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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    183

    Default Got a Mess in the Hive

    Not too excited about the top bar hive. These girls don't have a sense of direction. I tried to straighten it out, lost two frames of honey and stopped there. The comb is way too soft to manage and it's too heavy to move around without breaking off. Since they won't straighten out, is it feasible to just let them build as they wish and harvest the hive as a unit ?

    I caught the bees in a trash can type swarm trap. The lid had ribs about a 1/2 inch wide and the bees had built the comb straight on these ribs, top to bottom. Must be my fault they screwed this up so badly. Last time I opened it up there was a large chunk of comb laying in the bottom of the hive. Ready to chunk the whole thing in the land fill. Well all but the bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Treat it like a cut out. Rubber band the comb into some frames and put them into a Lang.

    I empathize with your predicament.

    I'm trying something different to deal with the issue. I've screwed some top bars under the top bar from a medium frame to start the bars off straight in a lang. I'll transfer to the top bar hive as they get built up.

    Otherwise, I'm tossing the top bar hive, but saving as much comb as possible. Topbar hives are alot more work than a lang. But, you do get plenty of experience dealing with comb issues as well as a greater appreciation for the Langstroth hive.

    This will be my third attempt. 1st year. it was a hard winter and water got in. 2nd year, the mice got in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    I generally had ok comb except for 3 places where they wanted to curve one end onto the adjacent bar, even though the first several combs in the hive were perfect. After timid attempts to cut it or bend it back, I finally decided they had gotten used to a particular shape in that spot and would be more persistent than me. I marked those 3 bar pairs, let them build the comb into a solid double unit, and moved the pairs together when inspecting. They became very solid, propolized at the bars and connected in several places in the comb. I tried to place straight bars next to them to keep things lined up overall, which either worked or I got lucky. I couldn't get them perfectly centered, either-- once they started building fat off-center comb, trying to adjust comb with spacers and special width bars just didn't get me anywhere. My colder climate (MA) may have reduced comb failure from heat, but I had amazing moisture and mold in the hive, possibly due to a partly-shady location.

    They are very interesting hives to play with, but from my one hive-year experience and reading lots of others, they are somewhat unstable in the sense that there is a lot of variation in behavior and outcome from small differences in environment, design and handling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    There is a reason why the overwhelming number of beekeepers use the traditional Langstroth hive. Get a real hive and focus on taking good care of the bees. Bees dont need a new kind of hive, just good care.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Actually, I really liked mine in some ways. I learned a lot about bee behavior from it that I wouldn't have from Langstroths. If you want to produce honey I wouldn't bother, but if you're interested in bees it's well worth doing to see them in a different situation. Any hobby has subspecialties where more experienced people do more difficult, less rote techniques; I'd personally put TBHs in that category.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Buford, GA, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Any hobby has subspecialties where more experienced people do more difficult, less rote techniques; I'd personally put TBHs in that category.
    I am new and have started with a THB. So far so good with no issues, but I know that could change at any time. For now I am getting exactly what I wanted from it. I wonder if the more experienced people who have langs find the TBH to be difficult just from an expectation perspective.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by b haley View Post
    I am new and have started with a THB. So far so good with no issues, but I know that could change at any time. For now I am getting exactly what I wanted from it. I wonder if the more experienced people who have langs find the TBH to be difficult just from an expectation perspective.
    It's like the differances of transmissions for cars and trucks. The people that are used to driving with an automatic transmission
    hate standard transmissions, or the other way around. Both transmissions work for what they're designed to do.
    Getting used to driving one or the other, or switching between the two is where people start having problems with them.
    Now apply this to the differances in a TBH or Lang hive. Right now I'm having trouble learning about my Lang hive.
    I keep trying to inspect it like a TBH. I can't figure out how to get the frames back in without squishing bees.
    I'm ready to cut out my Lang box and hang them in a TBH.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Redlands, Ca
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Well said.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    I think I'll empty it out into a Lang and take it up in the Mountains and use it for a swarm trap. I would like to see if there are any feral bees left in the North Georgia Mountains where I grew up. I remember them being very dark colored and mean when watching my folks cut them out of trees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    I would build at least one frame (or more) and cut some combs and tie them in the frame. One good straight comb (which the frame will provide) leads to another.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Canyon,TX,USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    We captured a wild hive recently and attached some of their comb to the frames with rubber bands. I ran out half way thru and used green floral wire to tie the rest. The rubber bands are beginning to break and fall apart. The wire is working great! Just in case you decide to move your comb over

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Weweantic, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by adam@azapiaries View Post
    There is a reason why the overwhelming number of beekeepers use the traditional Langstroth hive. Get a real hive and focus on taking good care of the bees. Bees dont need a new kind of hive, just good care.
    Curious as to what you mean by a "real hive?" and in case I am missing something, how is a top bar hive a "new kind of hive?"

    Cheers

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Denison, Tx
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ogborn View Post
    Right now I'm having trouble learning about my Lang hive.
    I keep trying to inspect it like a TBH. I can't figure out how to get the frames back in without squishing bees.
    I'm ready to cut out my Lang box and hang them in a TBH.
    Steven, don't quit your lang, keep it as a learning experiment like I am doing with the TBH. I agree you do squish more bees with a lang. But I smothered some bees this weekend in the TBH by trying to correct some errant comb and a large piece of comb I was cutting out dropped to the bottom of the hive with bees on it. I'm enjoying both types of hives.
    Of course the bees may not be enjoying my intrusions.
    Last edited by jim314; 05-21-2012 at 09:02 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    OK, Jim. I'm not gonna get rid of it. I was just joking. I'm only gonna get more. Just gotta get my learning curve to curve.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by CreekHouse Honey View Post
    We captured a wild hive recently and attached some of their comb to the frames with rubber bands. I ran out half way thru and used green floral wire to tie the rest. The rubber bands are beginning to break and fall apart. The wire is working great! Just in case you decide to move your comb over
    Hi, I have the cross comb problem with my tbh. I have seen several references to rubber bands and reattaching, but no really clear directions. Do you know of any links for this? Most of the cross comb has brood and is in the "brood section of the hive so I planned on leaving it alone and focus on straightening the honey making portion of the hive.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hyattsville, MD
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Bmac1985, try using hair clips to repair your crossed comb. You have to work carefully, especially with new comb, but it worked for me. You just 1) cut the crossed comb off of the top bar, 2) loosely attach the clip to the top bar with twist-ties or plastic zip ties, then 3) use the clip to grab on to the comb and tighten up the twist/zip ties until the comb is flush with the bottom of the top bar and centered as well. Jump to 6:45 in the video below to see it done.

    Matt M.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myBsToAMnNk&list

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-o06n-E2KgI...Hair_Clips.jpg

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by CreekHouse Honey View Post
    We captured a wild hive recently and attached some of their comb to the frames with rubber bands. I ran out half way thru and used green floral wire to tie the rest. The rubber bands are beginning to break and fall apart. The wire is working great! Just in case you decide to move your comb over
    Hi, I have the cross comb problem with my tbh. I have seen several references to rubber bands and reattaching, but no really clear directions. Do you know of any links for this? Most of the cross comb has brood and is in the "brood section of the hive so I planned on leaving it alone and focus on straightening the honey making portion of the hive.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Matt, thanks!
    Are you the guy who did the "Out of the blue sky" clips on YouTube? I learned a lot from those. Thanks again.
    Mac

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    Even with frames there are a lot of different techniques. Without frames you have to adjust them even more because of differences in the strength of the wax (new wax is very soft) the weight of the comb (honey comb is much heavier than brood) and other factors. Many of the methods you do find (hair clip etc.) will not work except with old brood comb. So it's hard to come up with "the one" method. I would build a frame and use rubber bands around the frame to hold the comb in, or build "swarm ketching frames" (see the plans section on beesource) and use those. Everything else is pretty iffy or just too difficult to do. It's hard enough to hold a comb in a frame while you rubber band it. It's even harder to try to hold a soft comb and build some kind of sling around it to keep it from falling. In the end it will take a bit of practice and trial and error to get the hang of it, especially without some kind of frame.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Butte, Montana
    Posts
    58

    Lightbulb Re: Got a Mess in the Hive

    As a new bee keeper, so take it for what it is, from what I am reading, I think allot of the problem arises from not paying close attention to a new install on the TBH. 1 3/8ths bars are great for brood but too small for homey comb. Without a window this is a challenge I am taking seriously. I noticed, my bees doing perfect until about bar 10 and then I noticed the comb going off to the rear of the hive just a smidge, so this is where I installed my 1/4" spacers to widen the bars, I may still have to perform a correction, but I am hoping it will now self correct. I do have nice 1/2" ribs running down the bars. if they do not self center, I will need to remove the slightly off center move it back and put in fresh bars where they were located and try and get the bees to do the work or put in extra spacers to try and get the symmetry back in the hive, the latter is likely what i will do as I want to take a learn from the bees approach.

    Maybe, if you play with using spacers you can get them back on center?

    I don't know but I find this fascinating.

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