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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    180

    Question

    I know the dimensions of the top bars should be around 1 1/4". I just built a top bar hive but have yet to build the top bars. What do you put under the top bars so that the bees will start building comb on them straight along the bars?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    Typically, either a wooden or wax starter strip or a triangular comb guide. Anything with an edge will work:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm

    The concept of a guide is the same with a frames or just top bars.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Post

    I use real simple starter strips made from paper that I dip into wax and then glue into the top bar canal with a bit more wax. The canal is just like the ones you would see on a frame. I usually use the bad copies from the photocopier and cut them into strips that are a half inch wide. They work well.

    They don't have to be that wide. I've used some starter strips that were about three-quarters to an inch wide. The bees would usually chew it down some before they began making their comb.

    ----------
    Tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
    Posts
    405

    Post

    I have had very good results with the triangular comb guide. I also have noticed that if the bars are oriented North-south there is less cross-comb.
    -j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Blanco, Texas
    Posts
    74

    Post

    I had REALLY good luck using Les Crowder's design for a TBH. I used a wooden cleat leftover from ripping the top bars out of 2x4s. Cleats offer a very firm anchor point for the comb. My hive fell off its stand in the summer the combs did not break. I also drove it 200+ miles in the bed of truck and the combs were fine. I really have had no attachments to the sides [2-3" max] The angles are for a reason, not to just look cool. The bees drew out comb so straight that when they got to the spacer bar at the end of the hive they drew it out straight too, with no cleat or guide! My only trick was to put the finished bars in the oven at about 200 degrees F. Remember: wood won't burn until 451 degrees. When the bars were hot I pulled them out using gloves. I then rubbed a block of beeswax (from my hives) on the cleat. The wax will melt and SOAK deeply into the cleats. No need for a double boiler and a mess. Very economical on wax. This also works well for making a non-stick seal for your wooden cutting boards.
    Cheers
    Brandon
    Live Removals & Local Honey in Austin, Texas. www.austinbees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Beverly, Mass
    Posts
    303

    Post

    Baloo- This technique sounds interesting can you post a few pics??

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I haven't found that wax helps any with getting them to build on the guide and sometimes it weakens the attachment since the bees assume another bee already attached it. Of course soaking in with heat as you are doing would be a better connection than just rubbing beeswax on the edge.

    I just use plain wood.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    18

    Post

    I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I am interested in learning all I can about about TBH beekeeping. I have not kept any bees since 2000, but intend to start up again. I find the ideas behind TBH's intriguing. I live in Calgary, Alberta. Most of the material I've read is written by folks from warmer climes. I'm trying to find accomodation in the TBH systems I've read about for the particular situations our bees experience up here. Our honey flow is relatively short and very intense. Our winters are long, and hives here tend to dwindle dramatically before buildup begins. Anyone out there keeping TBH's in my area?

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