Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Post Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I'm starting my first top bar hive. I built the top bars with a kerf right down the middle, according to the plans from the Barefoot Beekeeper. He recommends melting wax and putting it in the kerf. Is this necessary to get straight comb, or will the bees use the kerf as a guide? If it is necessary, what is the easiest way to get the wax in the kerf?

    Thanks,

    --Logan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ladoga, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    I tried putting a swarm in a top bar hive I got off Ebay. I was not prepared, so no wax on the popsicle sticks. The bees came back out after they consumed the honey I poured in there.

    I proceeded to melt some wax, and use an old spoon to coat the edges of the popsicle sticks. I also added lemongrass oil. This swarm stayed.

    It's up to you, but I would add wax.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Are you handy with a table saw? The kerf has not worked too well for me after the first couple of months of my first year of beekeeping. The wedged top bars have worked best for me and this is how I make them.top bars. I always rub a little wax on the wedge but I think the shape is even more important than the smell of wax.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aram View Post
    Are you handy with a table saw? The kerf has not worked too well for me after the first couple of months of my first year of beekeeping. The wedged top bars have worked best for me and this is how I make them.top bars. I always rub a little wax on the wedge but I think the shape is even more important than the smell of wax.
    I like what you have done here. I noticed that the triangular shape leaves little openings at the edges where bees can get through. How do you deal with this? Does this affect your roof design?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Logan, if you already have a kerf in the bar, put in the popsicle sticks with a hot glue gun & glue, or just glue! Or a nail, or something that will allow them to bear weight, as latter on they will get heavy. Don't over think this as many of us do. Get some wax and mush it in by hand onto the popsicle stick. The bees will do the rest. All you are doing is indicating which direction to build so they won't build every where else. And you are right, Aram's bars are beautiful. I will try them next year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,311

    Default

    I would put something that protrudes for a comb guide. I do not wax my comb guides and I don't recommend it. The wax is never attached to the wood by me as well as it gets attached by the bees and it's not at all necessary. i would NOT trust a comb guide of just a bead of wax that doesn't stick out. I prefer a comb guide to be at least 1/4" and it would be better if it was 1/2".

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundat....htm#combguide
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    I would not use a waxed kerf. Many people who are using them this year are having trouble with cross-combing, possibly because the bead of wax is not protruding enough to provide a good guide. While not proof against cross-combing, popsicle sticks are cheap and available at craft stores. Glue them into the saw kerf and it will help reduce cross combing(though you do have to watch for it regardless of comb guide method).

    The most important thing is to pay attention as the initial comb is built on the bar, and correct combs while the problem is young.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Logan View Post
    I like what you have done here. I noticed that the triangular shape leaves little openings at the edges where bees can get through. How do you deal with this? Does this affect your roof design?
    Good spotting. I use different roof designs on different hives, it does not seem to matter. The bees seem to like the openings and use not all but a few of them as top entrances. Some they seal and I assume they leave open just enough to get the moisture control they like. The two hives that got this type of bars last year over-wintered without a problem. (But that's just two hives.) Aside from heat loss, robbing would be an obvious concern with so many entrances. That has not been a problem yet (and we had a very dry April and a very hungry May this year.)
    Also I just cut more bars yesterday out of 5/4 stock. There are no little holes with the thicker stock. I think I like them better with the holes though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    I just finished making the top bars, using the methods in the link above. It worked out great. I used scrap 2"x lumbar of various widths that I had laying around. It took a bit more time than the kerf, but now I don't have to melt wax, etc. The 2x lumber also resulted in none of the gaps that you see in the picture. I can't wait to get bees in the hive, now that it is ready. Nice instructions, thank you very much!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    Enjoy!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    nottingham,PA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I used a plain ol' top bar then got some sisal twine and dipped it in melted beeswax to coat. Then I pulled it taught lengthwise across the top bar and stapled the ends. I only did this for the first few in each hive and it's worked out great so far. I won't have to do that again until I start a new hive. I have to say though I wouldn't recommend using them for the whole hive if that's what you planned on doing because it gets real messy separating that string from honeycomb when it's time for harvest.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,311

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I've actually used one drawn comb and no comb guide in top bar hives to see what they would space things. It usually went fine, which proves that very little can work. I've also used comb guides and still have them mess it up. But the better the hint the more likely they will follow it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I've been using paint stir sticks. I cut a groove down the center of the bar and glue the stick centrally. I had been cutting it down to 1/4" but after seeing the beautiful comb on someone else's pix here, I think I will leave more of the guide hanging down. The bees have built dead on about 2/3 of the time, about 1/3 of the right right next to the guide.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Frisco Texas
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I also use bars that I make with a wedge. I have used both bars and the wedge bars I think work the best. Some people think that making the bars with a wedge is more work but it is just a couple of more cuts. I made a jig for the end cuts and I can do it pretty quick.
    I also think that if you use wax you do not need to wax every bar. Once the bees have started building comp if you but a bar in the middle of two bars with comb they will build on that bar. I have tested this with bars with no kreft at all, just a bar and they built an the bar.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    Qote: “The most important thing is to pay attention as the initial comb is built on the bar, and correct combs while the problem is young.”

    Looks that this is not only Daddy’s Girl but also TBH Girl. :-)
    This is one of the most important think which differs TBH beekeeping from traditional beekeeping. TBH beekeeping is profoundly different than traditional except biological fundamentals.
    I am glad that you, Daddy’s Girl, articulated this.
    In my experience I noticed that sometimes, even as far as 15th bar or so, suddenly bees start a new comb in straight angle to all of the other perfect combs. (22” long triangular bar) This is a mess if noticed too late.
    This is one of the negative sites of TBH beekeeping that it require frequent observation, during high activities of bees.

    I am sharing some of my observation related to TB in TBHs. (below)
    In one incident I noticed that bees has build and perfectly attached new comb to plain pink Styrofoam when I covered temporally a gap between bars with it and forgot about it. I was very surprised the next day.

    http://www.homepage.interaccess.com/...DzwigaryEN.htm

    Wojciech Wlazlinski

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    Quote Originally Posted by Aram View Post
    The wedged top bars have worked best for me and this is how I make them.top bars. I always rub a little wax on the wedge but I think the shape is even more important than the smell of wax.
    They might work short-term, but those gaps are going to be a real issue in the winter, as they will let all the heat out of the hive and the bees will expend a lot of energy trying to stuff them with propolis. Wasps and wax moth will appreciate you making their lives easier, but I don't think the bees will!

    Cutting the middle section of the bar to a triangle is one way to do it, but IMO wasteful of energy. Pinning triangular, square or half-round strips to the middle of a bar works well, rubbed with wax.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I make them out of 2x4's (or 2x6' or 2x8' or 2x10', whatever I have handy), with just a wedge, and the thicker material does not leave those gaps. I make them varying thicknesses, some for the brood nest at 1 1/4, and some at the honey side at 1 1/2. So far, no issues with crooked comb.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    Quote Originally Posted by buckbee View Post
    They might work short-term, but those gaps are going to be a real issue in the winter, as they will let all the heat out of the hive and the bees will expend a lot of energy trying to stuff them with propolis. Wasps and wax moth will appreciate you making their lives easier, but I don't think the bees will!
    Or so the theory goes. The bars worked for me. I have no idea why. We had a pretty long, cold winter and that didn't seem to be an issue. Could be my covers which have a lip and expand down past the gaps so the wind is not howling through the hive I also insulate the top of the hives. More heat might be lost through the top right above the cluster where the heat is produced and concentrated. That's what I think but, than again, I don't believe everything I think.
    I have not seen wasps trying to get in the hive through the gaps or in any other way. I only see them hunting for bees outside the hive, sometimes even under the cover on top of the bars.
    As I mentioned before, if one is concerned about the gaps one can use 5/4" stock or, like Logan has, easy to find 2X6's.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Frisco Texas
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    The wedge tb work well because the bees will follow the point on the edge. I have not had any problem of the bees not building and following the wedge bar. I also do not put any wax on the bars at all.
    I have some pics of the bars and when I can figure out how to get them on here I will post them.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Addison County, VT, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Top Bar Wax Necessary???

    I hived a swarm in a tbh that a carpenter friend made for me. The top bars come to a v or point, very like the foundationless frames that backyardhive.com sells, only they are top bars instead. (You can check them out on their web site.) The bees made beautiful comb on them. I didn't paint wax or anything, just put the bars in.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

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