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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Horizontal Theory

    An old timer in my area once told me that the bees in my TBH would fail because bees don't move horizontally. I just ignored him and went on my way. my TBH is in it's second year and each year it attempted to swarm. I also noticed that the bees really don't build well away from the entrance (mine being on the far end). So my new theory is that the bees won't build away from the entrance well. This spring I shifted the combs over and they filled that space relatively quickly.

    I also noticed between my split from this year and when I started my first TBH from a nuc last year that they have a hard time building comb past a nectar filled comb. Last year they didn't start building more comb for some time because the last comb was filled with nectar/pollen. Once I added a bar between the 4th and 5th bar they immediately got to work. The same thing is happening with a split I made back in May.

    So what I propose we give thought to is adding space at the front of the hive (at least for those of us who run entrances on the far end), and doing it routinely. The bees will build comb out towards the entrance and extend their brood nest as they need. I plan on doing this much more aggressively than I did this year. This year I added like 4 empty bars at the from. I am considering doubling that. I do not think that the extra space will really effect the bees poorly, but rather I suspect that it will help to prevent swarming. It will allow them to better control the expansion of their brood nest on their time. I think add less pressure on them compared to adding empty bars in the middle of the brood nest, not that it's a bad option.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    florence, sc usa
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Horizontal Theory

    This is my first year with a topbar hive. I installed a package in it on May 15th. So far the have built on four bars and they are all on the entrance end. They skipped the first bar and started on the second. After you said what you did, I'm thinking that I should just shove them back and add about four or five bars in front. What do you think? Maybe a side entrance would be better. Don't really know why I opted for the end entrance. I have been pretty frustrated with the topbar hive, between cutting comb to remove the bars and them some breaking off and having to reattach and got a bad queen and had to replace her. Been alot of fun so far, ha.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Horizontal Theory

    Your observation makes sense to me. I started a TBH this April 15 and they seem to have stalled at 8 bars.I realize summer is here and they will slow down but not just stop, here we have much still in bloom. The deep Lang next by , started new at the same time is needing the second super. So... I will drop in a few bars at the front and watch what happens.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Horizontal Theory

    I don't have a direct comparison, but I did start a Lang nuc this year. They are in eight frame equipment and have two deeps full and are starting on a medium. So in comparison my tbh has swarmed before it passed filling it half way both years. So I have to think of something to allow my bees to fill this hive!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Horizontal Theory

    some rookie thoughts.... correct me if I'm wrong here....

    They wont grow comb they cant take care of (ie not enough nurse bees she wont lay more eggs, they wont draw more comb). I noticed mine wont anyways....since my weak hive has been hatching new workers...they are building more and more comb. Both hives had stalls in the comb production, when new bees came, they went back to building comb and the queen laid proportinatly.

    swarming is a yearly instinct, natures way of keeping the bee population going. Think I just read that today on Mikes page, I read too much daily I cant always remember where I found it at lol. Been reading a lot of Mike (and some of walts stuff today on Mikes page). Mike and Walt have a study going you should look into becoming a part of if they're still doing it on this very subject of swarming or the need to do so. and the possiblity of preventing it.....

    I was having this horizontal conversation today after work today about horizontal vs verticle and so far atleast in a wild swarm....I cant htink of a picture I've seen yet where they built vertically over horizontally. I think after reading and digging about over wintering they have a difficult time going from comb to comb horizontally in the colder weather than going vertically as a cluster....I dont fully understand how they move yet, but if they are willing to move as a group, vertically makes the most sense as atleast in my eyes I'd think theyd have to alteast slightly break cluster to go horizontal.

    That will be one pounds worth of wild rice . please ship too..... Miss northern MN!

    edited...I have found vertical pics.....learning as I go, feel free to educate !
    Last edited by AkDan; 06-26-2012 at 01:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Horizontal Theory

    Pretty interesting...

    Some recent observations I've made on my own are matching your own observations. I installed a 3# package on 05/17/12 and already have 14 bars with comb drawn out. I did notice that they didn't build very much towards the back of the hive. Mine actually started building closer to the center of the hive and have worked their way toward the entrance. They did build a few towards the back though.

    An interesting observation I made was that 2 weeks ago I split the brood nest with two empty bars. They drew both of these bars out within 1 weeks. However after I pulled them to inspect a full week later I found out they were just purely honey comb. The queen had crossed them as I found eggs in comb on both sides of these bars but she hadn't laid a single egg in either of these comb. On top of that there was a small new comb at the front of the brood nest, next to the entrance that was the same way... no eggs, just nectar. So I took both of the new bars back out of the brood nest and added them to the back of the hive. I then pushed all the brood comb back together.

    Not sure why they did that right in the middle of the brood nest but I thought it was interesting either way.

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