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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Question

    I have been reading up on bees and thinking about getting bees for a while now and would like to start next spring.

    I am curious if those of you that have TBH have experience w/standard Langstroth type hives. If so, could you compare/contrast the advantages/disadvantages?

    The obvious advantage that I see to the TBH method is that it's much less expensive than standard hives. Are there other advantages?

    The only disadvantage that I see is that all of the beekeeping classes are geared towards standard hives. Are their other disadvantages that I might not be thing of? Is it easier to control mites or other disease in a standard hive?

    Thanks in advance -

    [img]smile.gif[/img] Carla
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Sad

    Why do I show as unregistered?
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    &gt;Why do I show as unregistered?

    good question
    I think maybe the forum software hicuped
    if it doesn't clear up you can send Barry (who run's the show) a message and get it cleared up
    as for your question, I like the compromise most folks call a long hive
    it's a tbh built with the proper dimensions so langstroth frames will fit in it
    then you can use topbars or frames
    and also most regular lang equipment will work if you want to use it
    here's pics of one I built

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

    Dave

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Indian Valley, Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Post

    dave....i like your construction pictures. how big is the entrance and how did you decide to make it that size?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    randy

    I tried to do a couple of things to give me flexability in how I can run it
    the bottom entrance you see is one of two, there's one in the other end also
    the idea being twofold
    1) you could open both entrances during a flow to give better access to the honey storage area
    2) you could actually use follower boards to patition each end off and run it like 2 langstroth hives, since there's an entrance at both ends

    at the moment I'm doing neither
    I got a chance to hear MB speak at a meeting and he was talking about using a top entrance
    that way if you use supers on it, you an move the entrance to the top of the supers and force the bees to go thru the supers as they come and go
    sounds like a good idea so I built this

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/tf/

    it's a combination feeder and top entrance
    the idea being if you add supers you just keep the entrance at the top of the stack
    I was building a feeder anyway so this was easy to do and that's the way I currently am running it
    the other entrances are just blocked off

    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    26

    Post

    OK, that's a neat hive drobbins, but it doesn't answer her question. We've got a potential new beekeeper here who is trying to decide what equipment to go with. I built a TBH because I'm cheap, didn't want to wait til I had a payday that wasn't earmarked for something else (which never happens btw) and I wanted bees NOW. I've listed my reason on another site where she asked the same questions but I will cut and paste it here as well and maybe you all can add too or elaborate since nearly everyone here has much more experience than I do.

    I'm still a newbee but from what I understand is that it is easier to control the mites in a TBH than a Langstroth.
    I haven't gotten that far yet.

    My reasons for wanting a TBH were:
    less expensive

    lighter--honey supers on a Langstroth are very heavy. In a TBH you handle one bar of comb at a time. You have to be more careful because they do break more easily. But, slow and steady is better for working around bees anyway.

    I'm not really looking into getting into a major opperation, I just want enough for personal use and maybe some extra for friends and family.

    I want honey and wax. Many people list not being able to extact honey from a TBH as a con, I don't have the money to buy an extractor (hundreds or even thousands $$) or the patience to track someone down and have my honey extracted on their schedule. So, crush and drain on a small scale is going to work much better for me. I can make candles, lip balm, lotion, etc with the extra wax.

    Don't need to store extra equipment over the winter. I guess with Lanstroth hives you take certain parts off of the hive for part of the year and have to have storage for it away from mice and wax moths, etc.

    With a top bar hive you have less work to do more often. You can't go weeks and weeks without checking your hives and expect things to be going well. Care needs to be taken that the brood isn't getting honey bound. You need to add or move top bars to make sure that they have enough room and don't decide that they are too crowded and want to leave. My hive is in my backyard so this isn't an issue for me. If I had hundreds of hives and had to drive to my beeyards, then it would be a bigger deal with the prices of gas.

    I personally think that a TBH is more practical than a Lanstroth for a small scale beekeeper but I've only had my hive going for a little while and am not an expert by any means. I haven't ever worked with Langstroth equipment. I still don't really understand how all of those parts go together, etc.

    The main drawback is the lack of information out there and not having a local beekeepers who are familiar with TBH's. You will have to forge your own path, which can be scary since there probably a bit of a fear of bees in all of us. While it's not incredibly painful, no one wants to be stung because they didn't know what they were doing. There is a top bar hive forum at www.beesource.com that is very helpful. There are several people there that are doing TBH's on a large scale and are successful with them. Not that I don't love Homesteading Today, but you will find more info over there (and a few familiar faces as well)

    I hope this was helpful to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Indian Valley, Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Post

    but which hive will yield the most?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    deehovey

    I think you did a pretty good job of laying out most of the pro's and con's
    I would add that most folks will tell you that the bees are more gentle to work in a tbh
    this being because you don't have to disrupt their home nearly as much to do whatever you're doing
    when you pull those boxes apart in a lang you really upset their applecart
    Most folks would say you get a little more honey from a lang due to the reuse of the combs after extracting, but it's possible build a tbh in such a way that you can super it with regular equipment and extract from one as well
    it just depends on what's important to you and how much effort you want to put into building it
    the one I built is NOT less complicated than a lang, that wasn't my goal
    I wanted to avoid lifting boxes and having to tear the hive apart to check on the broodnest
    the nice thing about a tbh is the tremendous flexibility in how you build it
    unfortunaely that also makes it hard to discuss pro's and con's because things can be done so many different ways

    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Smile

    Thanks hovey! [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Anyone else have any pro's / con's to tbh vs. lang?

    Do any of you belong to your local beekeepers assoc? I'm trying to connect with the OR group. Maybe they'll be some tbh keepers in that group that'll let me take a peek at their hives.

    Carla
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,582

    Post

    &gt;I am curious if those of you that have TBH have experience w/standard Langstroth type hives. If so, could you compare/contrast the advantages/disadvantages?

    I have top bar hives and langs. I have horizontal langs and vertical langs. The horizontal issues are that it takes more frequent tweaking to run a horizontal hive. The up side is that requires a lot less lifting. If I had a bunch of hives a long way from home they would be standard vertical eight frame medium boxes and foundationless frames. If I have the hive in my yard, I like the horizontal hives.

    &gt;The obvious advantage that I see to the TBH method is that it's much less expensive than standard hives. Are there other advantages?

    No lifting. No frames to build. No wiring foundation. No foundation to buy. Clean wax. Natural cell size.

    &gt;Is it easier to control mites or other disease in a standard hive?

    If you do a turnover of comb to get the bees regressed so the core of the brood nest is 4.9mm or below, yes. Then, in my experience, the varroa will be managable with no treatments. If you want to use standard treatments, I don't know, because I've never attempted it.

    Info on Top Bar Hives:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    Info on Horizontal Hives:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm
    Info on Natural Cell Size:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    Info on foundationless beekeeping:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Post

    Michael -

    Thanks for the links to your site.....very nice photos! Photos are great when trying to figure all this out.

    [img]smile.gif[/img] Carla
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clatskanie, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    93

    Post

    You will need both I like the top bar hive because you need only take the lid off and all the frames are handy to work.... No moving boxes around.... advantages/disadvantages TBH is so big you can not move it around. I make a long hive that take Lang frames that I can put in to standard Lang hive for splits and nuc’s for moving bees around. I make a hive rack that’s 2’ by 8’ and now I can only get two long hives on them… with Lang’s I could get four or five hives with the same foot print. I live where it rains 366 days a year and I get a lot less condensation or its spread over a larger top… I have lost more bees to condensation than winter cold and food.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Post

    I was reading about preventing condensation in a lang hive....as all books I've found are geared that way. How to you prevent it in a tbh? I assume that you would just create some sort of vent between the top bars and the lid itself.

    I'm in Or too! I really enjoy all the rain we get but hope it's not a problem with the hives.

    [img]smile.gif[/img] Carla
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon
    Posts
    28

    Post

    I was reading about preventing condensation in a lang hive....as all books I've found are geared that way. How to you prevent it in a tbh? I assume that you would just create some sort of vent between the top bars and the lid itself.

    I'm in Or too! I really enjoy all the rain we get but hope it's not a problem with the hives.

    [img]smile.gif[/img] Carla
    Live simply.<br />Love generously.<br />Care deeply. <br />Speak kindly.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,582

    Post

    My medium long hives have a 3/8" gap between the lid and the top bars.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Post

    You don't worry about condensation above the top bars, you worry about condensation inside the hive body. The topbars effect a ceiling especially when they have been propolized. The condensation collects under the ceiling as the bees transpire water.
    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>

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