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Thread: Ventilation

  1. #1
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    Feb 2009
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    Salisbury, NC
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    Default Ventilation

    This is a question regarding openings and ventilation for top bar hives.

    I've read Michael Bush's and Bwrangler's sites extensively, and surely, the more I read the more information I get.

    I really like Bush's top opening advice. It seems to really make sense. (Any negatives?)

    Since the brood nest is oriented towards the opening, would it make sense to simply create a new opening midway back in the tbh by removing a bar? Are there any issues with this? (Robbers, etc.)

    I've read the comments on Michael's pages regarding problematic cross ventilation issues, and again, it makes sense. We like to think more air is better in the summer, but if the air is hotter than necessary, we're definitely doing the bees a disservice.

    Michael's comment that the honey store towards the back tend not to get as much ventilation, (and thereby can cause comb collapse,) is what prompts me to create the second opening.

    Any comments about this issue? (Its nice to see that all the questions in beekeeping haven't totally been resolved yet.)

  2. #2
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    Feb 2009
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    Default

    I suppose it would be good if the moderator created some "sticky" threads, so the topic could be easily viewed and updated, and people like me wouldn't have to post the same old topic that has probably been addressed in previous threads.

    Not a great feeling when your topic receives zero replies.

    Just a suggestion.

  3. #3
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    Default

    So, I take it this question of ventilation is rather shopworn, eh?

    Still would be nice to get a reply.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooday View Post
    This is a question regarding openings and ventilation for top bar hives.

    I've read Michael Bush's and Bwrangler's sites extensively, and surely, the more I read the more information I get.

    I really like Bush's top opening advice. It seems to really make sense. (Any negatives?)

    Since the brood nest is oriented towards the opening, would it make sense to simply create a new opening midway back in the tbh by removing a bar? Are there any issues with this? (Robbers, etc.)

    I've read the comments on Michael's pages regarding problematic cross ventilation issues, and again, it makes sense. We like to think more air is better in the summer, but if the air is hotter than necessary, we're definitely doing the bees a disservice.

    Michael's comment that the honey store towards the back tend not to get as much ventilation, (and thereby can cause comb collapse,) is what prompts me to create the second opening.

    Any comments about this issue? (Its nice to see that all the questions in beekeeping haven't totally been resolved yet.)
    I have 2. My first one. (Biobee) design has 3 entrances. Center, Left, and right and, a screened bottom. I started with a double follower board so they only needed the center. They soon grew to where they could use the left entrance. Which I opened during the flow last year. I closed it after that. It's easier for them to defend 1. When the flow starts again. I will reopen the left entrance again. I don't mess with the right side entrance at all. I have not had any comb failure or any problems at all.

    My 2nd. This is a front entrance only. It does not have a screened bottom. I have had a bar or 2 fail due to heat. I cust cut the bar out, cleaned up the comb and let them start over. That is the only problem I have had.

    There is nothing wrong with a 2nd opening. But you need to use it when needed. During a flow. When stores get sparce. Robbers will use that back entrance and rob you blind.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply.

    Do you elevate the cover, so as to create an air space between it and the top bars? I've read that helps a lot.

    I'm hoping just a top entrance, by moving the top bar back a bit, is all I'll need. My hive location is somewhat shady, being southern exposed, with a tree line to the east and to the west. It gets full sun only part of the day.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    Default

    Don't feel discouraged in getting a quick response as TBH has not developed a standard, nor have 10's of thousands of people have them as with the Langstroth hive. There are not hundreds of books written on TBH and what there is available is basic with a lot of opinions thrown in for confusion's sake. Do what you will, post your findings, and we'll all learn a little more from it. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
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    Default

    If your interest is tbh's then you might want to check out Phils website. www.biobees.com

  8. #8
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    May 2007
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    morehead city, nc, usa
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    Default You Asked For It

    Ok Hooday,
    Stop obsessing. I know you don't have bees yet. You're going to be a wreck before you get started.
    You will not get all the answers...even on Beesource. (oh, you'll get a bunch of them alright). But part of the fun is watching and learning from your own bees, in your own location. How's that for a response?
    For what it's worth, here are some tidbits from my top bar experience:
    *My hives are about 42" long, hold something like 30 bars, have round bottoms (like a drum cut in half) and are deep enough to hold a deep frame and then some. People said I would have trouble with such large combs. I have large combs but no trouble and you should see the brood combs!
    *I have used a follower board to split a hive in order to house two colonies.
    I pulled out the board when one queen died and the colonies did NOT combine. (There were about 10 empty bars separating them.) I requeened and life went on.
    *I use plywood for tops...very sloppy, curls up, looks bad. The bees propolize the bars together anyway and they haven't complained.
    *Speaking of propolis, one hive closed up a 2 inch hole that I had drilled as an entrance, preferring to enter under the curled-up plywood top.
    *The natural combs are works-of-art. I am still studying the wide variation in cell size.
    *When I want to look at bees, get bees for a demo, check out the flow, etc., these are the hives I go to. I have 10 Langstroths and they are nowhere near as much fun.
    Now get some bees and post your experiences for us to learn from. Well, you asked for it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Salisbury, NC
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    Default

    Thanks for the replies. I appreciate them very much.

    I know tbh are rather new, but there seems to be decent accumulation of users at this site.

    I'm finishing my first two tbh, and I'm concerned about providing enough ventilation. I'm going to use a top entrance, and just move a bar back 3/8" or so. But I'm reading people suffer comb collapse, especially in the rear with the honey store, if they don't have enough ventilation.

    I like to keep things very simple, if possible, and my hives reflect this. Will the bees be able to guard another entrance at the rear? Or would it be better to make a screened ventilation hole which can be closed up for winter?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Salisbury, NC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peletier View Post
    Ok Hooday,
    Stop obsessing. I know you don't have bees yet. You're going to be a wreck before you get started.
    Busted.

    You will not get all the answers...even on Beesource. (oh, you'll get a bunch of them alright). But part of the fun is watching and learning from your own bees, in your own location. How's that for a response?
    For what it's worth, here are some tidbits from my top bar experience:
    *My hives are about 42" long, hold something like 30 bars, have round bottoms (like a drum cut in half) and are deep enough to hold a deep frame and then some. People said I would have trouble with such large combs. I have large combs but no trouble and you should see the brood combs!
    *I have used a follower board to split a hive in order to house two colonies.
    I pulled out the board when one queen died and the colonies did NOT combine. (There were about 10 empty bars separating them.) I requeened and life went on.
    *I use plywood for tops...very sloppy, curls up, looks bad. The bees propolize the bars together anyway and they haven't complained.
    *Speaking of propolis, one hive closed up a 2 inch hole that I had drilled as an entrance, preferring to enter under the curled-up plywood top.
    *The natural combs are works-of-art. I am still studying the wide variation in cell size.
    *When I want to look at bees, get bees for a demo, check out the flow, etc., these are the hives I go to. I have 10 Langstroths and they are nowhere near as much fun.
    Now get some bees and post your experiences for us to learn from. Well, you asked for it.
    You got it! I'm looking forward to it very much.

    Thanks for your post. (Interesting about the hole being glued up. I thought they could do that in managing their space, but I've not read many comments about that. (Perhaps a new thread...)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    51,745

    Default

    >Robbers will use that back entrance and rob you blind.

    That has been my experience.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Red Hook Ny
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    99

    Default one more for the pile

    My entrance is just the first bar back about a half inch. I started out at a precisely measure 3/8 inch, and a couple of rain storms later the bars had all swelled somewhat and closed it way down. Do what you want, just keep an eye on it.

    During the heat of last August, my bees were bearding like mad (several pounds of bees - easily a half gallon) so I drilled a lower entrance as well, thinking to allow a bit of convection to promote some airflow. Instead they used the second entrance as a second bearding site, apparently they didn't care about the new ventilation.

    I closed the second entrance in the fall, when it became a propolising project of immense proportions.

  13. #13
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    Salisbury, NC
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    Default

    Okay, my primary concern is enough ventilation in the summer, but not have too much in the winter. Couple of questions:

    • Langstroth users report a screened bottom board helps greatly with colony overwintering health. Why is that, and why would that not be a good idea with a tbh?


    • Just read a very interesting page on bwrangler's site regarding top entrances and water condensation. He says its actually very beneficial to have water condensing as a moisture source for the bees in winter, and therefore a top entrance is very unhelpful with this. (Very interesting.)


    So, for those who've used a top bar space as an entrance, what are your experiences with comb collapse, (the sine qua non of the ventilation issue,) and how have overwintering issues gone?

    Because of this, I'm rethinking my whole entrance/ventilation issue, and may cut some slots like Dennis' plans.

  14. #14
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    Default

    >So, for those who've used a top bar space as an entrance, what are your experiences with comb collapse, (the sine qua non of the ventilation issue,)

    Too much ventilation will cause comb collapse. I have not seen a lack of ventilation cause it.

    > and how have overwintering issues gone?

    Too much ventilation is hard on them over winter as is too little, but a top entrance lets the moisture out to prevent the condensation issues which is the primary winter issue.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #15
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    Default

    Now this is really interesting.

    I've been following your reasoning for top entrances very closely, per your website information. Its logical, reasonable, and practical.

    However, I just got done reading this section from Dennis' site regarding moisture condensation and its benefit, rather than liability, for overwintering. Its one of the few places you and he diverge. http://bwrangler.com/lwin.htm

    Until I read this page, I was all set to go with a top entrance. Now, I'm not so sure.

    This issue of ventilation is certainly confusing. Some have a completely open, screened bottom, while others a couple of 3/4" holes. You advocate a top bar space for an entrace, while Dennis specs a couple of slots in the bottom on the side of the hive.

    What's a newbee to do?

    I've been thinking of cutting a opening in the back panel, and screening it to prevent it from being used as an entrance. Perhaps I'll rather migrate to the bottom slits as per Dennis' plans.

    Or, most likely, I'll try one of each and see what I get.

    Thanks.

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