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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Tennessee (northern part, zone 6)
    Posts
    29

    Post

    I've been doing a lot of reading about TBH's of all sorts and about long body hives as well. And, thanks to Michael Bush's information and encouragement, I've built a long body hive that accepts deep Lang frames (don't use foundation in them). By the way Michael, I have the girls moved in and they seem to be doing fine! I am now seriously considering building a square TBH and have a question.

    It seems that in a long body hive, the idea is to allow for just a shade over the size of a double Lang hive body. In the TBH's, it seems the idea is to allow for about the same as 2 Lang hive bodies plus some honey storage.

    My question is this. Is there a particular reason for these sizes. I realize that smaller sizes can cause problems by not allowing the bees to have enough room to raise brood and have enough for winter stores. But, is there any reason that a hive shouldn't be bigger?

    I guess what I am getting at is if you were to build a hive that was.... say twice as big, would the girls simply enlarge their colony to "fit" the hive? Or would they only increase the amount of food stores?

    If they would increase their population to the size of the hive, it just seemed to make sense to me to allow them to do this and thereby have a larger work force to collect more honey (for human consumption) during the nectar flows.

    Just my thoughts! I'd like to hear yours. But, please remember that I'm still relatively new to keeping bees.

    Thanks
    \"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!\"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Beebiz,

    >I guess what I am getting at is if you were to build a hive that was.... say twice as big, would the girls simply enlarge their colony to "fit" the hive? Or would they only increase the amount of food stores?

    It would be great if they would, but that hasn't been my experience. The major flows in my area occur toward the end of the season. It seems that when the bees reach an optimum condition for winter, they become complacent and won't use any additional space. Earlier in the season, they aren't constrained this way. For my tbhs, which are somewhat larger than most, the bees seldom use more than 20 top bars, even if the space and comb is available. I've put extra top bars with comb into a tbh and they still just used about 20 top bars max. It might be different in a different climate, but I just don't have any experience of that kind.

    Maybe the bees would work differently in a much shallower tbh than mine. I just don't know. A comb in my tbh has an area of about 273 square inches and is spaced at about 1 1/4" for those who want to do the math.

    That means my tbhs have about seven 'extra' top bars. But I find that space useful when working(no stand needed), feeding, or for running a small nuc.

    Regards
    Dennis

    [size="1"][ March 11, 2006, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    It seems like with a shallower hive you can get them to spread out more. With regular frame hives, I have a double wide Dadant Deep (11 5/8" plus 3/4" deep to the bottom and 32 1/2" long) and double wide Deep (9 5/8" pluse 3/4" deep to the bottom) a couple of 12 frame deeps (19 7/8" by 19 7/8") and several triple wide mediums (6 5/8" plus 3/4" to the bottom) that are 48 3/4" long. I also have a couple of top bar hives this size. They spread out more on the medium depth than the deep. I think once you force them in a direction and they make up their mind to move sideways they do it better. I had the most trouble getting the Dadant deep hive to fill out the double wide.

    In the book "In Search of the Best Strains of Bees" Brother Adam saw many horizontal hives. They varied from three feet long to five feet long. Most seem to be about three or four feet long.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Tennessee (northern part, zone 6)
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Thanks guys. I was afraid that the girls would make their colony the size they wanted it regardless of how much "extra" space you gave them.

    I got a copy of some plans that I intend to build my TBH from, but can't remember where I got them. It's really just a picture of the parts with their measurements. At the bottom of the picture it says,
    27 bars 1 1/4" Wide X 1" Thick X 22" Long
    0 degrees Off Vertical
    Area 249 sq in

    This hive is constructed out of 3 pieces of 1"X6" lumber glued together.
    I wish I could remember where I got this from, but can't. There was a choice of plans to build a TBH with slanted sides or with straight sides. The one I wanted was with the straight sides.

    I do intend to make one modification from the original plans. I intend to do like Michael and make the TB's for the brood area 1 1/4" wide and the ones for the honey storage area 1 1/2" wide. I'll do that to hopefully keep down on the problem with the bees cheating the comb in the honey area.

    Michael, in your TBH that is the size of a tripple wide med. and measures 48 3/4" long, do you think there would be any advantage to making them any longer? If so, do you have any suggestions as to how much length would be benificial?

    Thanks again for the input!!
    \"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!\"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    They seem to work well at that length. The advantage to a little longer might be that you could keep them from filling the last few combs to make it easier to open things up. But I don't think they will fill much past the four foot mark.

    I am now (as of a few minutes ago) thinking there may be more to climate than I've known before. My double wide Dadant deep has struggled since I set it up to fill a 32 1/2" long hive. Today I checked it and it's FULL of bees. The milde winter and the deep combs seemed to have made a difference. It's the same queen that was in it all last year and it never did quite that well.

    I think a lot of things with bees are a matter of them making up their mind. If they are forced into a situation where there is only one choice they make it quickly. It's like crowding them up into comb honey sections or crowding them or baiting them up through an excluder. Once you get them to make up their mind to do it they do fine. With things like a long medium there isn't a choice between sideways and up. There's only sideways. With an eight frame hive there's only up. With my double wide Dadant deep there was anyway you want until you hit a wall and then you have to decide what to do next.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Tennessee (northern part, zone 6)
    Posts
    29

    Post

    All of that makes sense Michael. From what I've seen of them in nature, they don't have enough room to cause them to have to "choose" which way to go. They usually have a limited amount of room to grow in one direction or the other. They can then easily as you say, "make up their minds" and all go the only way that they can go! Until you were talking about "making up their minds," I'd never thought of it this way. But, there are several thousand bees in a strong hive. And, I'm sure it's much easier for all of them to come to the same conclusion about which way to work if the direction is forced upon them.


    Michael Bush said:
    But I don't think they will fill much past the four foot mark.
    The lumber that has been given to me is 1" X 6" from crates that air conditioning units came in. I don't know if there are any longer than four feet, but if there are I will probably add enough length to accommodate an additional 4 to 5 bars just to give enough extra working room for me. If it happens that the girls don't want to go that far, I can always keep a follower board in place when the hive is closed.

    Thanks so much for the input.
    \"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!\"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Beebiz,

    Try www.bwrangler.com/bee/tmyt.htm

    Regards
    Dennis

    [SIZE=1][ December 31, 2006, 12:24 AM: Message edited by: D. Murrell ][/SIZE]
    Last edited by D. Murrell; 11-07-2007 at 07:49 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Tennessee (northern part, zone 6)
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Thanks Dennis! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I was begining to think I had lost my mind. The straight sided one is the one that I intend to build.

    Again, thank you so much!!
    \"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!\"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    88

    Post

    I think beebiz is a little too happy. Somebody's hitting the beejuice here. Go get 'em kid. You got friends here. It's great to have, Dennis, Michael, KeithB,and GeorgeF here. What a slap-happy bunch!!!!!
    What are we, men or Beekeepers?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    Throw some cold water on him. That'll bring him around.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Post

    Just for what it’s worth about TBH sizes. I work with Africanized bees in TBHs down here in Honduras. Just about all my hives are the sloped-sided Kenyan boxes. Most are about four feet long, 12 inches deep, seven inches across the bottom and about 17 inches across the top. They have between 30 and 35 top bars. If I calculated right, each comb is roughly the same as what would fill a 9 1/8 inch deep Langstroth frame.

    All the good strong hives are completely filled with combs right now (we’re right in the middle of the nectar flows). They haven’t even left me an empty bar to create a work space. About two-thirds of the hive is the brood nest. The other third is for honey, about 12 bars in total.

    It’s to the point where I’m worried that if I get delayed a bit with a harvest they’re going to get honey bound real fast and swarm. From the way my bees are working I would like to have ten bars at either end just for honey. That means about 40 to 45 top bars (getting close to five feet long it seems). All of them might not fill up those ten all at once with honey comb but at least I’ll feel more at ease knowing there is a bit of extra space I case I get delayed in seeing them for whatever reason.

    Having this extra space would also be nice if I deliberately don’t want to harvest right away. I have room to move some of the top bars down toward the end and add some empty bars in the middle part.

    Also, as far as using big boxes like this, I haven’t seen any problems with the colony’s growth, even when I move a small eight to ten comb hive from a trap hive into them. It hasn’t been necessary to put a divider in the box and close off part of the space.

    ----------
    Tom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Tennessee (northern part, zone 6)
    Posts
    29

    Post

    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for taking the time to give me their input. And Thomas, what you have said has convincecd me to at least try a longer box at some point. It won't be this year, as I want more "hands on" experience and knowledge before tackleing the bigger box.

    Thanks again to everyone.
    \"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!\"

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