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  1. #1

    Default hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Hi all and thank you for being patient with me.
    I never kept bees before and my first colony is arriving this Wednesday.

    I have build a hTBH by using Phill Chandler's plans but did change some parts to my own likeing, like the high periscope entrance which are placed on the ends and not sides + observation window. This hive is part of my Self-sufficinecy Studies which Im part of until October this year. I wish this project to show to people and students that it is possible keepeing bees in such hives (most people are sceptic when they see it).
    Photo of this educational hive (notice the entracne holes are in the appriox middle);
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....-finished.html
    Zoom on the entrance from outside;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....-bar-hive.html

    I am reading alot about hive atmosphere and how important it is to contain it by not opening the hive often.
    I also read about Olofsson project;
    Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are well recognized beneficial host-associated members of the microbiota of humans and animals. Yet LAB-associations of invertebrates have been poorly characterized and their functions remain obscure. Here we show that honeybees possess an abundant, diverse and ancient LAB microbiota in their honey crop with beneficial effects for bee health, defending them against microbial threats. Our studies of LAB in all extant honeybee species plus related apid bees reveal one of the largest collections of novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium ever discovered within a single insect and suggest a long (>80 mya) history of association. Bee associated microbiotas highlight Lactobacillus kunkeei as the dominant LAB member. Those showing potent antimicrobial properties are acquired by callow honey bee workers from nestmates and maintained within the crop in biofilms, though beekeeping management practices can negatively impact this microbiota. Prophylactic practices that enhance LAB, or supplementary feeding of LAB, may serve in integrated approaches to sustainable pollinator service provision. We anticipate this microbiota will become central to studies on honeybee health, including colony collapse disorder, and act as an exemplar case of insect-microbe symbiosis.
    http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o....postid=2431682

    We evaluated the antagonistic effects of newly identified lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, originating from the honey stomach, on the honey bee pathogen, Paenibacillus larvae. We used inhibition assays on agar plates and honey bee larval bioassays to investigate the effects of honey bee LAB on P. larvae growth in vitro and on AFB infection in vivo. The individual LAB phylotypes showed different inhibition properties against P. larvae growth on agar plates, whereas a combination of all eleven LAB phylotypes resulted in a total inhibition (no visible growth) of P. larvae. Adding the LAB mixture to the larval food significantly reduced the number of AFB infected larvae in exposure bioassays. The results demonstrate that honey bee specific LAB possess beneficial properties for honey bee health. Possible benefits to honey bee health by enhancing growth of LAB or by applying LAB to honey bee colonies should be further investigated.
    http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o....postid=1535532

    If Im understanding properly the acid fumes from the honey production is heavier than air and will sink to the bottom. The fumes will exit the hive through the low entrance I assume. This is where high entrance is playing important role. BUT, in winter the warm air will readily escape from the hive throuhg the hive entrance, no?

    Side note; In this case I see the solution in Buddha's teaching; The Middle Way; hive entrance in the middle would that entrance satisfy all the preferable hive atmosphere properties.

    I was thinking to fill the bottom of the hive with (Birch) wood shavings to help in regulating humidity. There is a metal mesh separating bees from the floor so bees will have no chance sealing the cracks between the floor and walls. Some if not all of the acid fumes will leak out.

    My second hive will not house bees this year. This hive is based on Bushfarm's TBH (I know he doesnt prefer drilling holes) with a high entrance. The entrance is exactly under the top bars. The floor is sealed and there is no mesh floor in it. I will let the bees seal any small cracks between the floor and side walls with propolis.
    Photo of my second hive;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....-entrance.html

    Im all theory at the moment and am in need for a mentor to guide me a bit. All beekeepers around my area are into conventional beekeeping with frames and wax fondations and are focused on honey production and treating with Oxalic Acids for Varroa. If I talk hTBH they say "you will not have enough honey" and "Varroa will kill the colony if not threated". I do understand their atitude shaped by the diabolic of ignorance and greed. We all are under this "diabolic" influence more or less so Im not agitated with their replies but I do feel a need to get answers from beekeepers who look at the nature in a holistic manner (more or less).

    Im sorry for writing so much and thank you for reading it and even more so if you reply to it

    May you an your bees be happy at heart

  2. #2
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    We get -33 C here (-27 F) and my bees in the horizontal top bar hives do fine. I don't know how cold it gets there. But Dennis Murrel has them where it gets -40 C (-40 F) and they have done well. The main argument seems to be the fallacy that bees cannot move horizontally. Yet horizontal hives are the traditional hives in all of Scandinavia and Russia.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Thanks for replying.

    You mention on your site that it id ok to have mesh floors but not to leave the floors too open.

    Question;
    In your opinion do closed floors with high entrance benefit bees in northern climates?
    Question;
    New research (Olofsson) shows that bees produce Lactic Acids during honey production. Varroa does not prefer these. These fumes are heavier than air and sink to the bottom of hive. Closed floor (sealed by propolis) and high entrance will help contain the fumes, dont you think. Do you keep you tbh floors closed all year arround?

    Thank you for answering

  4. #4
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    Question;
    New research (Olofsson) shows that bees produce Lactic Acids during honey production. Varroa does not prefer these. These fumes are heavier than air and sink to the bottom of hive. Closed floor (sealed by propolis) and high entrance will help contain the fumes, dont you think.
    This is interesting, but it seems to me that if these fumes are only produced during honey production, that the outside temperature would be high enough for the bees to have to fan to regulate the temperature and humidity inside. That would pretty much minimize or negate any positive effects those fumes would have. It could also be that (given a hive with closed bottom and upper entrance) the bees would "know" that they needed those fumes, and intentionally cease fanning (at times) to allow them to work.

    Good luck with your studies, Beev
    Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is watching.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    >You mention on your site that it id ok to have mesh floors but not to leave the floors too open.

    It's a matter of amount or degree. They need to have some control or they can't cool the hive.

    >In your opinion do closed floors with high entrance benefit bees in northern climates?

    That's what I have and they do well.

    >New research (Olofsson) shows that bees produce Lactic Acids during honey production. Varroa does not prefer these. These fumes are heavier than air and sink to the bottom of hive. Closed floor (sealed by propolis) and high entrance will help contain the fumes, dont you think. Do you keep you tbh floors closed all year arround?

    Yes. I do. I would doubt, however, that lactic acid from the bees would be concentrated enough to have any detrimental effect on the mites. At high enough levels I would expect it to have the same effect as other organic acids but I doubt it would get high enough naturally.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Mike, do you have any write ups on that -40f stuff? We get months of it at a time. I'm hoping I can overwinter mine if possible. How can I prepare my bees/hives for the long stretchs of cold and will they move at all in those prolonged temps?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Dennis Murrel would be the person to talk to about -40 F and top bar hives. I had hives in Laramie and we would get that for a week at a time, but not months at a time and I did not have any top bar hives at the time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Thanks! I'll keep my eyes peeled for him on here. I think after the way this spring is shaping up my next hive is going to be double walled with insulation inbetween and on the outside......

  9. #9
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Would that nice layer of wood shavings on the floor give small hive beetles and wax moths and perfect place to hide? WVMJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    I was thinking to fill the bottom of the hive with (Birch) wood shavings to help in regulating humidity. There is a metal mesh separating bees from the floor so bees will have no chance sealing the cracks between the floor and walls. Some if not all of the acid fumes will leak out.
    May you an your bees be happy at heart
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  10. #10

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Swedish researcher Tobias Olofsson at the University of Lund describes his work on lactic acid bacteria. On the subject of hive atmosphere he writes;
    Lactic acid bacteria form organic acids such as lactic, acetic and formic acid. These are acids used by beekeepers to combat mites and nosema. Lactic acid bacteria are numerous and resemble small factories in the hive where they prosper in the honey stomach, bee bread, bee pollen and honey. Perhaps they produce an arsenal of substances dispersed in the hive's atmosphere? Perhaps the atmosphere in the hive is important to preserve and this would be a reason to disturb the bees as little as possible. Samples from the lab shows that the bacteria produces large amounts of organic acids that seep into the atmosphere. In modern beehives there are bottom screens and entrances at the bottom; how does this affect a potential atmosphere that might prevent disease? The answer is quite logical, but I put the question to Martin Ferm at the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) in Gothenburg. The organic acids accumulates in a fairly closed room but with a bottom screen with the full thrust of the wind at the bottom and with entrances at the bottom that aired these acids out according to Martin.
    Wild bees prefer a hollow tree with only a small gap as opening and they are very careful to seal every crack or hole. We will be investigating this properly: what is the atmosphere like inside a hive if it can be left alone and what does such an atmosphere do to mites? Our pilot study that was conducted in the summer of 2009, in a hive during a typical summer day and while winter fodder was given, was just the beginning. Formic acid and acetic acid were found in the hive atmosphere in the visible amount during a typical summer day and in even larger amounts when the fodder was given.
    The Board of Agriculture allocated funds for one-fifth of this project, which means we'll be managing the project on a reduced scale and without pay, but we were thrilled because they dared to bet on such an odd project.
    The bees will more or less look after themselves and winter on their own honey. Half of the hives (all of foams) have bottom screen and bottom entrances and the other half have a protected passage in the attic and a completely closed bottom. After 6 weeks, all hives appear to thrive equally well. Data will be collected for a year and will be compared with bacterial organic acids measured with the same equipment in the lab.
    After re-reading what Mr. Olofsson wrote I have closed the TBH floor today even if it is hot outside. The Hive is in the shade surrounded by a few tall Birch trees shading it well but not throughout the whole day. There is still a gap present beween the mesh and the actual floor. Im not sure if this can bee sealed by the bees with propolis ... not sure ... it might happen.

    I regret that I fixed the periscope entrance from within the hive so now I have no chance to take it off. I would like this hive to have a high entrance instead. It is the way it is and if I notice bees being stressed I will drill some high holes in the periscope.

    I wonder how can Bees ventilate the hive through the periscope entrance? First up than down the periscope entrance ... hm ...

    Anyone has an opinion?

    The hive in question is this one;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....ing-great.html

    Thank you

  11. #11
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    Thumbs Up Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Quote Originally Posted by AkDan View Post
    Mike, do you have any write ups on that -40f stuff? We get months of it at a time. I'm hoping I can overwinter mine if possible. How can I prepare my bees/hives for the long stretchs of cold and will they move at all in those prolonged temps?
    FWIW, I lived in Eagle River, AK and overwintered a hive there in the 1980's -no beekeepers had done it before then in that area. The lead researcher at the USDA bee lab at Laramie, Wyoming taught me (during many hours of personal mentoring at the lab) that the two most important things for success over winter are plenty of honey available as the bees move upward in the hive, and air circulation to transport moisture OUT of the hive. They keep a tight cluster and cleansing flights are an issue too. Too much moisture will kill the bees.

  12. #12
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    Thumbs Up Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    Hi all and thank you for being patient with me.
    I never kept bees before and my first colony is arriving this Wednesday.....snip
    ]

    You are wise to seek council about your bees

    As you are in the anticipatory phase of beekeeping, I know its easy to read and dream about a 'perfect' hive of bees in your yard. We all start that way. But, I can almost guarantee you that your first hive is not going to be perfect. If you will allow me to say some obvious things here, I would say that certain practices and hive theories have evolved over many years (mostly) for good reasons. If you were sitting here in Texas over a cup of hot chocolate, I would encourage you to stick with traditional methods as close as possible for your first hive and then try different hive design changes as you grow in experience. I note your preference for holistic ways; I hope you get some mite and beetle resistant bees.

    You can learn how to handle bees from those 'greedy' guys down the road, make friends with them if you can, they have knowledge that is useful to you in your first years of beekeeping. The fun is in the journey. Good luck!

    P.S. My great grandfather was from Sweeden and great grandmother from Norway....We're probably related
    Last edited by Lburou; 05-27-2012 at 05:56 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Thank you Lburou

    I know im getting too deep in my first week of beekeeping but that was always my way in everything i did or do What is too much humidity? The bees in South-East Asia live with up to 95% humidity and survive. Aparently Varroa stop reproducing at 80% humidity.

    @Michael Bush;
    Concerning the closed floor-high entrance, do you experience mouldy and rotten floors and are your bees "bearding" on hot summer days (your hives arein a sunny spot)?

    Thank you

  14. #14
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    >Concerning the closed floor-high entrance, do you experience mouldy and rotten floors and are your bees "bearding" on hot summer days (your hives arein a sunny spot)?

    I don't recommend a Top Bar Hive in too sunny of a spot as comb collapse is a problem then. I don't have any issues with any of those. Bees beard on hot days with any hive. They clean bottoms when they have the labor to spare regardless of if the entrance is top or bottom.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    Thank you Lburou

    I know im getting too deep in my first week of beekeeping but that was always my way in everything i did or do What is too much humidity? The bees in South-East Asia live with up to 95% humidity and survive. Apparently Veroa stop reproducing at 80% humidity.

    Thank you
    Honey has moisture content. Usually around 18%. When the bees consume the honey while clustered in winter, they have to manage that moisture in the hive. I don't know that anybody 'knows' how much moisture (meaning, moisture enough to condense and rain down on the bees from the underside of the top cover) is too much. We left a 3/4 inch hole in the upper end of the hive (with a reduced bottom entrance, and with the hive on a stand above ground). That allowed free circulation of the air and the bees took care of the rest.

  16. #16

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Thank you for replying, much apreciated.

    This is from my blog entry today;

    I tried to lift the roof but it seemed stuck. Wood can expand indeed but not this much. So i pulled it up with a bit of force still monitoring not to pull the top bars with it.
    The end board above the entrance was pushed out by the top bars.
    The Top Bars expanded so much I was shocked!!! I already removed one top bar during the rainy season and replaced it with a thiner piece. Today i had to make it smaller for 1cm more. In total almost a whole 34mm top bar desapeared due to wood expansion (deffenetly 2 cm).

    When i opened the hive Iv noticed one of the follower boards being totally deformed, so i decided to remove it totally, both of them. Im liking those followers less and am thinking to remove them from my other (empty) hive as well.

    Im also thinking to remove the mesh floor now that follower boards arent there and permanently close the floor. Let the bees seal any cracks in the gaps between the walls and the floor with propolis.

    Mesh Floors, Follower Boards, Periscope Entrances ... is all this needed realy?

    See the photos on my blog please;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....y-removed.html

    Thank you

  17. #17

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Top bar hives still expanding;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....expansion.html

    Thanks

  18. #18
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    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    I am enjoying your posts and following your progress. I started my own TBH just two weeks ago and I am learning a lot too. I also share much of your interests in sutainable living (lasagna gardening, wood heat, etc.). And I lived in Norway from 1985 to 1987. <<Så lærte jeg språket, og nå synes at Skandinavia har verdens beste folk!>>

    Keep up the good work and "lykke til!>>

  19. #19

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Hi Tracer and thanks for posting

    I noticed some cross-comb building and decided to fix it;
    http://chopwoodcarrywaterplantseeds....en-of-sun.html

    Side note;
    I just realised that Im using this thread as a journal for an educational hive which does have a closed floor but not a sealed one. There is still some gaps because of the mesh. I would very much like to remove the mesh and am waiting for a warm day to open the bottom and do it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: hTBH High Entrance & Sealed Floor (Sweden)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    ... Too much moisture will kill the bees.
    Not if the hive is build as a condenser hive, according to Ed.H. Clark ;
    http://www.totnesonline.com/beekeepi...g_EdClarke.pdf

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