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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poway, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Adding a super to a TBH

    I have a single TBH that started with a swarm. The girls have been making brood comb ever since they were put into the TBH. This hive is 36" long with a follower board being moved as I add one TB at a time (about one every two weeks). The latest inspection showed a comb with only honey cells. I still have about 8 more TB to go before the hive is full. I want to convert the TBH into a combination hive and add a super over the end of the hive.

    I have built a framework to go over the existing hive and it will be the base for a standard 10 frame super. I was planning on adding the frames one at a time until I got to the point that there was only room for two more bars. Once I got to the point where there was only room for the lat two bars, I want to install my frame and super, leaving the last two out of the picture completely.

    Should I continue adding one bar at a time or would it be a mistake to add the rest of the bars now (with the space for two) and install the super above? If there are any additional issues I might be creating, please let me know as I am open to suggestions. (I was not planning on spacing the TBH bars at the end to give a "bee space" between them, just have the open last two bars of space.)

    My understanding is that the bees will go to the upper part of the hive and work down, is that correct, which might mean that I should be waiting until the lower section is almost finished before adding the super.

    Thanks, Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    Iíve been supering some of my tbhs also. I usually add the super when the bottom portion looks to be just about full. I usually reason that if they have space down below, there is less reason for them to move up. This is normal with Langstroth hives anyways.

    If the bees are drawing out the comb straight across the center of the bars, there shouldnít be a problem with removing the follower board and letting them have access to the last bars, or even the super (even though they may not begin to work in it right away). I usually give my hives access to the full box and all the top bars right from the beginning.

    Leaving two bars out at the end of the hive should work as an entrance into the super. In fact, one bar may even work. I also wouldnít space bars to create the entrance into the super. That just causes problems with cross combing between bars.

    Iíve actually been trying to keep the entrances into the super on my hives in the central portion of the hive. I notched several top bars to make transit spaces for my Kenyan tbhs. I also use queen excluders to keep her from getting into the supers. When the hive isnít supered, I just keep these spaces closed with a small piece of plywood. Most manipulations, such as adding empty bars into the brood nest, take place in front of or in back of these bars with the transit spaces. My idea is to always keep these six bars together.

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

    My Tanzanian-type top bar hives have a mix of top bars and frames. Iíve actually been incorporating the frames down at the outer edges of the brood nest first, figuring they would get drawn out faster down there. I then begin to move them up into the super, even if they have a bit of brood. The brood should actually help the bees to begin to journey up there. Once the brood emerges, the bees should begin to fill those cells up with honey. On these, the entrance into the supers is above some of the frames that are in the main box below. Excluders are used on these also.

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

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

    ----------
    Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poway, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    Tom,

    Thank you for your reply post. This being my first season with the bees, I am shooting in the dark. We have a few beek in the area, but very few have TBH. Actually, I have only met two that have bee experience over one year and only one of them has used a TBH.

    Without any input, I took a stab at it, made a TBH cover framework, and then added a super (actually, a deep) that fits on the framework. Since the TBH is just over 3' long, I also built a shed roof for the entrance end of the rest of the hive to keep the weather out later in the year.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Totnes, Devon, England
    Posts
    1,019

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    I am dubious about adding a deep over a TBH - I'm not saying it won't work, but that is a lot of extra space for them to heat and fill with comb. I would restrict their space down below, unless she is especially prolific, and only attempt this during the spring build-up.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poway, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    Buckbee,

    I was not sure I was going to do this until it came to a point about 3 weeks ago the girls stopped making brood and now are only making comb filled with honey. With the temps being about 80F and the box exposed to full sun, I did not believe there will be a lot of heat loss from the portion of the hive with brood.

    The first 12 to fifteen bars are brood and so far the next 2 are comb with honey. I did not place the deep over the honey end until late last week. I will be keeping track of what I see in the hive.

    I have also been told that since it is a TBH to check the hive about once a week, just not the entire hive. I plan to check the brood section for eggs and new larva every few weeks just to make sure there is still a queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    As a beekeeper who has never seen or used a TB hive I will still make a comment or two.
    This time of the year it is hot and dry in Poway. Probably is not much nectar available any more, so I would not put a super on at this time. I also would not add frames to the end of any hive as this will artificially limit the brood area with solid honey. Move the honey to the end. I also would not use a "deep" as a super because at some point you will want to get to the frames underneath and a "deep" full of honey will weigh 90LBs.

    But then, what do I know -- Fuzzy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poway, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    Thanks Fuzzy,

    I appreciate your input. Good idea or not, I already have the deep over the back end of the TBH. I am not using frames except where I hat to do a cutout on the original comb that was going diagonal. Those TBs are frames so that the pieces of comb would have a place to bee secure. The rest are just TBs. The comb they are building so far is not using the entire bar, although they may build more on to what they have and just have not done so yet.

    The Deep in mounted and it only has the TBs without frames. The space at the end of the main TBH is open to the deep for about 2". The girls are only working on the bars of the main hive after two weeks.

    I am still learning and taking advice into consideration as I go.

    I have asked on anther thread about the wintering over in So. Cal but so far do not know what the girls do over a winter here. We have flowers all year long, not to the extent as in the spring and early summer, but the weather is mild enough that I do not know why they would actually "winter over." I am reading info as I get some time, but have not come across the description for a So. Cal. winter.

    Again, Thanks for the feedback.

    Greg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    There is a saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink…. Must be true of beekeepers as well.

    Seriously, my reference of your TB’s as frames was not intentional. The bar that the wax is attached to is thought of as a frame. Still, at some point you will need to access / move / inspect the TB’s under the super. If the super is loaded with honey it will weigh around 100lbs. Few beekeepers run deep supers for that very reason.

    Now as to the TB’s in the deep super… You may want to reconsider using standard frames. Believe me, I am not against the TB hive or practices but there is some practicality to consider. The bees will eventually attach the outer rim of the comb to the sides and bottom. They will do it while you are not watching. I predict that it will be late April or mid May next year. At that point you will have to basically do a “cut out” and wind up with a hive of upset bees. Using standard frames without foundation in the super provides the edges to attach to and still be able to remove the TB’s.

    So, continue as you will but let me know when my prediction comes true. I do want to be able to say “I told ya”.

    Good luck -- Fuzzy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poway, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Adding a super to a TBH

    Point taken about the comb being attached to the walls and possibly the top surface of the TBH. I do not mind acknowledging a "Told ya so" when it fits. I also appreciate the heads up about the issue.

    I recently purchased a set of frames for the deep. I can easily replace the TBs with the Frames.

    Another Beek sent me a couple of links for me to check out. I am including them with this post. I have not had time to read them yet, but they appear to be appropriate for this thread.

    http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/super.htm

    http://mistressbeek.com/2009/06/01/l...used-bee-hive/

    Your thoughts.

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