

    After several experiments, I have settled on a 36" long box, which flat-packs for easy transport (not with bees inside, obviously...). As soon as I can organize it, I will post some pictures and dimensions.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

    Post

    &gt;TBHs are not as common over here in the UK, so there is no standard set of dimension

    the same holds true in the US

    im on the long box band wagon right now but have to plug the ktb hive. im only going lb (long box) for fear of completly isolating myself from the mainstream beekeeping world.
    im building my hives with robber screens so i have been using side or front entrances.
    the ktb hives ive built had 30 degree sides-20x36".
    i got a roll of 4x100' #8 screen ($125 shipped) and am building fixed screen bottoms.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi ABB,

    Since my tbh is obviously the best one ever designed, I will share some of my thoughts :&gt))

    Actually, the bees are very adaptive of almost any kind of space as long as it has enough functional volume, affords some protection from the elements, and can be defended from their enemies.

    Almost everything else, in tbh design, has to do with beekeeper's needs. So, I would make a list of what is important. Be sure it has the appropriate volume and then create your own design optimized for your materials and building tools/skills.

    Some general comments:

    Volume: Build the hive a little longer than your bees needs. It will allow you some working room. It's a handy space to set top bars while working the hive(no need for a top bar stand) and it provides a place to feed the bees or raise a nuc.

    Sidewall Angle: I like some degree of sidewall angle. When comb attachments are cut, a small remanent will remain attached to the sidewall. A beekeeper, with a square hive, will have to be very careful not to catch any part of the edge of the entire comb on these remanents when removing or inserting a top bar, as the comb is all the same width. This isn't a problem in a tbh with sloped walls and tapered comb. If looks are an important factor(a garden hive?), then sloped sides are definately hotter than the square box.

    Entrances: Consider which way you prefer to have a tbh face. Will it be along side a building or wall? Do you want it to have more surface area exposed to the winter sun? Then use a side entrance. If you have limited space between hives in your beeyard, then use an end entrance. Will you tbh have legs? A bottom entrance might be the best. I prefer to have two entrances on my tbh. It allows for additional ventilation and management options. One of these is normally closed.

    Floor: I use a fixed floor as my hives are migratory and are legless. And I live in a very windy climate. Sustained winter winds often blow above 60 mph, at very low temps, and carry a significant snow load which quickly kills an unprotected hive.

    Expansion: I haven't had any problems with lumber expansion. My hives are pine and I live in a dry climate.

    Cover: My hives have a flat, functional, very ugly cover. It's easy to build, strong and migrates better than a sloped one. But if my tbh had legs and stayed in one place, I would extend the ends of my tbh upward. And they would incorporate the slope for the cover. These ends would support the roof, much like the roof on a house is supported by the ends of the house. The roof would then consist of two flat pieces of wood and a small strip of flashing. Such a design would provide a dead airspace above the top bars which could be used as additional storage space. And the cover could be very light, easy to build and simple. It would shed precipitation. And it would look great.

    Flexibility: I know that after you complete your first tbh, it will be absolutely the best one ever! Even much better than that the one mentioned above:&gt)) But I only know of one tbh beekeeper who, after building their first tbh, couldn't tweak the design a bit more to their liking. So, build some flexibility into your first design and construction. It's really easy to change entrances, slopes and lengths if some degree of flexibility is provided.

    And be sure to take a few photos of your tbh while building it and share them with us. I haven't seen a tbh design that I didn't learn something from.

    Best Regards
    Dennis

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

    Post

    Hi all

    Nice hive Hawk! Now you got me thinking... Guess the wife's new dining room table is going to have some competition in the shop this winter from another project...

    Dennis, nice job with the new web site, I really enjoy it!

    We are getting the cold here early. 4 degrees this morning.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    Keep your earmuffs handy, it's about -13 here. Winter has arrived here and it's coming your way :&gt
    See: http://weather.gov/forecasts/graphic...conus.php#tabs


    But it's a great time for figuring, fiddling around with websites and typing on the lists.

    I think my next project will be a long hive with custom frames that are much taller than deeps.

    Keep Warm
    Dennis

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    I'm spending some cold weather reading Dennis's website sans Barry!

    I have a neighbor (5 miles) who used these long hives. He was from Romania. Said that's what they used there. Didn't seem to winter as well although it may have more to do with the 5 lbs of Sevin he dusted his garden with than the hive style.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Joel
    Ask your Romanian neigbor about the bee wagons! I was over there this fall and met a few beekeepers. great folks. yes their hives are long hives, in wagons. I have pics on my web site, although web site is used very loosely, especially with regard to the standards most of you are setting! the bar is very high around here!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    I'll do that and report! Wagons, migratory then!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

    Post

    If anyone is fearing isolation from the rest of your local beeks then I say isolation it is! You will not regret leaving the pack and learning something new. I quit attending local meeting because all I got was, "You shouldn't do it that way" and "It's not going to work." Well I haven't lost a hive yet so that might say something. I'm sure I will but it won't be because I didn't try something new.

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

    Post

    Joel
    ALso ask him how to say varroa mite in Romanian. I had a heck of a time trying to communicate on this...

  14. #14

    Post

    I was encouraged by Dennis to share some photos of TBH so that is it a bit updated:
    http://homepage.interaccess.com/~net...ekshives2.html
    The text is in Polish but pictures “speaks” better sometimes then text.
    I agree totally with Dennis indications related to TBH.
    I have 7 full size + some small staff, TBH (2 are empty) Each one is different although general principle I have applied are the same.
    Take some interest in the picture of a tool I made and called it “podcinacz”.(There are 3 pictures.) In English it would be something as “undercutter”. I found this absolutely necessary and indispensable for TBH keepers.
    http://homepage.interaccess.com/~net...l_poziomy.html
    Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of another “invention” of top bar. It is not quite tested yet sins I applied it too late and I am not quite sure of results, but from my initial observations it looks promising, so more about it in a future.
    Wojtek

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Grinton, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    102

    Post

    Thanks, Guys.
    Just a couple more point that came up whilst browsing B Wrangler's website -

    </font>
    • What is the adantages/disadvantages of 'T' topbars against normal ones</font>
    • How do you start the comb? If a strip of foundation, how is it fixed? - As on a normal frame?</font>

    Thanks again,
    ABB

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    &gt;What is the adantages/disadvantages of 'T' topbars against normal ones

    The idea was to give the comb more support. Bwrangler would have to tell you how it worked. I've never tried it.

    &gt;How do you start the comb? If a strip of foundation, how is it fixed? - As on a normal frame?

    Most of us, IF we use a strip of foundation, we cut a groove in the top bar and wax the strip into the groove with a wax tube fastener (see Walter T. Kelley or other bee supplier). I prefer a trangular guide. I've done both and had better luck and better attachment to the bar with the guide.

    You can see some here with the guide on them:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/KTBHOpen.jpg

    Some of these are strips (blank ones) and some are guides.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TTBHOpen.JPG
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    Wotjek,

    Nice site! Pity my Polish is horrible. I am interested in the “podcinacz” how do you use it and how is it made.

    Thanks,

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    Has anyone taken a Lang hive and just put in bars like the TBH's. The reason I ask is I have all these Langs and would like to try the TBH's without adding more equipment if possible.
    I currently have my hives on starter strips in deep frames. I was wondering about just taking the sides and bottoms of the frames and letting the bees get on with it. I was thinking when comming to harvest to just cut the comb and leave about a 1" attachment.

    Thanks,
    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Post

    &gt;Has anyone taken a Lang hive and just put in bars like the TBH's.

    I start my TTBH's in Langstroth equipment. Usually a five frame medium nuc and then move it to an eight frame medium box and then a ten frame medium box and then a long box. But sooner or later you need the long box.

    &gt;The reason I ask is I have all these Langs and would like to try the TBH's without adding more equipment if possible.

    You can start off that way. But once you get to ten frames, then what?

    &gt;I currently have my hives on starter strips in deep frames. I was wondering about just taking the sides and bottoms of the frames and letting the bees get on with it.

    My deep top bar hive didn't do so well. It was a double wide deep (9 5/8" + 3/4" deep) and one hot day the combs went down like a row of dominoes in a complete collapse. I did a cutout to medium frames and tried a long medium next which worked well.

    &gt; I was thinking when comming to harvest to just cut the comb and leave about a 1" attachment.

    It will work fine except for the expansion issue. If you add boxes on top then your top bars would need spacers or gaps to allow the bees to move up and down and then there would be the problem of them attaching the bottom of the comb to the top bar of the box below...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

    Post

    &gt;If anyone is fearing isolation from the rest of your local beeks then I say isolation it is!

    what i meant buy that is with just top bars i wouldnt be able to share nucs with other people it might also be more difficult to be involved in pollination services. also since i dont already have a back ground in the usage of langs so im getting one.

    &gt;What is the adantages/disadvantages of 'T' topbars against normal ones

    in my experiance none. i started three packages last spring knowing id be moving them in the fall. when i was making top bars id never moved a hive much less a tbh. i was worried about comb collapse so i used tounge depressors to make a tee. they worked and were incorporated into the comb alright but by the fall the comb was mature enough that i feel "tees" werent needed.
    all that is gold does not glitter

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