Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Hi everyone,
    this is my first post so first of all hey! I've got a few commercial hives and have done for a few years but im looking at moving into a more natural approach and start using top bar hives as well/instead.

    I wondered if anyone had any experience moving established colonies from frame hives to top bar and has any tips?

    Also, I'm nto sure when to move them. I want to do it before the colony grows too big for summer and there's a lot of brood, but not so early they cant forage and replace lost stores in transit and get over the shock. Would march be a good time to make the move?

    Many thanks

    Max

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    I would just move to foundationless. Cut the combs out of the center of the frames and leave a row of cells, or if they are plastic foundation, cut a wooden strip to put in the groove for a guide and continue to do it with the equipment you have. The problem with top bar hives is that they have a fixed space and therefore require a lot more frequent intervention. Foundationless will give you the natural comb with your current equipment.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Hmmmm, I see your thinking. What intervention would you say there is more of in TBH, from what i'd looked at it seems like a less intervening method? Some of my reasons for TBH were lack fo queen excluding and using honey froms as a natural lateral ''brood'' exlcuder'' also, having all frames over a mesh floor looked cleaner to me, with a huge reduction in drop-off varao climbing back or landing on bits below. Another thing, is brood congestion of drones and dispersion of pheremones, along with communication throughout the hive through vibrating combs which is dampened by frames.

    In the mthod you suggest, would you leave the side bars on and bottom bar?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    sorry for the typing errors! writing on a tiny keyboard!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Seems you've already been indoctrinated. The TBH segment of our beekeeping craft tends to think the rest of us are "industrial" beekeepers with "commercial" hives. Maybe I have "hobby" hives!

    But I digress. I am a conventional, Langstroth, non-chemical beekeeper. Last year I acquired a TBH with all the discriminatory literature. I did it for the education and experience as beginners and wannabees were calling me, wanting to get into bees and feeling like the TBH was the way to go. Many were under the impression that this was the only acceptable method and was "natural."

    My rookie experience, after one year, is that TBH requires a whole different mindset. The fixed enclosure limits available space and they will swarm. Your honey production will be limited as well. Your harvesting options are limited, but with the decreased potential for honey production, the extra time it takes to harvest the smaller production is not really an issue. My bees, a feral swarm I tossed into the TBH, did very well. It was wall-to-wall brood and I had to split them and give the split to a beginner TBH enthusiast to keep my bees from swarming.

    I think the TBH is great for someone who just wants to mess around with bees with low expectations. The bees seem to do well without any intervention, but the beekeeper receives a compensatory return on his management, or the lack of it. This TBH was just as expensive as a Langstroth hive. Like a Langstroth hive, you can make the components on a table saw.

    I'm not discouraging anyone from keeping bees, and I'm not discouraging anyone from starting out in a TBH. But it's a different ball game with the TBH, kind of like comparing croquet to golf. Same idea, vastly different rules and results.

    There's a guy on the "For Sale" forum selling TBH. Maybe you could PM him on his experience and what he found out and why he's switching to the "industrial" hive.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Thanks for the post, sorry I probably came across a bit dismissive in my previous post when i read it back i didnt mean to, simply giving my reasons. Ive kept commercials for a few years and i guess the initaial look of TBH just looked a bit more appearling. I understand what you mean on the space issue. from your experience If i was to make a longer than average top bar with a dummy board as they grew they would use the space laterally or not?

    I tend to find my stackable hives gum up quite quickly with the extra seems and spaces for the bees to fill with propolis. My other isse ive had in the past is after spinning comb and putting it back. bits of honey left in the comb seem to crystalise and seed the new crop into setting too early, hence why contyinual virgin comb seemed more appealing.

    Do you have any experience with a warre hive? Or think this could be a better option for me?

    Maybe I'll keep my bees where they are and transfer a swarm into a TBh and see how I go.

    Thanks again, I didn't intend to seem dismissive, or negative towards ''industrial'' beekeeping. I'd just like to find the most efficient compromise between the two.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Now that I see you're from the UK, there are likely some cultural and communication cues I missed. I do get a little defensive when people discuss my methods like it was a neglected toxic waste dump or a "feed lot" operation.

    I have no experience with the WARRE hive. I've read about it and haven't found any reason to try it. There are also a hundred different variations on how to keep bees. We all gravitate to our preferences, and my preference is the 10-frame Langstroth with a screen bottom board. And even within the Langstroth community, opinions vary and options abound.

    As for the granulated honey, I use a fine nylon filter to screen out the wax particles. Then I let my honey sit for a while so all the tiny particles float up to the top as I fill jars and bottles from the bottom spigot. My daughter spent some time in London and said the preferred form of honey was "set," that is, granulated. 90% of the world seems to want liquid honey. She thought it was a nice change of pace.

    The floral source of your honey will also determine the granulation rate. It may have nothing to do with the comb.

    And like I said in my earlier post, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from going TBH, but it's a different ball game...like cricket to baseball.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO USA
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Central Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    [QUOTE=max_levy;621053
    I tend to find my stackable hives gum up quite quickly with the extra seems and spaces for the bees to fill with propolis. My other isse ive had in the past is after spinning comb and putting it back. bits of honey left in the comb seem to crystalise and seed the new crop into setting too early, hence why contyinual virgin comb seemed more appealin[/QUOTE]


    I am going into my second year. I started with one TBH and have been happy with it so far. You can check out this video to see how to cut down frames to put into a TBH. My bees still glue down their bars as much as they can, but I don't have a way of comaring it to how much they glue down a standard hive box.

    I think a lot of what you want can be done in a standard hive. You can move towards foundationles frames, you don't have to use a queen excluder, and you can crush and strain out of frames instead of extracting if you want to. I've seen it mentioned frequently on here and by reading Michael Bush's website. Try a few different methods and find the one that works best for you and your goals.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    >What intervention would you say there is more of in TBH, from what i'd looked at it seems like a less intervening method?

    As already mentioned, the main issue is that you have a fixed space. Since you can't expand and contract the hive by putting on and taking off supers, you have to manage that space more intensively. It's not more labor, just more frequent.

    > Some of my reasons for TBH were lack fo queen excluding and using honey froms as a natural lateral ''brood'' exlcuder'' also, having all frames over a mesh floor looked cleaner to me, with a huge reduction in drop-off varao climbing back or landing on bits below.

    You can do all of these things in a vertical standard hive (whatever that might be for you). You can use no excluder (I don't and haven't for decades) you can use a "Mesh Floor" (aka SBB) which I've done for a decade (but have moved to solid so I can double them as feeders, there is no "huge reduction" of Varroa), you can use natural comb (I have 2,000 frames of natural comb in Langstroth hives and this will make more difference on Varroa than the floor).

    > Another thing, is brood congestion of drones and dispersion of pheremones, along with communication throughout the hive through vibrating combs which is dampened by frames.

    How do you see it dampened by the frames? If they are natural combs they will attach or not attach as the see fit and I usually see some combs with one edge and the bottom free so they can use it as a dance ground. I even see this with wax foundation.

    >In the mthod you suggest, would you leave the side bars on and bottom bar?

    I do leave them on. They can attach or not as they see fit.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Many thanks for all your input guys, its all been very interesting. I think from what everyones saying, I might loose the excluder in one hive, all supers this year I will just maybe use an inch strip of foundation at the top for the bees to work from and not re-use honey comb.

    I'll probably make myself a TBH and bait it in the swarm season rather then transfer my existing colonies and see how I get on working with both of them at the same time.

    Thanks again, if anyone else has any TBH tips or relavant ideas, please keep them coming!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    By far the easiest way to populate a TBH is with a natural swarm. No messing about cuttting and trimming frames, sewing on to top bars etc. So I would say, if you have considered all of the excellent advice already posted, and still want to run a TBH, go right ahead and start with a swarm. You will either get the idea of TBH's either right in or right out of your system once you have run one for a while. By the way, we are very lucky in this respect in the UK as we seem to have plenty of natural swarms to collect, completley free of charge. I'm only a few miles down the road from you and I collected 10 swarms last year. (OK, one was my own which made it way into the neighbours garden.) Saves a lot of bucks and each and every swarm was in good health. Finally, if you have not found it already, I would strongly suggest looking at Phil Chandler's Bio Bees website for lots more info on TBH's.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Max failed to point out that the commercial in this case is a type of hive we have in the UK,
    and not commercial as in for "profit"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Could you elaborate? I'd love to understand what a "Commercial" hive is. How does it differ from a Langsroth or a BS or a WBC?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Thanks for pointing that out I forgot! I'm sure layout is similar just dimensions differ:
    http://exchangedownloads.smarttech.c...ews/m_0001.png

    That shows the layout, and this shows a frame dimension!

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/comframedims.html

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    <Could you elaborate? I'd love to understand what a "Commercial" hive is. How does it differ from a Langsroth or a BS or a WBC? >

    The "Commercial" hive is built from 4 pieces of wood Langstroth style, outside dimensions are the same as the "National" and the floor, cover board,roof and supers are "National" the depth is much greater than a "National" being just short of a "Dadant". The frames are considerable bigger than "National" and as there are 11 frames the brood area is greater than
    a 10 frame "Langstroth".

    The "Commercial" hive is much less prone to swarming than "National" unless you delay putting supers on, if I had known about them 25 years ago I would have gone that road rather than "Langstroth". Its a lovely hive to work with.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,994

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    I wouldn't cut your commercial combs to go in the TBH, as part of the TBH philosophy is natural comb.

    Since you are concerned about losing brood from the commercial frames, one way would be to make up top bars that could be fitted in a commercial box. Alternate a few of them through your commercial hive to get a few top bar combs built. Then put these top bars, and the queen, in a box above an excluder over your brood box. 3 weeks later all brood is in your top bar combs, and transfer to your TBH.

    Having said all that, I agree with the other posters. Don't throw out your commercial gear yet!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Thanks! I had not heard the term before. I think I have heard them called "extra deeps" or something to that effect.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    Michael,
    Are you confusing Nationals and Deep Nationals? If you dont mind waiting 30 seconds for a download, the following little guide is well worth waiting for. Its free and explains all. www.fdbka.co.uk/hiveguide2011
    .

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southend, Essex, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Moving from Commercial to Top Bar

    External dimensions for commercial are the same as national but internal is bigger, frame lugs are shorter and frames are deeper, this explains here:

    http://www.deanforestbeekeepers.co.u.../HiveGuide.pdf

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