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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Lansing, MI, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Thoughts after my first harvest

    I started my 1st TBH last year by catching a swarm last June. Last season, I didn't harvest any honey. After a rapid build-up on spring (they are now occupying all the space in the 25-bar hive) and a good spring-flow I decided it was time to harvest and to do a split. Here are some thoughts and curiosities that I've run into:

    1. Although I only harvested the bars in the last third of the hive, I noticed a lot of capped drone brood (I'd say about 10-20% of all cells). Since these were scattered all over the place, I couldn't remove them by cutting them out. Will this impair the honey when I use the crush and strain method?

    I wonder why the queen was laying so far down. Although I didn't see her, I assume the hive is queen-right because of the bees clinging together when I moved the bars. Has somebody tried a queen-excluder in a TBH?

    2. While working my way up to the front end to get to the worker-brood for the split, I noticed that this wasn't that easy: every bar has to be carefully detached from the sides and from other adjacent bars. Once the bars are loosened, pushing them towards the hive-end isn't trivial either with bees poking through the cracks constantly. So, how does one conveniently insert empty bars in the brood nest without going through this lengthy and disruptive procedure?

    3. Has anyone tried using a bee-escape with a TBH prior to harvesting in order to reduce the number of bees attached to the honeycomb?

    Thanks for your input!

    Tim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timpeti View Post
    1. Although I only harvested the bars in the last third of the hive, I noticed a lot of capped drone brood (I'd say about 10-20% of all cells). Since these were scattered all over the place, I couldn't remove them by cutting them out. Will this impair the honey when I use the crush and strain method?
    I only take honey that is from combs that are fully honey. I leave combs with brood on them alone.

    If you are using a strainer fine enough, the larva parts will be a non-issue.

    I wonder why the queen was laying so far down. Although I didn't see her, I assume the hive is queen-right because of the bees clinging together when I moved the bars. Has somebody tried a queen-excluder in a TBH?
    I only use a QE when I start a package, and only until I see brood and eggs. There is a natural break between honey and brood that I observe, and manage the bars accordingly. When I harvest, I use a bee brush and drop the bees back into the hive.

    2. While working my way up to the front end to get to the worker-brood for the split, I noticed that this wasn't that easy: every bar has to be carefully detached from the sides and from other adjacent bars. Once the bars are loosened, pushing them towards the hive-end isn't trivial either with bees poking through the cracks constantly. So, how does one conveniently insert empty bars in the brood nest without going through this lengthy and disruptive procedure?
    You need to cut the attachments free as you work. I don't push the bars around; I scissor the bars back into place carefully.

    3. Has anyone tried using a bee-escape with a TBH prior to harvesting in order to reduce the number of bees attached to the honeycomb?
    Bee brushes work fine for this. Bee brushes are your friends in a TBH, along with your spray bottle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Lansing, MI, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    I only take honey that is from combs that are fully honey. I leave combs with brood on them alone.
    If you are using a strainer fine enough, the larva parts will be a non-issue.


    I would say you are right about particles being retained by the cloth, but larva juices would still end up in the honey.


    I only use a QE when I start a package, and only until I see brood and eggs. There is a natural break between honey and brood that I observe, and manage the bars accordingly. When I harvest, I use a bee brush and drop the bees back into the hive.

    I wonder why I have so much drone brood in the back of the hive. Worker brood was in its rightful place on the other hand.


    You need to cut the attachments free as you work. I don't push the bars around; I scissor the bars back into place carefully.

    I did cut the attachments one by one. In order to do that, however, I needed to remove at least 2 bars prior to the one I was working on, successively. Once the active bar was detached, I would either harvest it or put it next to the previous one in order to maintain 2 bars of empty space. I couldn't think of a different way. To illustrate that, I couldn't just pull the first couple brood bars from the front due the lack of "work-space".


    Bee brushes work fine for this. Bee brushes are your friends in a TBH, along with your spray bottle.[/QUOTE]

    What do you use the spray bottle for?

    PS I haven't quite figured out how to do the quotes...so I put your comments into Italic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Salem, NY
    Posts
    329

    Default

    The spray bottle would be to spray the bees with sugar syrup to keep them occupied.

    justgojumpit

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    I don't use sugar syrup. I take a 16 oz spray bottle, add a tbsp of cider vinegar OR a couple crushed Altoids, OR a handful of peppermint/spearmint. It A) masks the alarm pheromone and B) with a light misting, will usually get their heads down.

    Sugar syrup can kill bees if you mix it too heavy.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 05-28-2009 at 10:10 PM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timpeti View Post
    I did cut the attachments one by one. In order to do that, however, I needed to remove at least 2 bars prior to the one I was working on, successively. Once the active bar was detached, I would either harvest it or put it next to the previous one in order to maintain 2 bars of empty space. I couldn't think of a different way. To illustrate that, I couldn't just pull the first couple brood bars from the front due the lack of "work-space".
    The value of a follower board is that you can pull it out and have a top bar worth of space in which to manipulate the hive. Consider adding one if you don't currently have one. VERY much worth the work to make one.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Lansing, MI, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks for the tip with the spray bottle. I'll try that. Good use of the peppermint, there always seems to be too much of it...

    As far as the follower board goes, I did have one in place until I decided to put it all the way to the end to make more room for the expanding workforce. Still, even with follower board, one has to move the bars one by one to be able to get to the ones in the front in order to insert an empty bar or to pull brood frames. Unless I'm missing something, I would consider that a major disadvantage for TBHs.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 05-28-2009 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Minerva, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timpeti View Post
    As far as the follower board goes, I did have one in place until I decided to put it all the way to the end to make more room for the expanding workforce. Still, even with follower board, one has to move the bars one by one to be able to get to the ones in the front in order to insert an empty bar or to pull brood frames. Unless I'm missing something, I would consider that a major disadvantage for TBHs.
    It's not that great a disadvantage. It forces you to maintain all of the bars at a removeable/inspectable level so the propolis and cross-combing are kept at bay and there are no surprises later. Langstroth beekeepers have the same problems with bees building bridge comb to the frames below.

    I made the mistake of not leaving a follower board in the bottom box of a stack of Langs modified to take top bars. The bees really get pissed off when I remove a bar straight up without making room to work first.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timpeti View Post
    1. Although I only harvested the bars in the last third of the hive, I noticed a lot of capped drone brood (I'd say about 10-20% of all cells). Since these were scattered all over the place, I couldn't remove them by cutting them out. Will this impair the honey when I use the crush and strain method?
    Usually, if I see a comb full of drone brood, I move it all the way to back of the hive to let them emerge. Once they come out, the bees should fill those cells with honey. The queen shouldn't go back there to lay in it again. When it's mostly capped I will harvest it and then not have a problem with crushed drones and drone juice in the honey.

    ----------
    Tom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Yadkin, NC
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timpeti View Post
    Thanks for the tip with the spray bottle. I'll try that. Good use of the peppermint, there always seems to be too much of it...

    As far as the follower board goes, I did have one in place until I decided to put it all the way to the end to make more room for the expanding workforce. Still, even with follower board, one has to move the bars one by one to be able to get to the ones in the front in order to insert an empty bar or to pull brood frames. Unless I'm missing something, I would consider that a major disadvantage for TBHs.
    This is my first year working a TBH or any hive, but I too think it is a lot of work moving the bars from one end to the other. They all seem to be glued in place. If you need access to the middle you have to do a lot of work.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ladoga, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Has anyone tried brushing the sides with paraffin?

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