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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    york co south carolina
    Posts
    52

    Post

    i have been trying to decide which style to build . i first was interested in the kenya design . but now i may go with one that will fit a lang deep frame . why?
    i have a lang with plastic foundation given to me by a friend . its a two year hive going strong . i mixed in some foundationless frames and they have started natural comb on them . i plan to pull out the plastic and have the hive go completely foundationless natural comb . i had planned to start the tbh with these plastic frames with brood and add a queen . then move the plastic one or two at a time to the back of the tbh in hope of the brood being replaced with honey , and then remove them entirely from the hive .
    is this a good plan??? or should i build a ktbh . how can i stock it from my existing hive ? or can i ? also how can i rotate my plastic frames out without destroying frames with brood ? any suggestions would help . i had planned to build today but have had second thoughts on the idea . if i stick with my original plan to build the deep tbh i will still build the ktbh and keep it out if a swarm passes by and get a package for next spring . what would yaul do
    thanks
    stephen

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

    Post

    Hi pepper
    Make one of each! Just make the top bars the same length.
    Start with the long hive, do a walkaway split off your existing hive to stock it. Let it build up. Throw in some plain top bars, no frames, into the brood chamber. Once those have brood and egges you are set.

    THen next spring pull out the top bars, trim as needed to fit your new hive, and off you go. Shake in some bees, and use a follower board and you should be successful in a 3 from 1.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    Don't over think it. Enjoy it. I built one KTBH and enjoy it a lot. I built sever long medium hives and put top bars in some of them and enjoy the interchangability of it. There isn't a right or wrong answer.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4

    Post

    michael,your comment answers a question on tbh that i have? that's whether to use a med frame or deep and if the med will work? What length hive do you use? what's the weather like in your area?
    central NY has long wet winters with some extreme cold.
    bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    I think the deep COULD work. My first one didn't. I did a double wide Langstroth deep and had a dominoe collapse which wiped it out. I had to do a cutout. So after that I built the Kenya and the Medium. I've never had a dominoe collapse in the Medium. I've had one comb fall, but never one that took the next one with it. Same with the KTBH. I had no real problems with collapse. Of course new comb on a hot day can break, but thats when you realize you shouldn't be working them on a real hot day. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    My mediums are 48 3/4" long (three ten frame boxes end to end would be the same) with three standard ten frame migratory covers for the cover.

    Typically we get -10 F for about a week and occasionally a -20 F night. Rarely it's hit -30 F. USDA zone 5a. Summer is usually about a week over 100 F and a few weeks in the ninties.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Post

    In my limited experience, the Kenyan (sloping sides) design works best, for 3 reasons:

    1. less attachment to sides (actually none in my KTBHs and lots in my vertical sided hives)

    2. Wide attachment at top with comb tapering towards bottom is much more stable when handling.

    3. The smaller volume per unit length of hive forces bees to build more combs (i.e. use more bars) for any given quantity of bees/honey. This increases flexibility of management as well as making individual combs lighter and therefore less liable to collapse.

    FWIW, my hives are 36" long with 17" top bars (to match the British standard frame TB) and about 12" deep.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    I built the Tanzanian style TBH's and it is already apparent that these rectangular combs are going to get really heavy, and as mentioned above, combs half the size could more easily be manipulated within the hive.

    My bees, three hives worth, are attaching their comb to the sides of the hives. It is no problem to cut them loose, but it sure would be nice if the bees would knock it off.

    If all goes well, next year I will build a few KTBH just 16" wide, 10" deep, and 30 top-bars long. My current hives are 20 top-bars long, 20" wide, and 10" deep; these big combs are going to be awkard.
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    They are guaranteed to break too being that big.

    Haggis, if you are emulating my design, keep in mind those dimensions are internal dimensions.
    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>

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    york co south carolina
    Posts
    52

    Post

    if i use a frame but no foundation will it help with comb strength? or is there a better way of strengthening the comb . i sized it for the deep to help me rotate out some plastic frames , they are curently in a deep lang . i am hopeing to populate the deep thb with them and slowly move them to the back of the hive and once the are converted to honey storage i will remove them completely .
    thanks
    stephen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    &gt;if i use a frame but no foundation will it help with comb strength?

    Not until they have attached it on either the bottom or the sides. Then it will.

    &gt; or is there a better way of strengthening the comb .

    You can make a frame and wire it. I haven't.

    &gt; i sized it for the deep to help me rotate out some plastic frames , they are curently in a deep lang . i am hopeing to populate the deep thb with them and slowly move them to the back of the hive and once the are converted to honey storage i will remove them completely .

    I didn't have any luck with the Langstroth deep sized TBH. The combs went down like a row of dominoes. Maybe you'll have better luck than me.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    &gt;They are guaranteed to break too being that big.

    My top bars are 22" long and the comb is about 16" tall. That's larger than the tbh combs mentioned here. And I move my hives at least twice a year, when the weather is hot, without loosing or breaking any comb. They are not coddled, but are moved with a hand cart over rough ground.

    I haven't lost any comb since I starting elevating the cover above the top bars when the weather gets hot. This is much more important than the size of the comb.

    And after the comb has aged for a single season, I can rotate(within its plane)full, capped honey combs and set them down on top a hive with the bottom of the comb pointing up and the top surface of the top bar resting on the hive without breaking them.

    Rotating a broodcomb, this way, is a snap, even when they are less than a year old. Although, I find using a stand or empty hive space more convient than handling comb this way. Because the wind can startup and blow a comb over if they are set down this way.

    I don't think the size of comb guarentees it's failure. But overheating or mis-handling sure will. It took me about a season to learn how to properly handle tbh comb. I had formed quite a few bad comb handling habits during 38 years of standard beekeeping.

    More important factors for tbh design should include the type and duration of the honey flows, and the length and type of overwintering. Warmer areas with multiple, moderate to slow flows would be better served with a shallower tbh comb. In colder areas with a few major flows, a tbh with a taller comb could provide some advantages.

    The length of a tbh should consider both the bees and the beekeepers needs. With my taller tbhs, the bees only use 18 to 20 top bars. But I like a little extra room( 7 to 10 top bars) at the rear of the my tbhs. It's a great space to store comb, to feed, to raise queens or a nuc.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Knowing Scot comes from an area where a standard hive, without supers, is 1 1/2 stories. And I come from an area where a standard hive is twice that tall. Our tbhs reflect our experience.

    [size="1"][ June 10, 2006, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    However dennis you are refering to brood combs not honey combs, and also I am willing to bet you don't inspect your colonies directly before moving the hive.

    Regards,

    Knowing that dennis doesn't realize that Scot moved to a more northerly region of the USA where 3 deeps is the norm.
    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>

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    When I built my TBH's I looked at measurements given by others on the web, and kinda went by what a Langstroth style deep super provided by way of space. The inside width 18.5", 20" being overal width. But, in retrospect, I now think smaller and lighter combs might given me more leeway in shuffling brood and brood combs about within the hive.

    I too use an elevated cover. I lay two hive length 2"X4"'s on top and at either side of the hive, and then wrap a piece of tin over the whole sheebang. The tin is held in place by two bungee cords wrapped around the hive, giving an overal "rounded" appearance to the covers. In the center the tin is easily 4" above the TB's.

    I didn't put the swarms in the hives until May 13th, and the weather is still in the 60's here during the day (with frost at night), but the girls are already hatching brood in good numbers. Some of their combs are already hive deep (a full 1"X10") and extend 2/3rds of the way across the hive.

    Too bad I can't winter them, but so it goes. There was a meetings of beekeepers and beehavers in a local town a few weeks back, and every one of those folks kill their bees in the fall; goldenrod blooms the middle of August here, and there is nothing for the bees after the first of september, nor again until into April. Some of those gentlefolk have been keeping bees for over 50 years up here, and have never been able to successfully winter bees; it's the build up of moisture during weeks on end of -20 to -60 weather they say.
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

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

    Post

    Well that's too bad. There are plenty of northern beekeepers in minnesota, canada and alaska who don't seem to need to kill their bees.

    Those folks you met aren't beekeepers, they are a terrible breed of beekillers who can wholesale exploit the lives of beings and just extinguish them when they no longer want to care for them because the amount of money they can get for the honey the bees need for winter is worth more than new packages in the spring.

    Its a **** **** shame.

    Of course you can over winter them, and you should. Provide proper ventilation and plenty of food and you'll do just fine. If you don't do well you still have the honey in the spring if it doesn't work out.

    To provide ventilation just drill a 1 inch hole in the back of the hive at the center.
    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
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    All I know of beekeeping in this area is what I have heard others say, but I do know this part of Minnesota has a very different climate than the remainder of the state. Two hours south of here there are corn fields, and there are corn fields two hours to the west, but here on the Iron Range it can and frequently does frost every month of the year; even gardening is difficult. Two hours south or west of here folks do winter their bees without too much trouble, but they have a far better climate.

    The beefolk here say that a very good hive will lay up 75 pounds of honey in a Langstroth hive during the summer, and that it takes that much or more to winter them, if they survive. The problem is the moisture within the hive freezes and stays frozen until it incapsulates the cluster, or should the cluster survive that, the ice in the hive will thaw and drown them and their combs come spring. This is my first year with bees up here, so I can only go by what the locals say.

    One fellow, whose family has been in the honey business for decades, says that for every hive that survives, 20 others will fail. It would be nice to talk to someone who has successfully wintered bees here abouts.
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    That's what the ventilation is for, to prevent the humidity from building up to begin with. No humidity, no condensation, no ice, no spring melt.

    It is common knowledge among experienced northern beekeepers that ventilation in the north is just as important for overwintering as it is in the south for heat.
    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>

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    I understand the arguement of a ventilation hole, and the logic of it, we used them on gums and Langstroth hives back in Kentucky, but here the vapor coming off my Jersey's milk freezes the vacuum line on the milking machine shut in a matter of seconds, the vapor from the ventilation pipe coming from my LP furnace all but freezes pipe shut in very cold weather. Hot water thrown in the air will freeze before it hits the ground, or snow as it were in winter, and icecycles will hang all winter from my wood chimney if the firewood isn't completely seasoned. One would think that if a vent hole was all that was needed, there would be those who were successfully doing it. Short of bringing the bees in the house for the winter, and Herself will never allow that, not and Herself living here as well, I really don"t see a chance of the bees making it all winter.

    Up here vapor freezes when it hits the air, and any hole large enough to let vapor out, but small enough to keep heat in is going to freeze solid post haste. I'll keep looking, there is bound to be some old coot up here who has a fix on wintering bees, but his knowledge isn't common knowledge.
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

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    &gt;it's the build up of moisture during weeks on end of -20 to -60 weather they say.

    It's called "ventilation". You need some air coming in the bottom and some going out the top. A top enntrance is essential. It's colder in Finland where Finnman winters his, and in Alaska where Keith and Dick Allen winter theirs, and, since the border was closed to packages every beekeeper in Canada overwinters, including Ian. Many people keep bees in as harsh a climate as Minnesota and overwinter their bees.

    http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tid...1.htm#Article1
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Scot,

    Regards,

    &gt;Knowing that dennis doesn't realize that Scot moved to a more northerly region of the USA where 3 deeps is the norm.

    Yep, I knew it. And I'll bet you will know more after your first overwintering there:&gt

    But I bet I know something you don't. I'll be moving to your old stomping grounds next year. Then will have something more to talk about. And maybe alot more questions ;&gt

    Regards
    Dennis

  20. #20

    Post

    Haggis. Good that you remained some physics, and that “common knowledge” is not necessarily common knowledge in which there is relation between amount of water in the air and temperature of air, and….that climate in a hive is the MICROCLIMATE excellently regulated by family of bees of normal size, provided that a hive cavity walls by its thermal insulation properties protects from external climate.
    Hive is NOT a chimney.

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