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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Marysville, WA
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    473

    Default Top Bar bait hives

    My top bar hives are built using Phil Chandlers (barefoot beekeeper) plans. Last year I built a smaller 10 bar version for a nuc hive. I would like to build some more of the same size to use as bait hives but was wondering if this is too big, too small or a good size for this. I understand it would probably work fine but I am interested in what you all would consider the optimum size.
    Thanks for any input.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,803

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    I have caught small baits in large boxes, large baits in small boxes, and huge baits in huge boxes.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    I'd go with large. When I'm supplying swarms to top bar guys I only give them the small swarms now.

    When I used to give them big swarms it would almost invariably move on within a few days, my feeling is they consider the TBH too small, or it may be the shape I don't know. A small swarm though will stay put.

    Going with a "mini" TBH would exacerbate this problem.

    My humble opinion only!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Marysville, WA
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    473

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Hey oldtimer,
    When you say "large" or "small", how would this compare to package sizes. Would large be comparable to a 4 lb package? Bigger? Just trying to wrap my brain around it and as we all know some peoples large isn't the same as others. I'm not a swarm catcher.....yet.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,727

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    The large swarms would be say, 6 lbs plus. But now I give the top bars the very small ones, say under 2 lbs at the absolute most. They still do quite well in a top bar and I think a very small swarm does better initially in a top bar than it would in a lang.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Wow, 6 lbs. That's alot of bees. I wouldn't try to "shove" that many bees into a mini hive. If I was hiving a swarm I would put them in a full size (4 ft long) TBH.

    My initial question was for a "bait" hive. I may be misunderstanding things but my understanding is certain volume attract swarms better than others.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    My tbh trap hives normally have eight or nine bars available for comb building. They work like a charm for me down here. Ten seems like a good size. I don´t think I would go any bigger though.

    Just be careful when removing them from the tree or where ever you hang them. The new comb is fragile and if the bee quickly fill it with brood and you can´t take it down right away, you can have comb collapse.

    Here´s some photos of mine and a link to a past thread where I talked about how I make and manage mine.

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

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

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214228


    Good luck.
    ----------
    Tom 

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Very cool tomas! Thanks for the info and the thread. My goal was to do exactly as you have. I want to be able to move the bars directly into my hives with no modification. You've also given me some ideas how to mount them. I was still pondering that.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
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    228

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives and hanging them

    I want to make a clarification about the first photo in the thread I linked and how I hang my trap hives.

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

    Don´t do it this way (my beekeeping partner hung this one and not me). Although this trap was nice and stable I try not to set them down into the crotch of a tree. What I remember about the trap hive in this photo is that we had a heck of a time trying to get it down. We didn´t get to it right away so the box was heavy since it was completely filled with comb and bees. Trying to lift it out of the crotch of the tree at night with only one hand (the other had to grip a branch to keep from falling) didn´t make things any easier. The weight actually jammed it in there a bit.

    I usually let the trap literally hang in the tree, resting against a branch so it doesn´t move around in the wind. If necessary I might throw another small sting around it and the branch/trunk to keep it stable. The idea is to make the lowering process as simple as possible. The main rope is passed over a branch above the trap and tied off down below—ideally where it is accessible from the ground. I leave a good bit of extra rope. Someone crawls up into the tree to basically just stuff a sponge in each of the entrances (a bit of smoke is sometimes necessary). That person then needs to just guide it down to the ground while the person below lowers it. (Or one person can do it by themselves, especially if there are no branches between the trap hive and the ground.) If I can reach the entrance of the trap hives from the ground even better. I use to like to hang the traps way up high in trees. With the Africanized bees the height doesn´t seem to matter much. Seven feet up works just fine. Here are a couple more photos.

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

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

    ----------
    Tom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lumberton, NC USA!
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    94

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Folks,
    Which direction should the bait hive be pointed towards? North, South, East, or West?
    "Death smiles at everyone. Marines smile back!"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bergen, Norway
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    According to Outofabluesky, the bait-hive should be about 40L.

    I would face the opening south/southwest if possible.

    Almost forgot - I think it's best to make a really short TBH instead of one that is smaller in all directions. That way the bars can be moved right into another TBH after you'we catched a swarm.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,105

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Hives should face east south east IMHO
    What I base this on my reading Lang's ,as I write I question myself as these are not Lang's
    Theory is the morning sun hits the hive and burns off the Dew
    Wakes them, gets life going again
    I would guess If you had a land layout where another direction would give them more Sun or less wind Blowing into the entrance then that would be a reason to move from an east so.east to due east or due south
    or Dead North per se' If you had the hive facing a fence and the fence was on the north side or the land
    As anything bee this could change in a day you could have a top entrance and with that.I don't know if theory will hold true to that
    I also wonder if Thomas (moderator) with his heat factor besides shade trees
    If he uses just the opposite direction

    Tommyt
    Last edited by tommyt; 01-04-2011 at 06:41 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Newark Valley,ny USA
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    13

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    I have a ten bar tbh that I think will work good. Did a lot of reading and that is what I came up with. Made everything but the lenght the same size so everthing is interchangeable. Pull the bars and put them right into a regular tbh. I will also face southeast with entrance.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
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    228

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Quote Originally Posted by tommyt View Post
    I also wonder if Thomas (moderator) with his heat factor besides shade trees
    If he uses just the opposite direction

    Tommyt
    Howdy everyone,

    Since I normally hang my trap hives in trees, they generally always have some shade. On those occasions where the trap does get a bit more sun, I haven´t seen heat as a problem. There is a coconut tree in my backyard that I generally use for hanging a trap. The traps there usually got quite a bit of sun during certain parts of the day. I´ve caught four or five swarms in that spot however without having any problems due to heat.

    I don´t face my entrances in any particular direction. The direction of the entrance ultimately depends on the branches in the tree and the best way to hang it and keep it stable. My traps do have two entrances, however—one on either side. The entrance the swarm usually uses is the one that gives them the easiest access—I haven’t noticed direction playing a part in it.

    ----------
    Tom

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
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    778

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    I'm glad I found this thread. I'm sick of running ads in craigslist to go get swarms and/or cut-outs.

    Fruitless.

    OVER IT !!!!!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,441

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Duboisi View Post
    According to Outofabluesky, the bait-hive should be about 40L.
    40 liters just seems way to big for a TBH bait hive. I did a volume test and I believe that would be 18 bars for me (1x12 sides, 1x8 bottom, and bars that are 19 inches). That would mean the bait hives would need to be 2 feet long to be 40 liters. McCartney is quoting the often quoted research by Tom Seeley. I would love to see Seeley's study redone with bait hives that are 20, 30 and 40 liters in size to see what is the most prefered size (he had 10, 40 and 100 liters, I think I lived in a studio when I was young that was about 100 liters).

    I went with some that are 8 and some that are 12 bars. Haven't gotten any takers yet, but it has been a slow spring around here for swarms. I also have some conventional traps out as well. But I do have a TBH nuc (2 foot) setup as a bait hive as well, just in case!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Just curious, for comparison what is the volume of a standard 5 frame Lang nuc? That seems to be what most people are using for swarm traps...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    778

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    I'm about to build a 20-inch long version of Phil Chandler's top bar design for a top bar bait hive. Of course there will be some alterations to the normal roof design, but that's basically what I have in mind. I've already built a full-size version of Chandler's hive.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,727

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    Internal volume of a 5 frame nuc would be (metric) height 24.4 x's length 46.5 x's width, say 20.0, ='s 22.7 litres.

    However I don't find a nuc big enough for most swarms. A deep single can take the great majority of them.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,251

    Default Re: Top Bar bait hives

    My first TBH swarm trap was based on the idea of a Tanzanian type hive (straight sides) with medium depth, and 40 liters of volume. This produced a box that was much wider than it was deep, which struck me as impractical unless you were hanging it against a flat surface, side the side of a building.

    But thereafter I became smitten with long hives using deep Langstroth frames. I made a bunch of plywood nuc boxes to the design of D. Coates, but these were only about 20 liters in volume. So I put two together, stacked on top, and fastened them together with drywall screws, using the leftover top and bottom screwed to the sides of both. This way, they can be converted back to nuc boxes by pulling 4 screws, and they have the volume stated by Seeley.

    I wonder if a similar thing can be done with the Kenyan TBH, by screwing two nuc-sized boxes together to get the volume.

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