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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Zeeland, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Wintering in TBH's

    How good do they winter in TBH's? I made a tbh and put a small swarm in it 2 weeks ago. Looking good so far.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    Not well in the North.

    We have a local top bar hive retailer here in Maine.
    Apparently she brought 17 TBH into winter and none of them survived.

    I tried to winter one and they also didn't make it.

    From what I hear, of the 40 or so TBH I know about in Maine, 4 survived the winter of 2009-2010 (which was a very mild winter)

    TBH are fun until your bees die. Then you feel a bit like a jerk.
    I am trying again with two this year. So far they're gangbusters but winter will be the real test.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

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

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    "Apparently she brought 17 TBH into winter and none of them survived." Wow!!!
    "From what I hear, of the 40 or so TBH I know about in Maine, 4 survived the winter of 2009-2010" Wow! WOW!!!


    Are the losses connected with the hive design or is this a coincidence?
    We do have cold winters and mine over-winter fine.
    There are a few things you can do to prep them:
    Watch the cluster going in the winter. You can rearrange the honey stores so they are all on the same side of the cluster.
    Top entrances for moisture ventilation.
    Make the hives a little taller so they can move vertically and not have to move across comb, along the cold walls, in long cold spells. (I believed this for many years and build my hives accordingly until last winter when the bees showed me they don't care. I lost some taller KTBHs but of the two 9 5/8" tall, straight walled hives, both survived.)
    I'm sure there are other suggestions. Check out MB's Website he keeps them in Nebraska. Dennis Murrell was keeping them in Wyoming, I believe. Plenty winter in those places!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord NH
    Posts
    2,665

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    Why folks in cold climates keep trying to use TBH's is beyond me....clusters don't move sideways from frame to frame very well.

    Bees like to go up and down......

    In a TBH they get stuck in the cold, unable to move to the next bar and starve.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    I have a friend (in Connecticut) who tried to keep bees alive in tbh's but finally decided to go with Lang's...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,394

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    Quote Originally Posted by JPK View Post
    Bees like to go up and down......

    In a TBH they get stuck in the cold, unable to move to the next bar and starve.
    This is easily solved if the TBH uses the same size bars as a Lang. In the fall, simply take 10 bars out of the TBH and place them in a Lang hive body and set it on top of the TBH. Put a follower board in the TBH. Next spring, reverse this. I did this with my 20 frame condo hive. Works like a champ.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    >Why folks in cold climates keep trying to use TBH's is beyond me....clusters don't move sideways from frame to frame very well.

    I don't try. I do. And the bees do just as well horizontally as they do living vertically.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bucksport, Maine
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    You know bees live just fine winter after winter in spaces between floors in old buildings. These combs are not more than 8 inches deep and lined up all nicely in a row, horizontally. How they do it, I don't know: I never spent the winter with them, but they do it. They can live in old gas tanks and none of the horrors that we worry about seem to matter to them one bit. I agree with Michael, and my bees built their hive the way they wanted it. If they can't find their food then they will starve. Ok, because if they can't find their own food how do I expect them to go outside the hive in the spring and find it. Just for the record, In this area bees didn't make it through last winter in Langs either. If the box is big enough and has enough stores for winter the bees should be fine. On the other hand if their first big warm winter day meal has high levels of systemic chemicals perhaps their tummy aches prevented them from returning to eat any more. I'll die before I eat any more of that; and so they do. Must have been the type of hive, don't you thing Joe. No Tom must be the cold weather. We I think they got lost and couldn't find the honey. By the way....for real; my at least 4 year old bee tree died last fall. Must have been the wrong size tree.
    Last edited by DavesBees; 06-25-2010 at 09:05 PM. Reason: I'm old, can't spell, got crs, and fat but fast fingers!
    Dave - PM me if you are interested in natural beekeeping in Hancock County Maine.
    http://www.davesbees.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    nelsonville, ohio
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Wintering in TBH's

    Quote Originally Posted by JPK View Post
    .clusters don't move sideways from frame to frame very well.

    Bees like to go up and down.......
    i wish you would have been here last winter to tell my bees this.. i lost a hive with 70lb of excess honey above them. thay moved to the side of the middle brood box and starved. had them inspected and the result was thay just didnt move up..
    some people read to many books,, my bees cant read

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