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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Doylestown PA
    Posts
    13

    Default Opened Up Broodnest as Suggested by Michael Bush

    I have three top bar hives in my backyard in my small town with neighbors all around me. Six weeks ago , a hive swarmed in a tree 25 feet away. Not knowing the signs of a soon to swarm hive, I lucked out that no neighbors knew.
    That hive was placed into my only available spare TB hive. I'd built this one from the Peace Corp plans. It is a great deal smaller than my Les Crowder hives I enjoy. My queen filled this mini hive to the gills and now I am keenly attuned to swarming activity.
    To prevent them from swarming, I followed Michael Bush's method on swarm prevention. My options were limited due to such a small hive size and the difficulties when you use different sized hives and bars. Since the bars in the Peace Corp box were about 12", I screwed my 20" bars onto them. Then I took some brood combs out, removed the bees from them. I placed the brood comb into my weakest hive. Of the 18 bars in the Peace Corp hive I removed about 6-8 brood combs.
    Then as Michael suggests, I added empty bars into the Peace Corp hive. The pattern was BBEBBEBBE. B=brood and E= empty bar.
    As a precaution, I removed the beginnings of some swarm cells.
    My hope is that the bees will turn their attention to building new comb on the empty bars and away from swarming. It also slowed down the population growth by moving brood elsewhere. This bought me some time too to build another Les Crowder hive.
    The lessons learned by is to have spare equipment, all of the same design available and know your swarming signals. It makes beekeeping a lot less stressful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,806

    Default Re: Opened Up Broodnest as Suggested by Michael Bush

    This is one of the reasons I haev sen mentioned to not start with a tip bar. There is also a list of reason to start with one. But they are not expandable like a Lang so you have to have the ability to manage the bees within the defined space. It is also one of the big reason I chose to start with a lang. You compounded the problem when you made top bars dissimilar. I also get the impression that swarming is something top bar beekeepers just have to come to grips with. For a lang owner it can be as simple as add another box. to a top bar owner it probably means another hive altogether. then you have two that will do it to you again. Get good at selling hives.
    I am not against top bars. I have one it just does not have bees yet. I changed my mind and started with a lang for management purposes. I will probably end up with two langs before I ever add bees to the top bar. By then I hope to understand a lot more about the bees and how they function. I also have a place to move bees to that does not mean a completely new hive. If I decide the top bar is not for me I have already had people asking if I can make them one. I will just sell it.
    I am also starting to see the plus minus of a lang. I just added my second body and now the queen and her nest are way down their out of sight. I don't like that. I am flying by instruments now and I am a visual type of person. I want to see my bees and interpret what they are saying to me. So far they are saying they do not appreciate the added box much. It is growing on them though. How the nest is responding to it. as far as I can tell they are trying to seal the nest off from it. Not exactly the response I was looking for. The lang has some serious shortcomings and building up is one of them. It may be the best thing going but as far as I can tell it is far from good. But then it is a bit like driving around in a model T still claiming it is the best their is. sure it is if nobody ever bothered making anything better.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Doylestown PA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Opened Up Broodnest as Suggested by Michael Bush

    I bee keep in both langs and TB. In both, you can expand the Broodnest. Langs work vertically and TB horizontal.
    One error that I made was using different size hives. That is my fault and not to be blamed on TB methodology. While both methods work and have their pluses and minuses, I'm adding on more TB than langs. much of this is due to cost. I've built some nice looking TB hives for under $20.
    Swarming is preventable in both hive styles. Adding a Lang deep may help stop swarming but manipulation of the frames is key. In TB hives I think adding an empty bar is easier because you don't have to worry about having foundationless frames around. When ever I need them, I always seem to have ones with foundation in them and vice versa when I need them with foundation.
    My biggest troubles, have been that the TB world has few reading manuals on them. 150 years of langs being around has helped to create a well evolved method.
    I've preordered Les Crowder's book that hits Amazon on September 2012. I can't wait to learn more from this bee keeping master.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Opened Up Broodnest as Suggested by Michael Bush

    I have seen TBHs that were built to allow the stacking of lang style honey supers on top. The bee simply leaves a couple of the bars out for the bees to access the lang supers. Best of two worlds combined?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Opened Up Broodnest as Suggested by Michael Bush

    Bees can swarm out of anything. Unfortunately, you can even add a nice big super onto a Lang and ... to borrow the campy old country tune ... "phhlpht!! they were gone!" (anyway).

    In the most carefully "managed" situation, bees will nevertheless always surprise you. Use the kind of hive that you like best and find to be the easiest for you to work with.

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