I thought I would give a brief update on my new tbh's, design lessons and harvest results.
you can see (if I say so myself) a beautiful full lang deep size of comb at http://www.flickr.com/photos/55671493@N00/?saved=1
All 3 tbhs yielded 7-8 full combs of honey, leaving 20+ full combs of brood/honey/pollen for the girls. We have had a very generous season in the Ottawa valley with long clover and early&long golden rod flows. Of 6 nucs started this spring, 5 produced, with minimum yield being the equivalent of one medium super of honey. Total harvest across 9 tbh and lang hives of ~500 lbs. Drone brood in our Russian tbh (all combs) had disappeared by harvest time. Given to start we had only one strong hive, and one swarmed, we are quite pleased.
The lang deep tbh combs are quite something. We get 10 squares of comb honey worth $50, per frame, plus scraps. Although sales have been good, we have actually over produced a bit on the comb front for our word of mouth sales. We'll crush the remainder.
As fun as the 'au natural tbhs' have been, the girls attached (and re-attached) every single comb of HONEY down the sides, and in a couple instances also the bottom. Too many engineering genes. It was a contortion exercise to harvest as the 30 bar hive was full. Access had to be gained from regular frames inserted from the initial nuc, and inevitably we broke a few combs. In the 30 min it took to harvest a hive, every bee it seemed had exited. My particular head gear sucks as in the midst of surgical concentration the face mask would often rest on my chin. The girls kept reminding me of that. Next year I'll stick with foundationless lang frames, reinforced with foundation wire around the outside (yes, the propolis was so thick, and comb so heavy, we pulled a lang frame apart). We super for honey.
Aside from that, only a couple changes in the next generation tbh design. Will shorten the box to two deeps long and will stick with supers on top of that space. This will simplify working the brood and honey seperately without the lang headache of lifting a deep. The bottom tray will become 3 layers (screen, screen, board) instead of 2 layers (slats, board) to facilitate mite counts and cleaning. Call it a compromise ala Michael Bush
The raised box has eradicated skunk hassles. We'll find out how the winter goes- I intend to screw on some blue styrofoam on the outside and add a wind skirt.
We had the provincial tech transfer team give a integrated pest management course at our apiary and mite counts were very low. I don't know if it was the fgmo fog or our hygenic blood lines (ontario hygenic selected and ontario based russian hygenic selected bees) but so far so good, touch wood.
Thanks for sharing. It looks like you're having lots of beekeeping fun.
How has the single entrance centered on the long side worked out? Does the broodnest stay centered in front of the opening? Is there a honey storage area toward each end?
The bees attach full storage comb to the sides regardless of the sidewall slope so my next tbh will be a rectangular one. There just so much easier and faster to build.
[size="1"][ September 19, 2006, 08:43 PM: Message edited by: B Wrangler ][/size]
As a yet to start new beekeeper I was so excited to see your photographs. I have decided to make only tbhs for myself although here in the UK there seems to be open hostility to such. My first hive, is the traditional sloped sides and having made this I have decided to make others of standard rectangular size to the measurements of the British Standard frame. Is there any reason why you have made such thick top bars? Most I have seen appear to be half inch thick with no notch cut for the ends to sit on the hive. The top bar of the standard British frame for BS or Smith hives are only half inch thich.
Thanks to both of you. In reply to the two questions:
entrance: the broodnest stays in the center of the hive and honey is stored at either end. The center of the hive has a solid wood brace and a few unslotted hive bottom boards adjacent to that, to reduce drafts. Mid summer the Russians had brood in the complete hive, but the worker brood remained in the center.
thick top bars: it is part design, part practicality. The bars were made from the ubiquitous 2x4, ripped into 2 pieces 1 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches, leaving a 1/2 x 1 1/2 piece for the slotted floor. There is a 1/2 in notch at each end angled in 10 degrees, to help maintain the box shape and improve air tightness, without causing problems with removal. The bar is substantial enough to add some weather proofing, resist warping and add some top strength. Keep in mind this is Ontario with cold winter temps and a hive with 19 inch width, so I wanted some substance and strength, with ease of construction. With a chop saw and table saw the bars took only an hour to build.
Hey there Ottawa, looks good!
Nice straight comb too!
Next time post a few more pics. Is there a ledge on THB #2 that results from the bottom extending just slightly further than the sides?
Reason I ask is that it might be enough for a mouse to run across.
I had a mouse problem in one of mine, with legs like yours. I could't beleive that they were able to crawl up the legs and across the ledge and squeeze into the hole but they did!
the landing board is in the middle of the hive only. The sides/bottom of the hive are square. I don't think mice can get there but I know what you mean - mice are capable of getting through a quarter inch gap because of the shape of their skull. I assume having legs has got to be better than a hive on the ground as mice hate exposing themselves and skunks don't like being stung in the belly.
The trick to the comb is that I have a narrow half inch starter strip of foundation- I found that in harvesting that if the strip had got bent/wavey from banging around, the girls followed every dipsy doodle.
>mice are capable of getting through a quarter inch gap . . .
No. Hardware cloth w/ a 1/4" square hole will keep mice from entering hive. But mice can enter a 3/8" hole.