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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Hi everyone,

    I've just been informed that my TBH is too short! It is a Golden Mean Hive design from backayardhive.com. It's only 3 feet and I've just been told they need to be 4 feet to prevent over-crowding.

    Has anyone else out there used a 3 foot hive (or one with about 18 bars)?

    What has your experience been like? How often do you experience swarms? What's your honey production like? Do they get very hot very easily?

    Thanks,
    Kathie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    One thing you have to consider is the volume of the hive. I think those Golden Mean Hives have large combs from what I can recall. If that's the case, you may be ok with a 3ft hive. The biggest thing I worry about with 3ft hives is swarming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
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    152

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bush_84 View Post
    One thing you have to consider is the volume of the hive. I think those Golden Mean Hives have large combs from what I can recall. If that's the case, you may be ok with a 3ft hive. The biggest thing I worry about with 3ft hives is swarming.
    you are 110% right , is like comparing a deep super to a med they both are the same size in length and width but a diff in how deep 9 inch for a super deep to 6 inch for a med, that alone make a huge diff,so making a top bar with more volume is like adding more length to the hive

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    192

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    I have never used 3 foot hives. Mine are 42 inches long. You should have about 24 bars in yours. You will have more swarm problems in a shorter hive because they fill it up faster, requiring more and closer management. In six weeks one of my colonies has built 22 bars of comb. Another hive built 18 bars in 6 weeks with 8 full bars of honey. I don't think there is anything magic about 4 feet. It is a little less convenient to build a 4 foot hive because of lumber sizes. I can get 4 covers from a single sheet of plywood for a 42 inch hive, but that would not be possible with a 4 foot hive. A 4 foot hive would be harder for me to transport too. When you get up to 4 feet long and bigger, the queen pheromone apparently gets really weak at the far end of the hive, which apparently can cause problems. I have read that 5 feet is too long and they bees won't do well in it. As for overcrowding, I want a crowded hive. Up to 4 feet or so it probably doesn't matter how big the hive is, the bees will probably fill the available space and become as crowded as they like. You just need to manage the size by opening the brood nest and taking out bars of honey if it gets too full. You want to be sure there is lots of open space in the brood nest at all times. A bigger hive will probably produce more honey if they fill it up. I'm not sure what you mean by hot. If you mean temperature, they seem to manage that pretty well in my hives with adequate ventilation. If you mean temperament, I don't think the size of the hive has much impact on that.

    Ted

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Thanks Ted.

    By hot, I mean temperature. I'm thinking about adding posts to the corners to raise the roof and adding screening to to bottom. Can you visualize that? It would lift the roof by about an inch or two and the space between would be hardwire cloth. Do you think that might work well?

    By "You just need to manage the size by opening the brood nest and taking out bars of honey if it gets too full. You want to be sure there is lots of open space in the brood nest at all times." Could you please talk a little about this? How do I "open the brood nest"? How do I determine when I should remove honey? Where and how could I supply the open space in the brood nest?

    Thanks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    It's cool folks, I got this

    I am currently in the process of constructing a 4' hive because my 3' has been outgrown. I posted about it a week or so ago, asking how to do a successful transfer once I have it built. Now as Bush_84 stated, the volume is what really matters. I somewhat double screwed myself with the 3' TBH. What I did extra was cut the hive down in height, so instead of an 11" ceiling, I took it down to about 9". I did this out of fear that the combs would get too heavy and collapse when it gets up to 110 degrees this summer. Doesn't matter, I had one collapse the other day anyway, after doing a general hive inspection.

    Anyway, I'd recommend the 4' hive with the movable back wall. I used the leader board like this to keep my girls cozy when I first installed them. Each week, I open the hive and move the leader board back a few spaces, adding bars into the brood nest as I went. That is what was meant by "opening up the brood nest". The new bars are pulled with comb rapidly, and just as quickly as the comb is built, the queen has laid it.

    As it stands, I have moved the leader board as far as I can, actually removed it altogether. Looking the hive last night, I observed comb being built on the second to last bar, and it has capped brood on it. So it seems that I have a 3' brood nest, with no bars of pure honeycomb to speak of. I'm hoping that when I transfer then to the 4' hive, the extra space will finally allow them to start storing up honey. If they fill that one with brood too, I guess I'll have to try my hand at a 5' hive (mentioned above as not a good idea) or find a way to add a super on top of the hive.

    For future reference, I do not recommend a 3' TBH. I will always build 4' minimum, or 42" as another suggested, and just use the leader board as a false back wall. This way you can, in effect, have as small of a hive as you want, but should always have room to grow.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  7. #7

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Granted I have not officially harvested any honey yet, only incidental honey when fixing comb issues. I think as long as you are comfortable that the bees have enough to hold them over, you can harvest whenever you want. Just make sure in the fall to leave them with enough to last over the winter. And if you take too much still, you'll just have to feed them. Seems silly to harvest too much honey, sell it, and then find yourself buying sugar and pollen patties to make up for it. I guess you can always feed back honey if you have it. I've got a list of people just waiting and salivating for some honey. I gave a sample to my neighbors the other day, and when I later asked how they liked it, the response was something like "ooohhh my Godddd..." as his eyes rolled back in his head and he drifted momentarily to heaven. Given that response, I'm thinking I may just be the sweetest person on my street. Ok, so the pun was lame, who cares.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Brueggen View Post
    It's cool folks, I got this

    I am currently in the process of constructing a 4' hive because my 3' has been outgrown. I posted about it a week or so ago, asking how to do a successful transfer once I have it built. Now as Bush_84 stated, the volume is what really matters. I somewhat double screwed myself with the 3' TBH. What I did extra was cut the hive down in height, so instead of an 11" ceiling, I took it down to about 9". I did this out of fear that the combs would get too heavy and collapse when it gets up to 110 degrees this summer. Doesn't matter, I had one collapse the other day anyway, after doing a general hive inspection.

    Anyway, I'd recommend the 4' hive with the movable back wall. I used the leader board like this to keep my girls cozy when I first installed them. Each week, I open the hive and move the leader board back a few spaces, adding bars into the brood nest as I went. That is what was meant by "opening up the brood nest". The new bars are pulled with comb rapidly, and just as quickly as the comb is built, the queen has laid it.

    As it stands, I have moved the leader board as far as I can, actually removed it altogether. Looking the hive last night, I observed comb being built on the second to last bar, and it has capped brood on it. So it seems that I have a 3' brood nest, with no bars of pure honeycomb to speak of. I'm hoping that when I transfer then to the 4' hive, the extra space will finally allow them to start storing up honey. If they fill that one with brood too, I guess I'll have to try my hand at a 5' hive (mentioned above as not a good idea) or find a way to add a super on top of the hive.

    For future reference, I do not recommend a 3' TBH. I will always build 4' minimum, or 42" as another suggested, and just use the leader board as a false back wall. This way you can, in effect, have as small of a hive as you want, but should always have room to grow.
    is this what you talking about? http://s155.photobucket.com/albums/s...rHiveSuper.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAFAEL/PR View Post
    Is that super a Lang super?? Is it just placed on top with one of the top bars removed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    "...it seems that I have a 3' brood nest, with no bars of pure honeycomb to speak of. I'm hoping that when I transfer then to the 4' hive, the extra space will finally allow them to start storing up honey...."

    As others have noted, a 5 ft hive may not get you that much of an advantage. I'm not convinced that it is practical to store a lot of "pure" honey comb in a TBH. You might just want to stick with the 4 ft hive and plan to harvest a bar or two of honey frequently during nectar flows. At the moment, my goal is to keep some empty space in the hive during nectar flows and brood nest expansion, and that can be done by opening up the brood nest in early summer (see taydeko's post) and harvesting honey often during nectar flows as the hive reaches near capacity.

    Based on my experience, even during a good nectar flow, there may not ever be a lot of "pure" honey comb to harvest. The best chance of this is to harvest often -- every week or so -- to get the honey out of the hive before the queen lays much in that comb. The goal I have this year is to remove bars of honey just as soon as the comb is mostly capped, always leaving at least 2 or 3 bars that are empty or are being built out.

    As you have seen already, the brood nest is likely to expand a LOT in early to mid summer. If my experience last year is typical for my area, brood cells will cover a large amount of each comb and will also fill many combs in the hive. Last year, I eventually ended up removing all follower boards by midsummer because the colony was so big.

    As summer goes on into early fall, however, I noted that the brood nest gradually contracted and dramatically changed shape. Toward the end of summer, the brood nest ended up as a thin ribbon along the bottom edges of many of the combs. By fall, my bees had a lot of pollen and honey laid away on the combs they had previously used mostly for brood earlier in the summer. There were only a few bars of honey comb at the back end of the hive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    I'm thinking about adding posts to the corners to raise the roof and adding screening to to bottom. Can you visualize that? It would lift the roof by about an inch or two and the space between would be hardwire cloth. Do you think that might work well?
    I have raised roofs on two of my hives. The tops have frames and the frames sit on parts of the hive body. There is no screen. I like having the space because it potentially allows better ventilation, space for feeding if necessary, and provides a still air space for insulation. My tops have an inch of foam insulation in them above the air space. I am not sure why you would need the screen.

    Quote Originally Posted by KatGold View Post
    How do I "open the brood nest"? How do I determine when I should remove honey? Where and how could I supply the open space in the brood nest?
    In the spring I open the brood nest by putting an empty bar or a bar of empty comb in the front of the brood nest, giving the bees a place to build new empty brood comb. If the hive is already full, I remove a bar of honey fromt the back. Later in the spring, you can open it in the middle. You want to be sure you don't seperate the brood so much that the cluster can't keep it warm on cool nights, so don't do this before the nighttime temperatures stay above about 50 degrees. To do this you can put empty bars between existing brood bars to provide more brood space. You might see on forums people indicating how they open brood using a letter notation. They use E for empty frames or bars or empty comb, B for brood, and H for honey. So if you have a hive that looks like BBBBHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, you probably need to open the brood nest. If it is cool at night you could open the nest so it looks like EBBBBHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH and repeat this every two weeks or so until you have 8 to 10 frames for brood. If nights are warm and chilled brood won't be a problem you might even open it to EBEBEBEBHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. If you have empty bars at the back, just push everything back and put the empty bars in the front. The bars you take out with honey can be left out for the bees to clean so you have empty comb, you can save it to use as feed your hives or nucs, or you can harvest it. Colonies will swarm when they run out of brood space, so you need to be sure the brood space is adequate. In the spring especially, but with a small hive, swarming can occur at almost any time, so I would be taking honey out if you don't see many eggs or really young uncapped brood.

    One of my mentors in my area says that anything past 14 bars is his. He can harvest it. That is for my location for overwintering. You might need more or less depending on overwintering conditions where you are. I would recommend finding other beeks in your area who have experience with your area.

    Ted

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    (Shrug...) They can only be "so big." We built 'em so that they could be carried by one person, and then built several. But even so, there will come a point where an ever-growing colony is going to have to find some new place to live unless you want to keep building hives. (Which, in retrospect, is not altogether a bad undertaking ...) That's what swarms are for. Sometimes you catch one; sometimes you give one away.

    We built 3 feet "or so" because one person can carry 'em and put 'em in place. Also partly depended on the length of the scrap-wood pieces we made 'em from.
    Last edited by mrobinson; 06-01-2012 at 12:38 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: 3 Foot Long TBH---Have you tried it?

    the golden mean isnt 36"es, its 26 accroding to the plans I have in hand. think the website says 28.5 I built two of them and have bees going so far so good but my temps are much cooler than most places. I am thinking of stretching it out to 36-40"es and keeping these as a possible overwinter "large nuc' box.

    The back yard hive is 36"es.

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