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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default 2 questions. Top Bar Frames and multi Hives

    I've been running a couple top bars for 2 seasons now, and have 2 more to add. Love em, because I can walk visitors back there and pop the tops every time and never use any equipment, and customers can see bees as nature intended. I also think they're great because as a honey producer, I use my top bars for my cut comb honey, and my Langstroths for extracted honey. Best of everthing.

    However, I want to start allowing my bees to regress in some langstroth hives. So, I want to take a regular langstroth frame, pull out the wax, and add a triangle at the top and let them draw out the comb to whatever size they want. I'll still use mediums with plastic foundation for my honey supers, but in the brood area, I want that to be natural. Any thoughts here? I use queen excluders.

    The 2nd question is strictly Top bar. My top bar hives have 3 holes down the side. If I use strict follower boards that are very tight to corner and sides, can I raise a queen in each section? They'd be side by side. I want to set this up as a test for creating nucs. Lots of people want top bar nucs, and other than build little ones, I thought it would be easier if I ran them all within the same hive. If I didn't sell the nuc, I just pull teh follower and let the queens hash it out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: 2 questions. Top Bar Frames and multi Hives

    No expert here, but this is my two cents. My father alternates between foundation and foundation-less frames in his hives. The bees always pull out the foundation-less frames first. So it seems like they like to build the way they want to build. I don't know if I would go completely foundation-less. I saw a photo of a lang that was all foundation-less and the bees pulled the comb completely sideways. What a mess. You could alternate in your brood with foundation and foundation-less to get the stuff straight. The good thing with langs is that since most people reuse comb they can start with a mix (half with and half without) and slowly swap out the foundation stuff and use it in nucs or for splits and eventually have a hive entirely foundation-less. Or you can just go top bar to begin with!

    As far as using the back of a top bar for a nuc, yes, you can do that, but don't cut yourself short on space. The only problem with selling the nucs is that the customer would need to have the same size (width and height) top bar as your nucs or they will need to do some comb surgery. If you are going to do that make sure that you have a few extra follower boards that you can loan out to your potential customers to build their hives to your specs. Or make complete hives and sell them complete.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: 2 questions. Top Bar Frames and multi Hives

    Thanks Shannonswyatt. I have notice they pull out foundationless very fast. I have plenty of issues with cross comb. The bees hate the plastic if it's not well coated in beeswax. A plastic frame with no wax is almost guaranteed to create a 90 degree cross comb. I've even had several times where they start at the top and build a whole new free wax comb right on the face and put nothing on the embossed plastic. I now treat my new wax combs with my own bees wax and use a spong brush to put a heavier coat on it.

    I planned on checkerboarding it. Same as my 2 top bar hives. Insert a foundationless in beteen each frame of drawn comb.

    Yeah, that is the problem with top bars. Everyone does their own size and shape. My top bars in my top bar hive are langstroth length, so I can at least tear off the top of a langstroth frame if I need it in the top bar, or just pick up one of my top bars and drop it in the langstroth if I need some emergency eggs for a queen rearing - though they would bind it to the sides at some point.

    Planned on making some complete hives, and stocking them, was just too busy catching swarms and doing cutouts this year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: 2 questions. Top Bar Frames and multi Hives

    Nice!

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