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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Lakeland, FL USA
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    776

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

    .

    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

    .


    .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,886

    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
    776

    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.

    .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,093

    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 "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    165

    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
    776

    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.


    .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
    Posts
    243

    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
    2,813

    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
    776

    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
    Jan 2012
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    Lakeland, FL USA
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    776

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

    RE Jones,

    Thanks so much for the info and contact info. Yes, you are right next door to me, almost.

    Regarding allowing the new hive to raise their own queen, does that mean I would have to make sure I transferred top bars that included supercedures?

  13. #13
    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?

    Yes, you would need to transfer a queen cell to the new hive.
    They will not try to swarm untill they get too crowded or honey bound, that is when this usually happens.
    I found that the small hive I built, would be good for a small swarm for a time. I built the big one and installed a swarm last October and in three weeks they had built comb on 10 bars. They are now on bar 20. I still have plenty of room for them, but I also have a small TBH nuc that I built just in case.
    Robert

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    386

    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.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

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

    I have to say I also agree with his post. I have top bar hives and Langs and enjoy both. I started with TBHs, but mine are four feet long. Go for it, but build your next ones longer.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    418

    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.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

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

    I also though that the post was well thought out and written. My advice is that you don't drawl conclusions or condemn something you haven't experienced... That is a fast way to failure... If you already have your mind made up about something and are unwilling to resort to it if necessary, you will surely fail.

    I can comment on eating bees: They taste bad and have stingers ... However, bee brood is quite tasty, drone brood is the best, providing you don't mind cleaning a few mites off sometimes.... They taste like honey coated almond only no crunch.

    Given the "naturalistic" tendency you seem to be leaning towards; you should consider 1 more point. Honey bees are terrible for the environment. They are great from an agriculture point of view, but they are detrimental to the natural environment. They displace natural pollinators, they compete with them for food, and they are not suited well for pollination of many native plants. It is unknown how many species of natural pollinators and native plants have gone extinct since the introduction of the honey bee, but many naturalists estimate it in the 100s.. If environmental protection is your goal you should consider bubble bees or mason bees.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,093

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

    Air filled or helium? heh, heh. Good advice bluegrass.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

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

    I read the person's comments on your blog and found them to be solid, and I didn't see them as condescending. I also believe that hive is too small. I have two 4 footers here, and I wouldn't go any smaller. I have seen a lot of criticism aimed at tbh's which was ill-informed, but the post you're talking about is not. Looks like thoughtful input.

    I get the sense that most people who decide a smoker doesn't work, or who decide they've found something "better" than smoke, or find that smoke just angers their bees, are also people who never used it for long enough to know what they were doing. From what I can tell, for most beginners, just lighting one and keeping one lit is too much work to want to bother with. I've been trying to stick with it and learn how best to use it, and slowly I have begun to see it as an art to be mastered.

    I taught university for a number of years. I noticed that there is often a tendency among students to try to "learn" faster, by convincing themselves that a lot of what they don't know or understand is not worth knowing or understanding. I see a lot of people doing that with smoke.

    I'm just a beginner myself. I think a lot. I have a lot of opinions, and I have a certain amount of experience. But I don't "know" much of anything for sure about bees...

    ...other than the fact that they really fascinate me, and I want to learn more. You've built a beautiful hive. Take in more information and enjoy planning and building the next one. You can always use more of them...

    Adam

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

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

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Air filled or helium? heh, heh. Good advice bluegrass.
    Hope it doesn't sound condescending? I am trying to be helpful. I may preach against various practices in apiculture, but if it comes down to loosing the hive or treating/feeding, or whatever... I do what ever I need to to save the hive.

    And going honey hunting without smoke can be insanity.... it is so simple even the cave men knew to do it. And I have tried just using sugar water or water and lemongrass oil. ( I didn't have dry fuel for the smoker)

    I have also used TBH and they like smoke too.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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