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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Modesto, CA USA
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    Default Brood and Top Bar Super

    I have done a lot of reading, and have a few questions.
    1. Some people are very careful as to the replacement of the brood bars, not disrupting anything. If this is so important, than it should be a bad thing to open the brood nest by inserting empty bars, and conversely it should not really matter if a bar gets put in turned around, or out of order. Is this correct, or have I missed something?
    2. I have built 4 Kenya TBHs, and have built a Tanzanian Top Bar Super to go on top. My question is, what is the best place to put the super. Over the 1 ½” bars or over the brood nest 1 ¼” bars.
    3. What is the best method of getting the bees to work the TBS, I have taken some of the bars and removed ¼” off of the sides of each leaving the ends solid and the middle open for travel up into the super. Will this work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Minerva, Ohio, USA
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    69

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    It is my understanding that bees like the honey stores to be directly over the brood nest - especially in winter.

    I have the same problem - one of my colonies is in a stack of Langs I modified with Kenyan inserts so that the top bars are perpindicular to the original frame orientation. I started the package in one box and did not put the bee passages in the top bars ahead of time. When I put the second box on I spread the four center brood bars apart slightly to create 3 slits for passage up into the "super". About a week later the bees were starting to build another comb in one of the slits. I removed it and decreased the width of the slits slightly. A week after that the bees had still not moved upstairs, but they were no longer trying to build comb in the slits. I thought about trying to insert new bars with 3/8-inch bee passages between brood bars, but was advised on another forum not to spread the brood bars this far apart, as the queen is reluctant to cross too large an open space. I have heard that some beekeepers will "checkerboard" the brood nest by placing one empty bar between two brood bars to expand the brood nest from the center. Two empty bars in the center of the brood may be too many. I think I'll just stick to the 3 slits and hopefully the bees will move up when they're out of bars in the bottom box.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

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    Quote Originally Posted by IBRed View Post
    1. Some people are very careful as to the replacement of the brood bars, not disrupting anything. If this is so important, than it should be a bad thing to open the brood nest by inserting empty bars, and conversely it should not really matter if a bar gets put in turned around, or out of order. Is this correct, or have I missed something?
    What do you mean "replacement"? As I've read, when the girls are going gangbusters and building a lot of comb the need for more brood placement will keep them from swarming, so one PUTS an empty bar within the brood nest thus keeping the girls building and drawing comb for their queen to lay. Depends on how productive your hive is and the fertility of the queen. Is that what you mean by "replacement", since one does not "replace" brood.

    Your putting in an empty bar in the middle of the brood chamber is a good thing. I also don't understand your "turned around or out of order". It is important to keep your bars in the same orientation as the bees set up. Do not pull up a brood bar, turn it around and put it back in, or put it elsewhere, at least as a newbee.

    Quote Originally Posted by IBRed View Post
    2. I have built 4 Kenya TBHs, and have built a Tanzanian Top Bar Super to go on top. My question is, what is the best place to put the super. Over the 1 ½” bars or over the brood nest 1 ¼” bars.
    3. What is the best method of getting the bees to work the TBS, I have taken some of the bars and removed ¼” off of the sides of each leaving the ends solid and the middle open for travel up into the super. Will this work?
    Congratulations on building 4 TBH and a TTBS. Way to go!
    And I am a bit jealous!
    But if I understand you correctly there is an additional 1/2" space between two bars for them to move on up? OK, but I was under the impression about "bee space" being 3/8". Why didn't you just remove one bar so they can move on up to your super? As for location, queens often like to move on up, and they prefer the middle of the hive, so make it easy for her.
    Your last question, well, you will have to let us know. That's the problem with doing "new" stuff.....of course Mr. Bush will weigh in with a lot more experience, even though I trust he is as busy as a traffic cop in Rome right now. Let us know how...and take flicks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Weymouth, Massachusetts
    Posts
    220

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    I don't have any comment on most of the post except if I were to put a super on my tbh I would just carve a dado out of one or two of the topbars in order for the bees to travel through to the super.
    If I do add a super to any of mine that is what I plan to do.
    A dado or any type of groove is more efficient than removing an entire bar and messing with bee space .
    My 2 cents.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Default

    Here’s my solution to an entrance to a super on a top bar hive, which I want to continue to try and experiment with some of my top bar hives.

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...entersuper.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...acetosuper.jpg

    The first was a swarm I caught in one of my trap hives in Honduras. I had the transit spaces already cut into the bars before I hung it up. The second is a package I installed in and ktbh in Wisconsin about a month ago.

    There is a wax starter strip on each bar. The bees are building comb off them exactly as they should. When necessary I keep these spaces sealed up by placing a small piece of plywood over them.

    This is how I am thinking about supering the hives:

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...rHiveSuper.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...erandsuper.jpg

    These last two photos are from some of my hives in Honduras. The bees moved up in to the super just fine. I put frames up there that were already partially filled with honey—that helped bring them up. But the weather was so bad during the beginning of this year (one cold front after another was coming through the area) that I didn’t get to really see a full box of capped honey before I had to go back to Wisconsin to start work there. It seems like it is going to work just fine though.

    I’m thinking that I will always try to maintain these bars with the transit space together. If I want to incorporate some empty bars into the brood nest, I’ll put them before or after these bars.

    ----------
    Tom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Modesto, CA USA
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    44

    Default

    Thank you all for the input.

    Tomas: That is exactly what I have done, only I have removed more material from my bars, my gap starts about 1 ½” from the ends. Did you put your super over the honey or the brood?

    LenInNorCal: “It is important to keep your bars in the same orientation as the bees set up. Do not pull up a brood bar, turn it around and put it back in, or put it elsewhere, at least as a newbee.” You have read the same things I have, which is why I ask the question. Why is it ok to put in empty bars, and not ok to move or rearrange the order of the brood nest? Since the adding of more bars is the same, as far as I can tell.
    “But if I understand you correctly there is an additional 1/2" space between two bars for them to move on up? OK, but I was under the impression about "bee space" being 3/8".” I figured the bees would make their own bee space, and travel through the dado cut in the bars. As in the pics posted by Tomas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

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    Quote Originally Posted by IBRed View Post
    Thank you all for the input.

    Tomas: That is exactly what I have done, only I have removed more material from my bars, my gap starts about 1 ½” from the ends. Did you put your super over the honey or the brood?

    LenInNorCal: “It is important to keep your bars in the same orientation as the bees set up. Do not pull up a brood bar, turn it around and put it back in, or put it elsewhere, at least as a newbee.” You have read the same things I have, which is why I ask the question. Why is it ok to put in empty bars, and not ok to move or rearrange the order of the brood nest? Since the adding of more bars is the same, as far as I can tell.
    “But if I understand you correctly there is an additional 1/2" space between two bars for them to move on up? OK, but I was under the impression about "bee space" being 3/8".” I figured the bees would make their own bee space, and travel through the dado cut in the bars. As in the pics posted by Tomas.
    Those pictures speak a thousand words. Thanks Tomas.
    As for the dado, it seems to work perfectly well. I guess I am lazy and would not have gone through that much but now I see. From what I've read I would not put the hole directly over the brood chamber due to heat consistency, distribution and maintenance. As Tomas put in an excluder I gather you do not want her up in your super as well. If you do want her up there, I believe I read that she does not stray to far from the brood and if I would want her to move up I would put it adjacent to the brood but not at the end of the box.
    I fell into the "why" trap and now wish to try and extricate myself: I don't know "why", as I've never met anyone that does. I do believe others have tried and have met failure at changing the orientation of bars, and I know that in beeking with Langstroths my betters have always maintained the same discipline; as to "why", only the bees "know". It may be due to issues of "memory" or patterns they sense while laying down the material & brood. Or it could be the relationship of honey to brood to pollen in any one bar and the proximity to the queen and/or brood. You got me on that and I am only an amateur, and a newbee at that! I have laid down new bars in the midst of brood with positive results for more brood, and I won't disturb their orientation since that is the way of my training. So I guess the bees know and though I wish to, I'll wait and read another's observation on that. Could be you that figures that part out! Good luck and have fun.
    PS: What is the purpose of putting your dados all the way to the end of the bar, minus the 1 1/2"? And how long are your bars? or the dimensions of your whole box?
    Now you've got me really curious and the temptation to build a super is moving in me! But since this is my first year I will wait for the comb.....probably next year!
    Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default

    several questions !

    1st moving brood nest bars can be bad if its cold. you don't want to screw up the area they are working to keep warm. if the weather is great and lots of bees you can add to the brood nest, but in reality not much need to. they will do it as they see fit, if they want more laying area they will move honey to open spaces..

    As for supers on your top bar, the first question is why< brood spave or honey production. If its honey put them over the honey section, I f i do this I use bars that are 1 inch wide and line them up with the lang frames. leaving the small holes on the side for entrances and air flow.


    Brood nest is a different issue. and is a bit of a problem as Lans are not set on 1 1/4 spacing.....so either shave down the lang frames and put 11 in a box.....at which point, why use a top bar hive?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Modesto, CA USA
    Posts
    44

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    What is the purpose of putting your dados all the way to the end of the bar, minus the 1 1/2"? And how long are your bars? or the dimensions of your whole box?
    Now you've got me really curious and the temptation to build a super is moving in me! But since this is my first year I will wait for the comb.....probably next year!
    Thanks.

    I was thinking that the more open the box felt to the bees, the more honey they may produce, I did not want to drill a few holes and hope for the best.
    I have built my hive to the Bush specs, very fast to build and very functional. 48” long and 15” wide.

    several questions !

    1st moving brood nest bars can be bad if its cold. you don't want to screw up the area they are working to keep warm. if the weather is great and lots of bees you can add to the brood nest, but in reality not much need to. they will do it as they see fit, if they want more laying area they will move honey to open spaces..

    As for supers on your top bar, the first question is why< brood spave or honey production. If its honey put them over the honey section, I f i do this I use bars that are 1 inch wide and line them up with the lang frames. leaving the small holes on the side for entrances and air flow.


    I am not thinking I can move a bar of brood from one end of the box to the other, nor do I wish to switch the bars around unnecessarily. But, I have read that some people number their bars and put arrows on them to prevent them from accidently putting one back, in the wrong order or the wrong direction. This seems excessive since others encourage the addition of empty bars in the middle of the brood thus getting everything out of whack. Just an observation I’m trying to clarify.

    As to the super question, it is for honey, and I thank you for your input. That is where I want to put it, but again, I read somewhere, that it should be over the brood. I have read to many things, and they counter one another all the time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
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    307

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    One topic: 100 bee keepers: 150 opinions

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
    Posts
    605

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    i've supered tbh's. remove the front 3/8" spacer bar in the front of the hive, super and give a top entrance. it helps to bait with a drawn comb. it's not a big deal but if you remove a bar they will put an extra comb on the edges of the space. in my experiance it's best to let them draw and work the horizontal hive first because they like going vertical and tend to stop going horizontal.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,336

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    Combs, even on frames, even from foundation, are never perfectly even and straight. Putting them back swapped around or in a different place can create space issues. Also it can create issues where the brood nest is divided and they have to work harder to keep it warm.

    I do put empty frames in a brood nest and empty bars in a brood nest. But I do it with a purpose. To prevent swarming and to get straight combs. A bar between two perfect combs almost always results in another perfect comb and an expanded brood nest. I would not haphazardly put frames (or bars) in. I number mine and when I add a bar I number it with a letter after the number. In other words the bars are numbered 1,2,3,4,5 etc. When I put a bar between 2 and 3 and number it 2a

    Since the numbers are on one side it's always clear where and which direction it goes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Modesto, CA USA
    Posts
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    Thank you for clarifying, I have read many times that one should not move things around or mix things up, but this is the first time I have been given the why. Thanks again.

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