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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBee View Post
    So......what's the difference? Why would his throw three swarms while mine hasn't produced one?
    Well, I am absolutely green at all this, but I'll throw my 2 cents in. I would look at what the bees have done differently in your hive vs. Greg's.

    Is the size of his brood nest smaller than yours? Maybe Greg's bees have created a honey barrier that is blocking the queen from enlarging the brood nest and your bees haven't? Just a couple of possibilities to consider that I've gleaned from others with more experience.

    I have also been reading Walt Wright's articles about swarming in the "Point of View" section of BeeSource. He has some provocative thoughts about how and why a colony swarms.

    His articles can be a bit hard to digest, but I really think he makes some good points that apply just as well to TBHs as well as to Langs. One article appropriate to this topic is this: "Swarm Preparation" Another germane article: "Is It Congestion?".

    Walt identifies two types of swarms -- reproductive swarming and overcrowding swarming. According to Walt, the triggers for each type are somewhat different. From "Swarm Preparations":

    "...Species survival by generation of the reproductive swarm is the basic objective of every over-wintered colony. The whole build-up period is dedicated to increasing the population to support division by the reproductive swarm. Division needs to occur in time for the offspring swarm to have a chance at getting itself established that season...."

    "...Overcrowding swarms are the result of another survival trait of honey bees. To protect survival of the existing colony (priority one) a swarm is generated to reduce an out-of-balance condition of excess population. That swarm is generated later in the growing season than the reproductive swarm and is expandable...."

    I wonder if Adam's swarms were from overcrowding -- where the brood nest had gotten so large and there are so many bees, that the hive simply could not support them all.

    --DeeAnna

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lane County, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Sure. And I've read your site on this subject and encourage others to do so if they haven't already. But that "frequent harvesting" is a pretty grey area, particularly for beginners, who I think make up a large number of the top bar beeks out there.

    The first problem I ran into on that was that the honey wasn't capped. There was a ton of it in the hive uncapped for what seemed like forever - so what do you do then? I have thought I should get a chest freezer and build racks inside it, just to hold full bars of honey, so that I can remove them and replace them as needed.

    Then there's understanding the cycle of the season and having a sense of when the comb is no longer going to get built, and they're not likely to store much more. For me, it seemed much earlier in the year than I would have thought. So harvesting late on lessens their stores.

    The frequent manipulations you describe on your site really have to happen (for me in zone 6) mostly in late May, June and July. August is already getting late for them to rebuild comb.

    Delta Bay,

    So you're essentially taking the "building down" that a colony might do in a tree or Warréand turning it on its side for a tbh. So the bees work to construct comb and migrate the nest closer to the door over time. Interesting.

    Adam
    You are asking very detailed questions! Exactly my thoughts and problems. I found the same thing last year, 2015, they were having trouble getting honey stores capped. I'm wondering if I had been able to condense the hive, would the addtl. Warmth helped dehydrate that nectar?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lane County, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    [QUOTE=Adam Foster Collins;657521]Sure. And I've read your site on this subject and encourage others to do so if they haven't already. But that "frequent harvesting" is a pretty grey area, particularly for beginners, who I think make up a large number of the top bar beeks out there.

    The first problem I ran into on that was that the honey wasn't capped. There was a ton of it in the hive uncapped for what seemed like forever - so what do you do then? I have thought I should get a chest freezer and build racks inside it, just to hold full bars of honey, so that I can remove them and replace them as needed.

    Then there's understanding the cycle of the season and having a sense of when the comb is no longer going to get built, and they're not likely to store much more. For me, it seemed much earlier in the year than I would have thought. So harvesting late on lessens their stores.

    The frequent manipulations you describe on your site really have to happen (for me in zone 6) mostly in late May, June and July. August is already getting late for them to rebuild comb.

    Delta Bay,

    So you're essentially taking the "building down" that a colony might do in a tree or Warréand turning it on its side for a tbh. So the bees work to construct comb and migrate the nest closer to the door over time. Interesting.

    Adam
    Last edited by Noahsoak; 04-10-2016 at 12:17 PM.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    50,665

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    >They've both been fed from day one, although his were fed with a constant supply from three quart jars and mine were fed from one quart jar.

    This almost always results in a backfilled brood nest and swarming.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#when
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    434

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    For me, management for swarm control in a horizontal TBH is opening the brood nest and making splits. I can't meet the demand for nucs so don't work them for honey.

    As we're running them for nucs, we have several yards where we have 4 foot hives with a temporary divider mid-way. I talked with Les Crowder about managing for honey and discussed what he calls a "2-3 Split" = letting both halves get crowded and build swarm cells then pull the old queens into a split with the open brood, pull the divider and combine the 2 hives. You get 1 honey producing monster (hopefully with a new queen) and 2 small colonies.

    This sort of cut-down-split-combine would be cumbersome with Langstroth equipment but works fairly easily with a temporarily divided TBH.

    We use a lot of 8-frame TBH nuc boxes that allow for an internal feeder, 3 and 4 frame splits build up pretty fast in those boxes and they are easily transportable. Obviously they don't have to be moved to a different yard but, I prefer to do so.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    50,665

    Default Re: TBH Management: How Do You Curb Swarming?

    >This almost always results in a backfilled brood nest and swarming.

    I probably should have also included "in any kind of hive"... because that's not just top bar hives...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

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