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Thread: tbh swarmed

  1. #21
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    In my view MB's hive design is a bit small.
    Yes I'd go with that and Mike being pretty open guy I'm sure would not be opposed to people using bigger desgns if need be. I've been a little frustrated seeing my friends build very small TBH's, that I know are just going to be trouble. But hey, they got the design off the net so it must be correct, right! LOL

    In the bigger TBH's you are at least going to get some honey to harvest. But they will still be swarm prone I've seen TBH's swarm even when the whole thing is not full, they just didn't want to move so far away from the brood nest sideways.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #22
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Yes I'd go with that and Mike being pretty open guy I'm sure would not be opposed to people using bigger desgns if need be. I've been a little frustrated seeing my friends build very small TBH's, that I know are just going to be trouble. But hey, they got the design off the net so it must be correct, right! LOL

    In the bigger TBH's you are at least going to get some honey to harvest. But they will still be swarm prone I've seen TBH's swarm even when the whole thing is not full, they just didn't want to move so far away from the brood nest sideways.
    No doubt on any of the first paragraph. The problem with top bars (and all bee keeping in general) is there is a lot of anecdotal "evidence" that hasn't had scientific scrutiny. It is very had with bees to do scientific studies, since they don't do what we want them to do. We are all lemmings, just asking for directions to the nearest cliff.

    I still disagree about TBH being swarm prone in general. Small boxes yes, but if you put a swarm in a shallow they won't be staying long either. Put a swarm in a ten frame lang box with a super, leave it alone, and if they survive, they will more than likely swarm. I think some people get into top bars thinking they will put a hive in the garden and collect honey, but the instinct of the bees isn't to setup shop and never leave. If they get strong and they are not split they will swarm, just like a lang. My dad has gotten several swarms from a man that overwinters his bees in a single deep and in the spring they swarm like clockwork.

    I've seen a feral hive in a ceiling void that was 16 inches wide and about 6 inches deep. They want back a long ways, probably close to four feet in that void. The honey combs in the back were probably at least 2 inches thick. Did they swarm yearly? More than likely, since there was no intervention.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    I've given up on TBH's but this link https://www.box.com/shared/hkefz3qcic is to a the top bar hive I built. Much bigger than the standard bush model. I don't like the design because the bees seem to swarm relentlessly, they eat a huge quantity of honey in the winter and the combs were so large they tended to break off, but for whatever its worth ....

  4. #24
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Did you have any issues with the sides bowing being made from plywood? I like the idea of the escape on the follower board. Solves the problem with the bees behind the follower board.

    I just looked at your escape board for your Warre. What are the little red cones from?

  5. #25
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Shannon you disagree about TBH's being swarm prone, and cite the fallacies of "anecdotal evidence", after which you go on to try to prove your point, with anecdotal evidence. Which was something about one beehive in a roof somewhere, and your anecdotal belief that bees in a lang will swarm anyway.

    Of course bees in a lang will swarm if not given enough room plus other manipulations that langs make possible, for the same reason that any healthy TBH will swarm. But langs are expandable and with skill, swarming can be prevented.

    I am not just blowing off some anecdotal evidence. I started beekeeping full time aged 16, working for an outfit with 4,000 hives. We used good swarm control techniques, which I won't go into they are another thread, and hardly ever lost a swarm. That was more than 40 years ago. Although my work with thousands of hives for many years was not a scientific study, I think there were enough hive numbers to make my observations more than anecdotal.

    Certainly more than somebodies observation of one hive somewhere in a roof. What breed were they? What was the flow pattern? Do you know why they did whatever they did? No? then it's anecdotal evidence at it's best.

    Again I'm not saying all this to knock TBH's. To keep bees properly it's best to have understanding, not see it through a rosy colored view that came from a book, that did not portray the full picture. My friends TBH's do well, if I help them manage them. Cos when I see something happening like the bees thinking about swarming, and sort that, the owner is going to get his honey harvest. But to pretend TBH's don't swarm much, is to ignore reality, at your own cost.

    The thread was started by a guy who has a problem with his hive regularly swarming. He came here and asked about it. If he cannot get a full answer because of dogma, what's the point of having the forum?
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 10-01-2012 at 01:49 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #26
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    i wasn't trying to prove anything with anecdotal evidence, just pointing out that bees will build quite large hives in the roofs or between floors. Not that it is perfect, just that it happens. And these can grow large, and then they swarm, as there is no one to split them to prevent a swarm. And the same thing happens in Langs all the time. Odfrank talks about his mastery of swarm catching. He claims that it is mostly first year beeks. My guess is most of them run Langs.

    Not saying TBHs don't swarm. But so do every other hive. That is nature of the insect. You can manage to it, but if you don't they will fly. If you want to put something in your backyard that just gives you honey and never swarms, purchase a few cases of honey.

    I don't personally think I have a rosy view on TBHs. if you want honey, don't get a TBH, get Langs. If you want to be commercial, run Langs (yes, I know there are some commercial pollinators that run TBHs, but they are not running thousands of hives. ). You will have much more help in the way of people that also run them, you can "borrow" a frame of brood when necessary, you can purchase stuff for them from a store, etc, etc.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    i wasn't trying to prove anything with anecdotal evidence, just pointing out that bees will build quite large hives in the roofs or between floors.
    Based on your observation of one hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Not saying TBHs don't swarm.
    No you are'nt. But the inference they don't swarm more than other hive types, managed properly, is misleading.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #28
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    My point was not that the best hive or configuration was to have your hives in rafter space, just pointing out that it is possible to have a hive that isn't painted white and isn't the shape of a cube that could grow quite large, and it doesn't need you or me to manage. On the other hand, I'm quite sure that hive had been there a long time and it had probably at least a swarm a year, since no one was managing it.

    I'm not a Pollyanna, and I don't think TBHs, are going to save the bees, let alone the world.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Wow guys take it easy. It sounds like it could be a little small for my area as Tom suggest it always happens when we have a good flow they just back filled and left. This time i stayed on top of it adding bars to broods nest they built a lot of comb but did not back fill everything before they left. i still have the first swarm that left put her in a lang and they are doing great they have filled one super full of caped honey and almost filled another.I have no idea what kind of bees i have. I caught them in my swarm traps. It seams like I might try to make it a little bigger maybe add a eight frame lang to the front end and have the best of all worlds. It,s a shame i really like my top bar.Well thanks for all the help guys.
    Franky

  10. #30
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    You may want to PM Tomas. I haven't seen a post in a bit, but he may have good info on tropical TBHs. Hate to see you go the Frankenhive route, it is the worst of both worlds. You can't work the top bars easy because of the Lang on top, and you don't get the full advantage of a Lang.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Didn't have any trouble with the plywood. The roof keeps the sides nicely sheltered. Have two sitting unused that are both still in great shape. I love (loved) the design, strong simple joints, stable legs, relatively cheap. The end pieces are a little complicated but the trick is to mark a straight line down the middle and measure everything from that one line. But but but wasn't at all happy with them

    The cones can be purchased from Dadant (http://www.dadant.com/catalog/produc...roducts_id=481) I've seen folks make them from screen as well.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Thanks for the reply back. I have some of the screen escapes, I thought maybe you found some ad hoc device to do the trick. I'm rather cheap.

    Sorry to hear about you TBH problems. I'm surprised that you had collapsed comb, your depth doesn't seem extreme, and your bars are not that wide either. Was it in full sun?

  13. #33
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    In an effort to cause more uproar, have you considered the Warre's? Same top bar advantages (simplicity, clean wax, variable cell size, cheap, cheap and of course cheap), but with the ability to do some Lang type manipulations (adding boxes, splitting hives, etc.). I really like it and the bees don't seem to miss my supervision.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    It wasn't so much that the combs were too big. It was just that I didn't open up the hives often enough. Everything gets glued together pretty quick, then gets torn up when you're inspecting. The Warre's are better fit for me. I take honey in the fall and leave them alone for the rest of the year.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Gotcha. TBH's take more management and way more than Warre, that seem to require very little intervention. Did you use package bees for your Warre, a swarm or did you cut out from the TBH? I would like to have a Warre just to have one.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    is it bad if they do swarm? I'm not interested is producing sellable ammounts of honey or splitting and having a million hives I just think bees are cool and look forward to the benifits in my garden I live in a rural area and shouldn't have any problems with neighbors.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    In your case no, since you are not breeding pest, you are breeding feral colonies! I would recommend that if you are not going to manage for swarms that you place a swarm trap or two near your property during prime swarming season. While you may not be interested in the swarms, someone else may purchase them from you.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    In your case no, since you are not breeding pest, you are breeding feral colonies! I would recommend that if you are not going to manage for swarms that you place a swarm trap or two near your property during prime swarming season. While you may not be interested in the swarms, someone else may purchase them from you.
    I have thought about that, i'm not saying I'm not going to at least try, I just won't lose sleep over it There are at least 2 ferrell colonies on my 28 acres that I know of, and that is how I plan to get bees for at least 1 hive. How close to the hives should I put swarm traps out?

  19. #39
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    Mcartney Taylor has a PDF, swarm traps and bait hives. Google it and you can find it. It pretty much covers what you need to know, and you can read it in probably an hour or two. If you know were the hives are and they are easy to get at you could do a trap out and pull some bees off. You probably won't get the queen, but you could pull off a start and purchase a queen for under $30.

    You may want to check out the swarms, cutouts and trap out forums.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: tbh swarmed

    I have been lurking there. My plan is to buy a package for 1 hive and trap a swarm for the other. MIGHT decide to have one more just in case I do decide to split. For what it's worth. I'm pretty sure my ferrell colonies are swarms that took off from a fairly new beekeeper about a mile down the road they are big fat ( what appear to be Italian bees) and appear very docile.

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