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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Verner, Ontario, Canada
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    42

    Default NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Hello my name is Tommy,

    I have been working on this concept for a couple of months, rough sketches,drawn plans for dimensional uses, 3d model to work out the engineering problems and finnaly the building process. I will be posting pictures of the 3d model and the final beehive in my yard :P

    I still have time to make modifications if needed, my primary goal is to go through the concept with you guys to nit pick at it and make sure it's ok..

    But please note I had the material, equipment and also hands on skill to do this project it might be considered over the top for the "producers/farmers" with that said I only want the one hive for personal uses. the production cost would be too much. most of this material was on hand, it cost me around 300$ (115$ for 6 of the glass I did not cut myself, 40$ish for Caulking/glues and around 150$ for the Cedar T&G planks and shigles for the roof) all the rest of the wood was sawmilled by my father several years ago, and I had to plane, rip, glue, nail and cut all these from rough lumber.

    -100% Cedar
    - 40 Top Bars
    - Inner / Outer core
    - Glass Tops (Double Pane)
    - 2" Insulation (Used the shavings from the planing)
    - 2" Insulated blanket for glass tops (100% Hemp stuffed with Cedar shavings)

    Here are the models iv'e done in 3d
    Vita Hive 3D 1.jpg
    Vita Hive 3D 2.jpg

    This one is a cut out of my hive to better show the concept for venting and the core.
    Vita Hive 3D 3.jpg

    Here is the completed Vita Hive (you will see I have made a quick box in there to transfer my bees from my langstroth hive to this more easily..)
    Vita Hive 1.jpg
    Vita Hive 2.jpg
    Vita Hive 3.jpg
    Vita Hive 4.jpg
    Vita Hive 5.jpg
    Vita Hive 6.jpg

    sorry about the long post.. guess after all that work it's show time :P

    Thanks in advance
    Tommy
    Terra Vita

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Very nice work, but what is the purpose of the glass? Do the top bars butt together? Is that some kind of divider board in there? John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    The glass serves for observation mostly, there will be a insulated blanket on top to cast out light, the bars do butt to eachother, it's a langstroth hybrid like bar :P the bees enter over the bars should help for venting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    ok, so there is a bee space between the bars just like in a Lang hive? What are those divider boards inside, or am I not seeing something right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
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    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    There is a divider board to increase the size of the hive, so it's easier for them to heat/cool, and if your talking about the middle part, that is temporary to transfer my bees from my existing langstroth hive to this, basicaly I can take 6 lang frames and put them in here to strart it off.. it should basically be all top bars after I introduce my bees in there..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Terra Vita, ok now I understand. That would be cool to actually watch the bees coming into the hive and walking across the tops of the bars before they go down between the combs. Just hope the bee space is accurate between the glass and the top bars. The insulation on top of the glass will be a must during the winter, otherwise you could get condensation forming on the glass and dripping down on the cluster. I'm still not sure that wouldn't happen anyways, the glass won't absorb any moisture obviously. John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Glad to see your interested.

    They have exactly 3/4" from the top of the bars to the glass "roof" I think the key will be monitoring the entrance, That's why i've made it from Lang dimensions mmm.15" by 3/4" I think, so my hive accepts entrance reducers, and by having a "entrance"/"vent" at the very top most of the humid hot air should be exausted easily.. well I hope :P. also, it was fairly difficult to keep everything perfectly precise with so many pieces, so between the glass tops there are little cracks which should also help evacuate some humidity, that why the hemp/cedar blanket is there, they are both rot resistant and ?breathable? sorry i'm actually french so i'm may be uncertain of pronouciation etc..

    Tommy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,818

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Tommy,

    Is that a hinged door down below for a mite tray to slide into? I did the same thing on my top bar hives. I assume you have a screen bottom? How do you keep the hive from tipping over when you open the roof up, looks like alot of weight with that roof? I am really impressed with what you have built, I thought my top bar hives were over the top, you got me beat! John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,800

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Quote Originally Posted by Terra Vita View Post
    Glad to see your interested.They have exactly 3/4" from the top of the bars to the glass "roof" y
    If the hive gets crowded that 3/4" will make for some mean burr comb.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
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    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Your right John the bottom board can slide out for cleaning purposes, it is not screened for mites. the roof is incredibly light, it's all cedar, trusses are 3/4" by 1" I believe and the planks are 5/16" Tong and groove, and well the cedar shingles are light as well.

    I also was very carefull on how far the roof holds itself so it doesnt try to pull the whole thing on ground, also the legs will be screwed in concrete that is pinned to the rock (good ole canadian shield).

    i'd like to take a look at your hive you have any pictures John, I might of seen it i've been taking bits and pieces from everything i could find that seems to work.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
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    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Hi Frank

    I tryed to replicate the size I had on my slatted rack on my Langstroth hive, also that's what lang uses from top cover to frames I think and it rarely happens, but It's all possible, I also added the bottom entrance/vent that I have reducers for busy season or screened for venting like a cold trap.
    Last edited by Terra Vita; 03-04-2012 at 07:59 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,304

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Quote Originally Posted by Terra Vita View Post
    my primary goal is to go through the concept with you guys to nit pick at it and make sure it's ok..
    Once you get bees in it, they'll nit pick it and you'll know what things you did right, and what things you wish you would have done differently!
    Regards, Barry

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Beautiful hive in an overcomplicated way. After you have bees in it for a while, can you update us on how you get the
    glass panels open after the bees propolize them down. I don't see anything good to pry against to get them open.
    Something to look ahead for.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    St.Francis County, MO USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    I don't know much about TBH, going to build me "cheap" version this weekend. But what is that ceder shavings for on edge in picture #8? You say insulation, but how come most cheap built ones don't opt for it? Is it really a issue in cold climate, or you just taking the "better safe than sorry" approach?

    I would think adding insulation would be counterproductive with the bees making own heat in it the moisture buildup, like when heat is on in a house and the windows fog up. Again, not a expert or anything on this

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maple Valley, WA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Not having bees yet and so not know what works and what doesn't, I'll only comment on one thing ... it's beautiful! Looks like some really nice craftsmanship!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
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    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Actually in my opinnion insulation would not be a problem, houses these days have Vapour barriers "Sealing" the house and I think that's a big problem, I like the path of insulating while keeping breathability (if that's even a word :P) so moisture can escape while still trapping most of the heat/cool. they key is venting and moving air around, that's why i opted for 2 entrances/vents, one completely on top and one completely at the bottom, should be easy for the bees to evacuate the hot moist air.. but that is all to be tested still :P

    Insulation should help them overwinter because they wont need to create excessive heat to stay warm hence saving precious honey stores, and even in the summer a well insulated house keeps the hot outside and makes it easy to regulate tempurtures inside... I just went with the shavings because they were all over the garage when I was working the wood, why waste it plus I dont like the extruded foam made with all kinds of chemicals. those seal vapour inside which may lead to problems.

    also most people try to keep the cost down so insulation would only be an extra cost to a hive..

    Tommy

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Quote Originally Posted by cryptobrian View Post
    it's beautiful! Looks like some really nice craftsmanship!
    Thank you Brian I appreciate the comment, it's been a long and enjoyable process..

    Tommy

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ogborn View Post
    After you have bees in it for a while, can you update us on how you get the
    glass panels open after the bees propolize them down. I don't see anything good to pry against to get them open.
    Something to look ahead for.
    This is exactly why I came to this forum, Soo much knowledge and experience. I'm trying to brainstorm ideas of how I could get around it if they stick the bars to the tops.
    -one I could open the next top and kinda work from there to unglue or hold down the bars whie I pry the top off but that would be very inconvenient.
    -maybe a flashing on the tops that would make it harder for the bees to properly stick them together making easyer to simply pull the tops off..
    -maybe move the tops sidways first to tear the seal they made could also work..

    what do you guys think?

    Here is a picture of the tops sitting on the "guide" and the bars siting against it...

    Vita Hive 3D 4.jpg

    Tommy

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    St.Francis County, MO USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    Quote Originally Posted by Terra Vita View Post
    Actually in my opinnion insulation would not be a problem,
    Ok i see the point you are making, but with top/bottom screened, insulation should not really matter since hot air is moving out the top and cold air in the bottom. With lang hives, they wrap them i read to winterize them because they don't actually have a problem with cold air coming in bottom since sitting near ground its the cold wind they worry about(depending on situation) but with top bar hive always elevated its more prominent.

    Don't get me wrong, its a awesome build! I'm jealous I'm just thinking out loud when i look at the pictures is all, and how lots of hives i see looks like they are to "open" designs. I don't think the bees actually benefit from insulation on the side and open bottom.
    Last edited by Barry; 03-05-2012 at 07:09 AM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Verner, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: NEW Top Bar Hive (Vita Hive)

    While browsing around if found this interesting fact.
    Ill quote from the Warre Store, The idea of "insulated blanket/Quilt filled with sawdust" isnt new it's meant to mimic a natural occurence in a tree.

    " Speaking of moisture, let's examine the Warré hive's unique quilt and roof combination. While Langstroth hives are highly dependent on ventilation to prevent excess moisture build-up and condensation, the Warré uses a sawdust filled quilt, which allows for very slow air movement through the hive while temporarily absorbing moisture and then dispersing it to the outside through the roof assembly. The whole idea behind the quilt is that it mimics the top of a tree cavity; soft, decomposing wood that allows moisture to easily leave the hive without condensing into droplets "

    either way I can't wait to see if it will cause problems, if it does i might need to simply build them out of wood with maybe smaller glass observation windows in them.

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