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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ghent, Raleigh County, West Virginia
    Posts
    6

    Post

    Hello,

    I have been reading these forums for 2 weeks, brushing up on my skills. I have kept bees for a few years but just 1-3 hives at the most. But a friend with 20 hives in his backyard, in the city, started having a lot of swarms in late May and I now have 6 hives. I always register the hives with the WV State Dept of Ag and treat per their advice, but have real concerns about using the stuff they are asking us to use now, it requires strict handling and can kill queens, so I plan to treat with Checkmite that I have leftover this fall and see what they come up with later.
    I just had to build a top bar hive the moment I saw one on this site. I used the plans suggested by M Bush with some personal touches. It has 22 bars, an aluminum cover that sits right on the bars, which brings up the 1st question. Does it need to be up off the bars a little for ventilation? Its been in the 40's last couple nights but will eventually warm up some but never real hot weather.
    I just got back from my buddies house where we put a swarm in this KTBH. The swarm was 14 feet up a small maple tree (I know because 6 foot me was standing on top of a 6 foot stepladder with a bushel basket held over my head while I shook the bees in to the basket)
    It took a long time for them to go in the small entrance; I was unable to see a real good picture of where people put the entrances so mine is on one end and is only 6 inches long. I also have a couple of 7/8 inch holes in the back on top screened over for ventilation. Do those sound adequate?
    No one here has seen a topbar before so we are all waiting to see how it does. So far its been a hoot, fun to build and everyone has to look it over, I'm hoping it all works good and I may be up to my ears in orders for them. I'll take all the advice I can get.
    Have a great day,
    Charles

    I'm including my web page which only has old info about bees (I'll be updating soon) and my other interests; rtifacts, wildflowers, gardening, etc

    Charles's Artifacts and more
    “The honey-bee goes forth from the hive in spring like the dove from Noah’s ark, and it is not till after many days that she brings back the olive leaf, which in this case is a pellet of golden pollen upon each hip, ….” John Burroughs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

    Post

    I would maintain an air space between the top bars and the cover. It may not be necessary, but there will be less transfer of heat if there is an open space between. I've pulled bees out of attics where the comb has been built directly on the roof panels. Comb that has been there several years shows that occassionally, it had gotten so hot that it fell and the bees had to start over.
    I included an observation port on mine (actually two) and will include at least one on future hives
    Here is the design Scot McPherson and I worked on last year and what I used to construct mine. You will note that there is only one entrance on the end:
    http://nordykebeefarm.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=6

    The honey press I am going to use is the one Satterfield uses:
    http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm

    [size="1"][ June 10, 2006, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Jon McFadden ][/size]
    Jon, N6VC/5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,447

    Post

    >I would maintain an air space between the top bars and the cover. It may not be necessary, but there will be less transfer of heat if there is an open space between.

    Precisely my view. I think you could skip it if you want, but it's probably better. My KTBH has a warped piece of 3/4" plywood for the lid which leaves about a 1/2" to 3/4" space in the middle. The TTBH has 3/8" between the bars and the migratory covers. My hope was that the bees would keep the ants out. They didn't, but I did feed pollen patties there by making a gap in the top bars where the cluster was and putting them there. It worked very well. The KTBH has always been in the shade. The TTBH has always been in full sun. Well, sort of. I never cut the grass. [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
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I have used plywood in a pinch to cover beehives, but as it rains and/or the sun beats on it and the plywood warps this way and that, the top bars tend to move too sometimes and I have visited hives with the topbars caved in because the wood moved them out of place. Go for a proper roof which is easy to construct out of plywood and scrap wood.
    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
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

    Post

    I had the good fortune to acquire some heavy metal shelves. These weren't wide enough for one shelf to cover by itself, but with three, it made a rainproof top. This rests on the ends of the hive, which by accident, stick about 1/8" above the top bars, leaving an air gap. It's open so you can look straight across. No place for ants or anything else. When the sun beats down on it, you can't touch it. The air gap allows some discontinuity.
    My permanent top will be corrugated sheet metal with an arc formed by a piece of wood.
    Jon, N6VC/5

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