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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    834

    Default How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

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    I don't want this to turn into a whole Langstroth vs top bar blowup. To each his own, and I fully respect that, as I am sure you all do as well. In fact, I'm sure many of you top bar hivists also dabble in Langtroths as well.

    However, I thought the following response in my local forums was a cheap-shot to discourage many onlookers of whom I was trying to sway my way in the top bar method and philosophy.

    I responded - although not to ALL his points - mostly just in general.

    I would love for some of you to either respond directly or respond here to some of his points.

    And by the way, for all I know, the person could be a member here.

    Here's the link direct to his comment:

    http://www.polkmoms.com/forum/topics...=msg_com_forum

    If that link doesn't work, try this and scroll down to a response by Rob Fullwood.

    http://www.polkmoms.com/forum/topics...age=4#comments

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    What do you take issue with? I pretty much agree with him, except for one thing - clearly you are already committed to using a top bar hive. I don't really see any reason for you to change gears at this point. Just consider the almost univeral advice to start with at least two hives - and also consider building a nuc or two as well. Build everything so that the parts will swap of course.

    I will say this - my top bar hive is just as likely to sting me as any other hive. Maybe I'm to poor of a bee keeper to tell the difference.

    BTW - nice job on the hive, and the blog.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    834

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    .

    Thanks, David.

    I don't know. I kind of felt his whole tone was rather condescending and a back-handed attempt to belittle me and top bar hives in general.

    Don't get me wrong, much of what he said was spot-on. But I could sense some knife-twisting as well.

    I don't know. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,275

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    Tone and motive are hard to tell in text messages, unlike in person communication where body language and vocal inflection tell you more. So, yeah, maybe you are taking offense when none was intended. But, also, maybe you are correct in your interpretation.

    Which way of looking at it makes you happiest? I'd go w/ assuming good intent on behalf of the replier. It's better for you.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    You're lucky to have such a well informed, articulate writer posting on your blog. He obviously spent a great deal of time and energy communicating many very important points. Any new (or not so new) beekeeper would be well served by reading his comments more than once as well as printing out a copy for future reference.

    "Swaying people your way in the top bar method and philosophy" shouldn't be difficult when you are able to demonstrate your own success.

    Ramona

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    834

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    .

    I appreciate the input.

    I'm not using a smoker, however...lol

    But I took a lot of what he had to say to heart.

    And yes, I appreciate his input very much.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    let us know how the no smoker thing goes, sometimes they are indispensable. i did notice your quote mentioned the bees need for love and the distress the caged queen was in because she wasn't getting any. that is a different way of thinking about bees! I hope it all works out for you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    I woudl say you have to look at yourself for what you saw in his post. I read the entire thing and didn't see a thing wrong with it.
    Top Bars are not a cure all. They may not be the best start for a new keeper, and they do have issues of their own. They are still an artificial environment to keep bees in and I don't get even the suggestion that they will cause bees to be calmer. That one just seems a bit suspicious as far as a claim would go. Maybe there is an advantage that a newb would not be ticking the bees off as much by fumbling around.
    So I could just repeat what Mark B said above.
    And yes Mark, We do agree far more than you might think. Including that I may very well just be another newb hell bent on destruction. I realize that. But I'm enjoying the view while it still looks rosy. Check back in a year, after I've ticked off a few hives. Most likely setting right here with my bees dead. Well see if those glasses have gotten slapped off my face by then.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lafollette,Tennessee,USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    I agree with sqkcrk about tone and motive in text. The English language is so complicated that tone and inflection can drastically change the meaning of the same words.

    Having said that, I interpreted his post as just trying to be helpful. As you probably already know, there are lots of different ways to keep bees, and experienced beeks have found what works for them in their area of the country, and base their advice on that experience. My advise would be to read everything you can, keep an open mind, don't rule anything out, and see what works for you.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Beev
    Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is watching.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    834

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    .

    The gentleman made a point in his posts about how I should have a 2nd top bar hive on hand in case the growth of the population out-paces the size of the hive.

    If this were to happen, how do you go about splitting them up or transferring them to another top bar hive?

    What about the queen(s)?

    Is it a matter of taking brood top bars and honey/pollen out of the original hive and placing them in the new hive and introduce a brand new purchased queen?

    Is it also in reference to catching the swarm when they come out into a nearby tree or structure?

    Thanks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Valrico, Florida
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    Patbeek, I'm over in Valrico, about 20 miles west of you. I also have a TBH.
    He does have some valid points and I do not think he was trying to down the TBH. They are different than a lang, but still the same.
    I have built a small TBH like you have and now have a four footer. The small one will grow quicker than you think it will. Build another one just like it, transfer some of the top bars with brood and honey from the full one and install it in the new one. Let the new hive raise their own queen if you like.
    If you like, I could e-mail you a phone number if you have any questions or you are welcome to come and check my TBH out.
    I have found that most people with langs are set with them and they have no desire to fool with a TBH. At this time I have both.
    Robert

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    I agree with what has been posted above but would like to add that the hive in your picture is far too small.The bees will outgrow it quickly.I would suggest one at least twice as long.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    451

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatBeek View Post
    .

    The gentleman made a point in his posts about how I should have a 2nd top bar hive on hand in case the growth of the population out-paces the size of the hive.

    If this were to happen, how do you go about splitting them up or transferring them to another top bar hive?

    What about the queen(s)?

    Is it a matter of taking brood top bars and honey/pollen out of the original hive and placing them in the new hive and introduce a brand new purchased queen?

    Is it also in reference to catching the swarm when they come out into a nearby tree or structure?

    Thanks.
    There are many Lang management techniques that can be applied to the TBH like making splits swarm control etc... Reading up on these will help with options that will work for you. A split can be as simple as removing the queen and a few brood combs of bees placing them in another hive several feet from the original hive. The original hive is likely to raise a new queen. Timing is also important.

    You can look at the smoker as a way to give the bees a heads up (or down depending on your view) just as you do with young children when you give the "we are leaving the park in five minutes" instead of just taking them out without warning and them fighting it. Just lighting the smoker in the yard many times is all that is needed.

    In my view the number one objective concerning the TBH is to have the bees build their combs following the guides so that you can work the hive. Everything else is a matter of learning how/what you need to know and will/can be learnt over time. Without the hive being workable you won't be able to apply much of any strategy. A main issue I see with TBH's is the lack of understanding how natural comb differs from foundation combs. Once you've got a handle on this everything else will fall into place as you learn about your bees.

    Stick with your plan but also be open to make changes so that you and the bees are working together.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: How would you all respond to this "constructive criticism" of the top bar hive?

    Hi Pat,

    Looking at the pics of your hive, i think it is inevitable that if the bees perform normally, they will outgrow the hive. You then either split it, or it swarms.

    At it's most basic, a hive split can be done by moving the hive a few yards away and putting a new empty one on the old location. Then take at least one comb with eggs in it from the moved hive and put it into the new hive. Brush the bees off to ensure you left the queen behind. Enough bees will return to the old location to get the hive going again, and turn one of those eggs into a new queen, which will take around a month.

    There are numerous ways to split a hive and some other ways are more reliable, but the above way is probably one of the most simple.

    The lack of expansion potential is one of the biggest drawbaks of top bar hives. Some folks get around this by designing a top bar hive that can have another box added on top, for the bees to expand into and store honey in, on a seasonal basis. This does present some design challenges, and requires that some of the top bars are modified to allow the bees to move up between them. It also removes some of the simplicity of the top bar design. But it will allow the bees more room if they need it, and greatly enhance their ability to provide you with a good honey surplus.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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