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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    St Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Thanks Big Bear for enlightening me, I just have a few questions.

    I remember the feeling well when I had a surplus of honey to extract and how excited I was to give it away (before I went commercial), but you said that: "there are more reasons for keeping bees than making money in honey production and crop pollination for some folks." I'm just wondering what would have enticed a guy like me to go into commercial honey production or pollination if not for that surplus from my hobby hives.

    Also, you said: "Langs are probably the most efficient method for crop pollenation and honey production. But, for the more educational and social oriented beekeepers, who use their hives to teach students and community members or to study and observe bees, they may find that tbh's are better for those purposes.", but I remember giving many talks to students and others on bees using nothing more than a glass observation hive with Langstroth style frames in them. The people seemed to be very interested and even excited about the bees and what I had to say. How are your TBH's superior?

    Another point you made is, "that langs are designed to make the beekeepers life easier. Some folks are focusing on making the bees lives easier or at least being less intrusive in bees lives and there tbh's do excel over langs." My question is how does it make the bees life easier to house them in a TBH versus a Langstroth when bee space is observed?
    Any help you can give me to these questions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #22

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    no problem.



    1) I can't speak for you or what triggers your interests. Who knows what compelled you to go into beekeeping except you? I do know that I have had many enlightening and interesting conversations with people who have gotten into beekeeping for a tremendous number of reasons, each as individual as the people who expressed those interests. what motivated you is different than what motivates others. same goes for all of us. that's why we're called individuals. we all have our own minds.

    2) Top bar hives, especially horizontal top bar hives, you are able to pull up only one comb at a time, keeping the erst of the hive essentially closed. this presents a smaller number of bees to the group, which can be much less intimidating than to have the larger volume of bees flying after taking the top off of 8 to 10 frames in a lang. It is reported by many tbh keepers as less intrusive to the bees. In terms of using glass observation hives, those are a different situation and work tremendously well in getting peoples attention. My reference is when having people looking at a hive in the field, so to speak.

    3) Again, speaking of horizontal top bar hives, they are less intrusive than a lang. The TBH allows the beekeeper to expose only a single comb at a time versus the 8 to 10 at a time of a lang. Also, by allowing only one comb at a time to be removed, nest scent and nest heat are better helped than by exposing the entire top of the hive box as in a lang.

    This isn't meant to be a "my hive is better than your hive' thing, every hive type has it's pro's and cons. some hives have pro's where other hives in the same area, have it as more of a con. it's not a total competition. just comparison.


    There are many beekeepers around the world who prefer the methods and approach of beekeepers like Abbe Warre, who feel that opening hives all the time and disrupting bees 'natural' life processes causes more damage to the bees than is necessary. so said, try to find ways to work with bees and still reap benefits.

    In the case of Abbe Warre, his whole premise was that beekeepers can not disrupt a colony but twice a year and make a living at collecting honey, wax, etc... Thus the 'Peoples Hive' A vertical top bar hive, was created.

    There are lot's of ways that beekeeping can be done and still be successful and enjoyable.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I became interested in keeping bees after watching "Silence of the Bees". Wanted nothing to do with honey bees prior.

    The documentary is available to watch at pbs.org

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episo...l-episode/251/

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I have TBHs, skep and standard, frame hives. I get surplus with all. I get the same amount of honey from TBH as I get from frame hives. I am beekeeping stationary and I see no difference.

    I would not say any hive is superior but for me skeps and TBHs just "feel better". I will still have frame hives of course...anything goes

    I still think that you don't even get it what TBH is ? How is bee space not "observed" in TBH ? It is "removable comb" hive !

    For me personally TBHs are easier than frame hives.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-21-2009 at 02:31 AM. Reason: unnessary quote
    Sig

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    St Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Thanks Big Bear,

    As to the answer to my first question you are right: it's difficult to find anothers motivation.

    But the answer to my next two questions leaves me puzzled.
    You're talking about exposing an entire box to the elements when using a Langstroth hive. One of my tricks as a commercial beekeeper, to maintain the "scent" and "heat" of hive, was to use a rug instead of an inner cover that had been cut down the middle. I could then work just one frame at a time as the rug rolled back into place to conserve the bees climate. How is this different from your TBH?

    Also, from the perspective of Abbe Warre, I believe he was almost right. The bees, from my observations, made a ton more honey and were more heavily populated when I just left them alone. As any "old hat" beekeeper will tell you, there comes a time when we all make a decision to keep our hands off the hive, and we have all been better off for it. There is certainly something to the phrase "loving it to death", when it comes to bees.

  6. #26

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    While I have seen those cloths used, I don't get the impression that it is common or popular amongst a majority of beekeepers. I may be wrong in that, just the impression I get.

    Like I said, it's a choice of hive for people who prefer that type of hive. Everyone has their reason. Not as much weight to shuck around, less bees exposed, natural cell sizes, a plethora of others.

    My point is that there is no need to unduly criticize other peoples choice of hives. if that hive is no interest to one, then one needn't use that type of hive. We can all get along with our different hives.


    BTW, look how much we have in common already, except for the type of hive we use. methodology, interest in bees,likely a lot more.

    Big Bear
    Last edited by bigbearomaha; 11-20-2009 at 09:10 PM.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    St Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Big Bear,

    I believe you're right, we do have a lot in common. I look forward to hearing your views on a range of subjects.
    I appreciate as well your entrepreneurial spirit. I visited your web page. Excellent stuff. Your love of beekeeping and bees really shines through.
    Good luck in all you do!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Malabar, FL
    Posts
    1,268

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Alltek, in reading your posts I understand your frustration is in regards to the future of commercial beekeeping (pollination, honey production, bee production) not so much a frustration with alternative hives. I also share your concerns as we have raised a generation of kids who do not see reward in hard work and sweat equity. As older beeks retire and fade away who will take their place and maintain this ever important role in agriculture. My hope is some of the people on this forum will see opportunity and seize it. After a long hiatus from bees I am now a few years from retiring from my day job, i researched the state of the bee industry, realized that colonies and commercial beeks are declining, prices went up considerably compared to before and I decided my next career will be in the bee business. I now work 7days a week between my career and the bees, I ENJOY the hard work and am seeing the rewards of my labor. I hope others heed your concerns because without the commercial beeks the agriculture business and our country are in grave trouble my friend. Thanks for you contributions to the industry and this forum.

    Steve
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  9. #29

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    My momma always said, people don't get worked up about something unless it really mean something to them. That's how I took your posts. beekeeping really means something to you. i just didn't want your deep interest to be 'muddied' by something that didn't have to be an issue.

    Thank you for your compliments. it's intended to be a local project and get more folks in the area to take an interest in beekeeping in general. from their first, hopefully positive and fun experiences with us, they will begin a similar adventure of their own. in the end, more interested and involved beekeepers is good for the bees.

    I hope to see more of your posts here as well. I love learning the little tricks and tidbits that I might no get if I were to just keep my own council.

    ( besides, my wife is very effective at reminding how much Idon't know and the kids just rub it in. )

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,888

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I am not going to spend time reading this thread because I really feel it is more important that we argue Ford versus Chevy versus Dodge.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Lol!!
    Liberty or Tyranny?

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cacklewack View Post
    I'm not sure why you are so much of your frustration with top bar hives. It sounds more like you're frustrated that no one's taking up where others have left off in beekeeping. You also don't seem to comprehend that there are many who use non-traditional hives not only due to cost, but for a multitude of other reasons including:

    1) The enjoyment of building our own hives
    2) The desire to keep bees in what we consider a more natural, foundationless environment
    3) The ease of working these style hives over the cumbersome, heavy Langstroth hives
    4) Less strain on our backs
    5) Fun

    Matt
    I'm with matt, besides the only differences I see between the two techs is foundation and method, there are a lot of people running langs foundation-less, and this was how they were originally designed before foundation.
    I have read that the upper limit for a one person operation is something like 100 hives, and of course when you start hiring people the costs start to sky-rocket.
    When I was working for a beek last summer I spent a large part of my time tending to equipment, tending a tbh is slower then a lang but I figure they balance out because of the lack of equipment. I plan to make this a business, I don't see the need for commercial equipment comparability since I'm building all my hives. And I plan to keep the business small since there is a point of diminishing returns, e.g. ether go small or really big.


    Sam.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Yee doggies! This is lookin' worse then the Hatfields & McCoys. I haven't seen these fightin' words since I was researching smokers and learned the difference between grilling and BBQ.

    Squaring off like this is good and bad for both.

    Good we discuss options so those interested can find a way to start that suits their constraints. Good we debate differences so all can learn something they otherwise may not consider. Good we brag so all learn more than one way works.

    Bad that this looks like a cat fight. This party is no fun. I heard that we have 30% of the beekeepers that the 1960's had. The last thing we need to do is put someone off. Please leave out the criticism, complaints and condemnations and leave in guidance and encouragement. That's why I came.

    I have five langs and am tired of spending $150 every time my hive swarms. Two are in my back yard and three are in the neighbors. At $30 bucks for a top bar, I'm now waiting for the next swarm.

    I have my first TBH in an out yard. Its eight land locked acres only accessible by foot. I hope it survives the winter. Harvesting into 5-gallon buckets is possible, but carrying a super 1/4 mile is not. This place will accommodate as many hives as I want, but no langs.

    I hear 2% of beekeepers run 90% of hives and with each passing year, fewer sources produce more packages. I perceive our food now depends on stressed bees with declining genetic diversity and more frequent flyer miles than Wall Street’s CEO’s. TBH’s can only help.

    A couple years ago my neighbor across the street was cooing over "little bees" she hadn't seen since a girl. Last year my army of bees amazed her neighbor when they over ran his flowering ornamental tree. The guy I succored to let me put three swarms in his yard chewed my ear off over his best crop of cucumbers. I’ll get more trouble if I stop this nonsense than all I endured since I started. Sounds like we need more langs, skeps, warre, tbh and just plain bees.

  14. #34

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Actually, I think we all came to a point of understanding on page 3

    besides, I never took his first post as a 'callout' or anything like that. I saw someone who was trying to make sense of something that was outside of his personal experience circle at the time. Otherwise, no problem.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Yea this thread looked doomed until cooler heads prevailed, for myself I get twitchy whenever some one criticises my tbh, but I think thats just because a lot of tbh people get so much flak at home for their non-standard approach. And I think we are all so passionate about bees that our passion triggers strong responses.
    I'm always happy when I see a honey bee fly by, I saw one in town the other day did a double take, I was wondering if it was a wild bee of maby some one had a backyard hive?


    Sam.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    i think this discussion has been a great one, and that many people are going to take something from it. The way i see it, not every beekeeper has to be a fan of TBH's, just as not every baseball fan likes the Yankees. I am taking Alltek up on his offer to supply people with enough equipment to start a Lang, and i will keep a thread on its progress here on Beesource.com

  17. #37
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by NY_BLUES View Post
    The way i see it, not every beekeeper has to be a fan of TBH's, just as not every baseball fan likes the Yankees.
    I was afraid you were going to bring up the DH...
    Liberty or Tyranny?

  18. #38
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    i think that the DH thread would get deleted if we were to start, but is is going

  19. #39
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Lincoln,Nebraska,USA
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I have worked commercially in bees when I was younger in California. I now live in Nebraska and keep bees in langs and TBHS they both have there pros and cons. And I could argue that one is better than the other but that is like comparing apples and oranges. As a rule commercially langs are probably better if nothing else because of sheer avalibility of hardware. But some have and do work TBHS commercially and make money doing it. That being said I think that every new beek should first learn in langs and then if he or she wants to branch out great. The TBH equipment can be made cheap enough and be made so it is all interchangeable so that is one theory that is easily argued and won. But as a rule you have to find the time to make it. Lets face it it is much easier to go and buy ready made equipment. But I really think the real problem is the kids of today are not taught a real work ethic any more our schools, goverment and parents have failed to teach our workers of tomorrow the real value of a honest days work. Why go and work in a bee yard or extraction house when you can work in a office behind a computer. America use to be one of the leading countrys for producing just about everything imaginable and had a lot of pride doing so. Now it is all made some where else. We now are a service oriented country and when you go that route you will fail. So langs or TBHS I say who cares teach a kid today.The bible says you reap what you sow. SO sow the seeds today and you will have your futur beeks tomorrow and let them decide what equipment they will use.

  20. #40

    Default Re: People, a top bar hive?

    I think if one does not or can not, for whatever reasons, build their own equipment, there are more sources to purchase assembled and kit form TBH's.

    Obviously not as many as sell Langs but there are people out there willing to build and sell them. As more people try and decide they like top bar hives, there will be both demand and new suppliers.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

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