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  1. #1

    Default Top Bar Hive Transfer

    I guess I underestimated my bees, and installed them in 3' TBH. As of yesterday, I am out of space to add bars. By this next weekend they'll have evey bar at least partially pulled, but it may all be brood comb still. I'm working on building a 4' hive and was going to just transfer them into it, by moving over all the bars of comb (with the queen of course).
    Any tips on how to assure it's a successful move? So far I have been blessed with no major issues, and I'd hate to start now.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Port Murray, NJ
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    I am in the same position as you. Golden Mean hives from backyardhive.com are way too small. Wish I has known when I built them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    If you can, move the original TBH over a couple feet, then put the new one in its place (so the foragers will all find the new one without problem); then move all the bars over (don't worry about the queen yet, she'll get moved at some point in the process) as you had been planning. Now, once all bars are moved over to the larger hive, add the rest of the bars that the last hive can hold & place the lid on it, leaving the original hive "open" and wait 1-3hrs; once the vast majority of the bees from the original hive have moved (mine usually only take about 30-45mins) you can remove a few bars from the new hive, to create "gaps" for entrances, then dump the remainder of the bees from the original hive on top of the new hive, similar to a pkg install; replace the bars & lid after most/all of the bees have gone down into the new hive & leave the original hive open about 10-20' away so the last few "stragglers" will find their way to the new hive on their own.

    I've used a couple different variations on that method and, for the most part, it works pretty well & isn't really as complicated as it sounds
    The parts that seem to be most important to my success are:
    A) Putting the new hive in the original hive's place
    B) Leaving the old hive OPEN, so it's not a very inviting home anymore

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    P.S. As far as hive dimensions go, for my "production hives" I'm using 4' boxes with 19" top bars, 30 degree sidewall slope (i.e. matched to the angles bees naturally build, haven't seen a pentagon shaped honeycomb cell yet), and 11" depth. Using those dimensions, I figured out that each 4' hive is equivalent to slightly more than 3 10-frame Lang. deeps in total square inches of comb (based on using a mix of 1.25" and 1.375" top bars, for a total bar count of 36) once fully drawn, so unless you're using Sunkists or AHB, they should be plenty big to virtually guarantee there won't be brood in every comb.

    Also, if you check out my projects at http://www.robherc.com/bees/projects I have photo-documentaries (sorry, haven't added captions yet, my bees are keeping me too busy) of my process for building lang-compatible top bars, and one of my hives (though the one shown has a permanent divider in the middle, making it 2 huge nucs, rather than a full 4' production hive). I chose the Lang. style top bars to allow the bees easier access to all parts of the hive (for higher production and for SHB control), and to give myself the option of cutting a hole in the lid & stacking 1 or more supers on top of the TBH during the heaviest flows

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    If they're booming that well, make a split!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  6. #6

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    If you can, move the original TBH over a couple feet, then put the new one in its place (so the foragers will all find the new one without problem); then move all the bars over (don't worry about the queen yet, she'll get moved at some point in the process) as you had been planning. Now, once all bars are moved over to the larger hive, add the rest of the bars that the last hive can hold & place the lid on it, leaving the original hive "open" and wait 1-3hrs; once the vast majority of the bees from the original hive have moved (mine usually only take about 30-45mins) you can remove a few bars from the new hive, to create "gaps" for entrances, then dump the remainder of the bees from the original hive on top of the new hive, similar to a pkg install; replace the bars & lid after most/all of the bees have gone down into the new hive & leave the original hive open about 10-20' away so the last few "stragglers" will find their way to the new hive on their own.

    I've used a couple different variations on that method and, for the most part, it works pretty well & isn't really as complicated as it sounds
    The parts that seem to be most important to my success are:
    A) Putting the new hive in the original hive's place
    B) Leaving the old hive OPEN, so it's not a very inviting home anymore
    Nothing ever is as hard as it sounds...usually. But I'm with you, I usualy go into excessive detail, making things sound harder than they are. I was planning to basically do as you suggest. The trick will be to move the full hive. I don't know that I'll be able to get my [pregnant] wife to lift the other end, since I don't have a second bee suit. I suppose I'll just have to slide it sideways, or move one end at a time. Then I'll move all the bars over as you suggest. I like the idea of leaving the old hive wide open so it is no longer appealing. I suppose I don't have much of an option since I'll be moving all the bars anywyay, and haven't made any new ones yet.

    As for making the split, I do believe I may try it, being as I'll have an extra box to work with. I'll have to make sure the first move sticks though. Hopefully in two months I'll be in the same predicament!

    Thanks for the advice, and I'll let all know how it goes!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    All sounds a good plan to me. I have done a straight transfer from one TBH to another early in the season before the build up without mishap. I think the only issue is just how simple it will be to lift those brood combs out without damage. It all assumes there is no cross combing and you are easily able to seperate. You may find you experience some damage at the top of the combs so be prepared for some nectar leakage. Otherwise, should not be a problem.
    Good luck.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    Just wanted to let everyone know the transfer was a success, so far anyway. I never did see the queen on any specific frame as I was doing the transfer. I know she is still there as I saw plenty of eggs and young larva. But I really wanted to see her go from one box to the other just for closure. Once the whole transfer was over, I left the old box open so the bees would abandon it. By dusk they were all out. I made sure and took the entire hive apart to make sure the queen wasn't hiding anywhere. I've learned in the past she is pretty sneaky.

    Thanks for all the support.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Transfer

    Glad to hear it went uneventfully for you...the stress-free successes in beekeeping, for me at least, seem to be fairly rare, so enjoy them when you get 'em

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