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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Washington County, NY
    Posts
    115

    Post

    My top bars are so tight by now that I have to angle the last two together and push them down with quite a bit of force, which only works for now since both hives are new packages and there are lots of empty bars in the back. I can't tell if this is because of all the rain we've had, or from the moisture the bees produce inside the hive. Is there a good way to deal with this? Shave off the (undrawn) bars? Shave off the spacer bar at the end? Thanks for your input!

  2. #2

    Post

    Mine, of simmilar construction, gradualy "swelled" such that I simmply removed the back spacer bar. As of today, even that leaves the remaining top bars fairly compressed. As I explained in the phone email earlyer, the long side walls are bowing out some. This has the effect of shortening the length of the hive, therebye compressing the top bars. So it may not be swelling as much as this foreshortening/ widening that is the culprit. I'm contimplating how the rammifications of this dynamic effects other aspects of the hive, for instance to snugness of the top; and what remmedies can be aplied if the trend continues to the point that the centraly located top bars slip off their supporting hive side edges and start sliding down further into the hive. I've several ideas already.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    york co south carolina
    Posts
    52

    Post

    one thing that may help in future construction of tbh bars , is to use used lumber that has been outside for a few weeks to aclemate to the local ambient humidity . wood swells and contracts with changes in atmospheric humidity , it is constantly in motion . if you cut your bars from new just purchased lumber it will have a moisture content of +/- 6% . wood used on outdoor projects should be in the 20 % range . so considerable swelling will occur making your top bars swell and be to wide . what might help is to set the lumber to be used for the top bars outside on the ground for 2 weeks to swell before being cut to size . or scavenge scrap wood off a construction site that has been out in the weather for 2 weeks or more . then cut the bars to width . on hot low humidity days the bars will get thinner and on high humidity or rainy days the bars won't get stuck . i used scavenged lumber for my 2 tbh's , i hope to finish them today . i plan to cut my bars from scrap that has been outside for several months
    hope this helps
    stephen

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

    Post

    I build my hives with a cleat in front for spacing at front, but the back of the hive is clear for top bars to slide off the back if they wish. Top bars swelling while in a tight space like that is guaranteed to split your hive.

    Wood blocks were used in ancient times to split granite blocks into smaller pieces by jamming into cracks and swelling with water.

    You are better off leaving out the last topbar altogether until you can replace it with something smaller.

    Next time you make a hive, don't enclose the topbars on both ends. Leave the back open so that the hive is still closed even if the last bar overlaps the end.
    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
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Washington County, NY
    Posts
    115

    Post

    Human being: does your lid go down over the ends and sides? Is the bowing of the sides below the lid then?

    Thank you 3peper and Scot, I'll take the end spacer out and see what happens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I use my lid to provide the forward compression, but the front of the lid isn't cleated on, if the top bars swell, the whole lid slides back. But the lid provides the necessary resistence to keep the top bars pressed together during swelling.
    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>

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    &gt;My top bars are so tight by now that I have to angle the last two together and push them down with quite a bit of force, which only works for now since both hives are new packages and there are lots of empty bars in the back. I can't tell if this is because of all the rain we've had, or from the moisture the bees produce inside the hive.

    It's the humidity.

    &gt; Is there a good way to deal with this?

    Take a bar out.

    &gt; Shave off the (undrawn) bars? Shave off the spacer bar at the end?

    Take out the spacer bar at the end. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Washington County, NY
    Posts
    115

    Post

    Took the spacer bar out at the end. Will wait and see for a few days, but may have to put something smaller back in as there is an opening now that's big enough to let the bees get between the top bars and the cover. It may also let the ants in from under the lid (still feeding my packages because of the lousy weather...)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    &gt;there is an opening now that's big enough to let the bees get between the top bars and the cover.

    It's called an entrance. [img]smile.gif[/img] That's my only entance.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Washington County, NY
    Posts
    115

    Post

    It's more like a trap door to an attic...?: The cover is closed above it and there's no exit except for back down between the last bar and the back wall...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

    Post

    I use a follower at the back of the bars.
    http://nordykebeefarm.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=6

    [size="1"][ June 11, 2006, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: Jon McFadden ][/size]
    Jon, N6VC/5

  12. #12

    Post

    Yes, Space Bee, the top encloses both ends and sides. It has been getting harder to put the top on because of the sides bowing out, probably correcting the bowing by its compressing the sides back in. This problem is worse in our hives because the wood used was relatively thin to keep them lite. I you had a third hand, and you pressed the sides together, it should be easyer to squeeze back in tight top bars you've taken out. Scot's solution to prevent blowing off the front or back by not restricting the top bars at the rear is ellagant. I'm contemplating a few ideas to correct the problem that we could discuss.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I ran a two by two down the side of the TTBH to make it stiffer.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I've just never had this problem. But, my lumber probably sets for a few months before I build a tbh with it. Lots of the lumber around here is of very poor quality and when I find a good batch, I stock up.

    I also rip a couple of top bars up making Bush spacers. I put these near the rear of the hive. They replace a couple of top bars there. If I needed a little more space, I would just remove one of these spacers.

    Regards
    Dennis

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