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Thread: Top Bar Spacers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Top Bar Spacers

    When do I place the spacers for the honey frames? Is it after the bees start to fill the first comb with nectar or do I wait to do it after the bees have already started to build the honey comb (assuming I can see they have completed brood combs and begun honey comb). Do I place between the rest of the top bars even before they begin to build comb or just the first one or two until the rest are being built out?
    Thanks!
    Vickie
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Buttonwillow, CA USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    Hello, I recently started using KTB, and built 1.5" bars. I do not use any spacers, and haven't had a problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    Where they start storing nectur is where I start adding spacers

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    You can use a spacer any time the mid rib of a comb is offset from the center guide. Beyond the honey barrier use them as needed. If they are extending the cell walls past the outer edge of the bar you will need a spacer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    I'm wondering, does anyone find the spacers warp or bend and make it difficult to push the bars together? I got in a bind yesterday where I needed wider bars but only had narrow ones - so I hand spaced them about 1/8" and am trusting the bees to fill in the spaces. We shall see how they do...

    If it works well, I may make all my bars 1 1/4" and space them like that when necessary.



    Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    I'm wondering, does anyone find the spacers warp or bend and make it difficult to push the bars together? I got in a bind yesterday where I needed wider bars but only had narrow ones - so I hand spaced them about 1/8" and am trusting the bees to fill in the spaces. We shall see how they do...

    If it works well, I may make all my bars 1 1/4" and space them like that when necessary.


    Adam
    I've done this when I've not had spacers on hand and it worked great. When the gap is in the honey area they don't seem be real quick filling it up. The closer to the brood area the faster they fill it.
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    641

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    Adam: That's the only way I space my bars. I use all 1 3/8" bars and then gap them when necessary. It works great for me.

    Matt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    AHA! Hey, Matt, I have haunted the Bee Thinking website for tips like this one. Thanks for sharing it here!

    The bees got creative with 3 empty bars in the back of one of my hives. The bees built nice and straight across one bar, skipped a bar, and drew another straight comb across the third. There is only a bee space between these two combs -- the cell depth is unusually deep. I was a little bemused by that at the time -- I had read about unusually thick honey combs, but in my inexperience had never seen one. Well, now I know....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    Yes, honey combs can get very thick, as the bees save resources and opt to make deeper cells rather than more comb.

    For those of you who space bars, have you found a limit as to how big the space can be before the bees have trouble closing it? It seems to me that spaces could get to a quarter inch or more...

    Thanks,

    Adam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Top Bar Spacers

    I use 1 1/4 inch bars and noticed when the combs get farther away from the brood they get thicker and wider than the bar. A couple of combs filled with honey were stuck together and when I tried separating them one tore off and fell to the bottom. What a mess! I picked it out and reattcaced with a couple of hair clips. I put it back in and added spacers. Hope I havent messed this up too bad!

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