Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Starting a TBH

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Starting a TBH

    My 6 year old son and I are going to be starting a couple of TBHs. When I was in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, we made all of the top bars the same size. When I was reading through Michael Bush's website, I liked the concept of making different sizes for brood and honey. My question is, when starting a new hive, do you only put brood bars on until they have become established? I also saw somewhere else about using a follower board, which I think I would like to try. How many bars would you start out with when starting a package of bees? How many bars of each kind would you add when they start needing more room? One other question - has anyone started 2 colonies in one hive, on opposite sides of the follower board? Is it possible to do this and then move one colony into a Langstroth when they need more room? I've never used a Langstroth before, but do want to learn. Can I make my top bars so they could be used in a Langstroth? Any suggestions here?
    Thanks for any help / advice. It's much appreciated!
    Chris
    ~struggling every day to do God's will~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default

    >How many bars would you start out with when starting a package of bees?

    All of them.

    > How many bars of each kind would you add when they start needing more room?

    I keep feeding them the 1 1/4" next to the brood nest until they build a fat honey comb, then I put the 1 1/2" there and start feeding the 1 1/4" into the middle of the brood nest.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default

    So, where would you put the follower board when starting up? Or is it better to just let them have the whole hive? I was planning on building a 48" long hive.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 05-24-2009 at 09:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    639

    Default

    I believe Mr. Bush gives the bees the entire hive (no follower board). I started 10 top bar hives this year on 8 bars (two follower boards/side entrances). Since April 6th they've been expanded out to 22 bars. Of which they've, on average, filled up 14-18 bars.

    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default

    I also sell TB hives and recomend putting on all the bars with no follower... they will do just fine....

    inmy hives I use 20 brood/winter storage bars and 10 "for me" honey bars. based on surface area calculations

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default

    A follower is great. You just have to make it and I haven't gotten around to that... Basically just cut a board to fill the space. Start with a piece of cardboard. That way you can work easily and when it fits, use it for a template for one out of wood.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Minerva, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    I chose to modify some old Langstroth deeps to take 14.5-inch top bars perpindicular to the original frame orientation:

    http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtop...?p=18044#18044

    When I built my hTBH, I scaled down Phil Chandler's plans to accept the same 14.5-inch top bars:

    http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2626

    I am very happy with the progress so far in both colonies - at six weeks I have nine bars with comb in the Lang modification, 11 bars in the hTBH, and lots of brood in both. I recently moved one full comb up into the Lang super to encourage the bees to move up - we'll see how that goes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    I took Chandler's original plans and built my first hive by gluing up cedar planks. Nice result, but a lot of work without a table saw.

    This year, I put in two more hives and built them out of 1x12 lumber you can buy in the US...and had to do a little modification to account for nominal lumber. I chose stick with the overall Chandler dimensions, because it keeps all my hives parts and the more part of my combs interchangeable. No matter what design you choose, you would do well to have at least two of the same design so you can switch and swap. It really saved me this year when I needed a bar of eggs and brood to help one of my hives.

    You might also want to rub the inside of your hives all over with beeswax--the really deep yellow-brown stuff--to help give the bees some familiar smells. You can just take a block and rub all over in there and then maybe use a heat gun(if you have one) to melt it into the wood. That little bit of bees smells will help make them feel at home.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Thanks, everyone, for all the great suggestions! I know that I am making everything more difficult in my head than it has to be LOL. In Paraguay, we used to make hives out of any old wood with no electric tools, cut and tie combs from a wild hive, stick the queen in, and let them be. And everything worked out fine 99% of the time. Simplicity is sometimes the best.
    Chris

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default

    One deep box is not big enough for a hive unless you WANT it to swarm constantly...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I also sell TB hives and recomend putting on all the bars with no follower... they will do just fine
    So, when you do this, do they build comb throughout the hive from the start, or do they start building near the entrance and work their way out.

    Also, Michael Bush noted the difference between 1 1/4 for brood and 1 1/2 for elsewhere in the hive. If you do 1 3/8 (take the middle road) for all of it, will this cause problems with getting straight comb?

    I have a table saw and can make it either way, but the 1 3/8 is easiest for me. But, is what is easy for me making the bees have trouble?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default

    >Also, Michael Bush noted the difference between 1 1/4 for brood and 1 1/2 for elsewhere in the hive. If you do 1 3/8 (take the middle road) for all of it, will this cause problems with getting straight comb?

    There are plenty of people doing 1 3/8" and getting by with it. But I think you'll get smaller cells and less Varroa issues withe the 1 1/4" as well as straighter comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Logan View Post
    So, when you do this, do they build comb throughout the hive from the start, or do they start building near the entrance and work their way out.

    Also, Michael Bush noted the difference between 1 1/4 for brood and 1 1/2 for elsewhere in the hive. If you do 1 3/8 (take the middle road) for all of it, will this cause problems with getting straight comb?

    I have a table saw and can make it either way, but the 1 3/8 is easiest for me. But, is what is easy for me making the bees have trouble?


    I usualy attach the queen to the 3-4 bar with a rubber band (in her cage of course) they will start building comb there.... and work towards teh other end........ nice thing about top bars....

    Also to michaels point, there is some research that states that 1 1/4 spaces only allows 1 layer of bees, thereby condensing the brood nest and helping them keep it warmer.....

    1 1/2 is fine for honey if you like, I just prefer the 1 3/8 as the wood I cut it from is already a bit thin for 1 1/2
    I buy 1X10/ plane the sides and rip them most of them won't clean up flat at 1 1/2



    Charlie

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads