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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    I opened my haves today and two of the three have 9 top-bars of full comb. The demensions inside my haves are 18.5"X9.5", so I think that works out to about 175 square inches of comb per bar, and then two sides to each comb. My hives are 20 bars long.

    My question is, when those who use slope sided hives are figuring 12 or 13 bars for brood comb, as am I, isn't there a great difference between the two in regards to surface area of brood comb?

    I have read where beefolk are making slope sided TBH's 16" on the inside, 10" deep, and with a 10" wide bottom board; that works out to somthing like 100 square inches of brood comb per top-bar. Would these hives then need 20 or more combs of brood?

    How much brood comb is "enough"?
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    Enough brood comb is that which makes enough bees to bring in a surplus....funny thing is, the bees know what's best if you let them do their thing.
    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>

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Posts
    14

    Post

    Aye, they know, but I would like to have some idea as well. I should hate to think that my hives were built too small for the task at hand.

    It being only the first of July, my bees have not put up any honey, other than the sugar syrup I feed them, and it stored around the brood. One hopes they don't run out of space before the need room to store honey.
    \"I envy no man who knows more than me, but I do pity those who know less.\"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Post

    One thing you might want to do is get a hold of some local beekeepers who have experience managing hives in your area. They should know more than anyone how the bees work up in Northern Minnesota (hopefully one will post something here). See what kind of space their hives are normally filling with just brood. Use that as a benchmark in planning the next TBHs you are going to build. Figure out how that space would transfer to your top bars and comb area and then add, I would say, at least 12 to 15 more topbars for honey storage (unless you're going to super for the honey).

    I'm dealing with africanized bees down here but I would need at least 30 to 35 top bars of that size, if not more, inorder to feel comfortable that they'll have enough room to work. I normally get at least 20 frames of brood during the honey flows (my boxes are the sloped-sided Kenyan TBHs). 20 frames for everything just doesn't seem like that much space.

    I tend to think it is better to have too much space than too little. You can always use a follower board and seal off part of the hive if necessary.

    ----------
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    Minimum space is enough to overwinter the bees. If that's two deeps where you live or it's a deep and a half. Figure up the volume and shoot for that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    San Jose CA
    Posts
    164

    Post

    Haggis asked:

    &gt; ....isn't there a great difference between the two in regards to
    &gt; surface area of brood comb?

    There is a big difference in efficiency between KTBH (sloped) and TTBH/Lang (rectangular) comb carrying capacity. The inside dimensions of the hive are a good way to measure capacity but there are other factors when measuring maximum achievable comb size.

    The mathematical approach:

    If you calculate the comb capacity of a top bar Comb using Scot McPherson's (http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org/...ingTopBarHives) recommendations. His are for a KTBH, and for the sake of simplicity, they are being used here for a TTBH also.

    TopBar -- 16" (40cm): Actual is 16 - (2 sides at .75 and two beespaces at .375) = 13.75"
    Height -- 9-10" (23-25cm): Actual is (9.5 - beespace) = 8.625
    Bottom Board Width -- 7" (17.75cm): Actual is (7 - two beespaces) = 6.25

    The TTBH comb area of 13.75 x 8.625 comes to 118.6 square inches
    The KTBH comb area is reduced by the two triangular sides = (13.75 - 6.25 x 8.625) and measures only 64.7 square inches
    The TTBH comb is over 80% larger than that of a KTBH (116.6 / 64.7 = 183%)

    Those triangular sides cost you a lot of comb area, a 2'6" long TTBH has similar comb carrying capacity to a 4'6" long KTBH. If you assume 1 3/8" average size for bars you can fit 26 in a 3' hive, and 34 in a 4' long hive.

    The comb capacities of the Lang frames I use are:
    Deep Wood 17 x 8 = 136
    Deep Plastic 17 x 8.5 = 144.5
    Medium Wood 17 x 5 = 85
    Medium Plastic 17 x 6 = 102

    If Lang beeks in your area need two deeps of wood frames to winter you can figure 16 frames of brood/pollen (discounting the outside frames in both deeps).

    16 * 136 = 2176 / KTBH 64.7 = 33.6 bars
    16 * 136 = 2176 / TTBH 118 = 18.5 bars

    The bee approach:

    Balance capacity between breeding and storage.

    Hive capacity affects what bees will do, so you cannot make direct extrapolations unless you compare like capacities. A 2-deep/2-super hive is about 26 gallons in capacity so the bees will not build the same size of brood area if they are in a 16-gallon KTBH.

    The KTBH will have a smaller brood area because the bees will optimize the breeding area and honey capacity to build winter stores.

    The good thing about this hobby is that bees are capable of surviving and thriving in almost anything you give them. Go with what works for you, because it will almost certainly work for the bees.

    A couple of general rules of thumb:

    - the bigger the hive the less maintenance
    - the longer the hive the less use bees will make of the far end


    JaiPea

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