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

    Sad Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    What a mess.

    I was overdue in an inspection to see if there was evidence of a new queen (I lost mine a few weeks ago). Yesterday, we had record high heat of 109F. Today, it will be 104F.

    I inspected the hive this morning when it was 86F. Two bars of honeycomb were in a heap on the hive floor. I scooped it out as best as I could. I took some home, and left more then half in a bowl next to the hive.

    Scooping out handfuls of comb was interesting. My gloved hands were covered with bees who were none too happy about getting robbed. I could feel their vibrations through the leather.

    I was unable to complete the inspection (I didn't want to stress them out too much) so I put the hive back together and left. I still don't know if the hive is queenright.


    My questions:

    1) Was leaving honeycomb in a bowl the right thing to do (so they can reclaim the honey) or will it invite robbers?

    2) My hive is in full sun. I was following advice that full sun deters mites. I was not counting on Central Texas burning off the face of the earth. The roof is wood and it has aluminum roofing material on top of it. What other material should I add, either to the top or bottom of the roof to cool it down?

    3) Will I ever find evidence of my queen? Will I ever learn to light my smoker? ---Okay, you don't have to answer #3.

    I have the roof propped up on one side and there is water under the hive. Some things I have learned. I should never perform an inspection in extreme heat (I'm glad I didn't attempt that yesterday), and it's probably a good idea to always check the hive after a day of extreme heat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    1.Leaving the honeycomb in a bowl near the hive was a mistake but you already know that.

    2.I use some scrap insulation board on top of mine.At the very least a plywood shade board would help.I am not totally convinced that full sun means full Texas or Florida sun.

    3.Yes,you will eventually find your queen or evidence of her presence and no,you will never learn to keep your smoker lit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Cram it full of pine needles and shove a barbeque lighter into it. Use bellows until thick smoke rolls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,822

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by gone2seed View Post
    2.I use some scrap insulation board on top of mine.At the very least a plywood shade board would help.I am not totally convinced that full sun means full Texas or Florida sun.
    I had collapse problems with a TBH here in MA - wasn't even 100. One of the reasons I quit them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    I use plywood top board with about 2 inch spacers to keep it off the top bars. Provides shade on the top bars and allows wind to pass to prevent mold.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    I had collapse problems with a TBH here in MA - wasn't even 100. One of the reasons I quit them.
    I guess I need to clarify....mine are all Langs,but shade boards should help for either type.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,947

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelShantz View Post
    Cram it full of pine needles and shove a barbeque lighter into it. Use bellows until thick smoke rolls.
    This is indeed what many people think would solve all problems with TBH but it is a very harsh measure your advocating! When making top bars, drilling three 3/8 holes thru them vertically and put dowells down short of the bottom or sides of your tbh. The bees will encorporate them in their comb and they will support them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    This is indeed what many people think would solve all problems with TBH but it is a very harsh measure your advocating!

    LOL, I'm not sure, but I think MichaelShantz was not suggesting that I fill the TBH will pine needles and take a torch to it, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the smokers.

    Unless it's I who is mistaken. Hmmm....

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

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by gone2seed View Post
    ... no,you will never learn to keep your smoker lit.
    Yeah, I was afraid of that.

    I'll go out in 20 minutes to retrieve the honeycomb I left behind. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    You can leave them the honeycomb in a bowl, but leave it inside the hive, not outside.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Quote Originally Posted by SantaFeBeek View Post
    You can leave them the honeycomb in a bowl, but leave it inside the hive, not outside.
    So, should I? Is it better for them to leave it inside rather than take it away?

    I was afraid they'd build all over and around the bowl.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Put it at the back of the hive and let them clean it up for a day or two or three, then pull it out when it's empty. They may try to build around it, but not much will happen over the course of a few days. I do it all the time with burr comb or pieces of double comb on one bar, etc. You don't have to leave it in a bowl, either, just prop it up against the back so that they can get to both sides and they'll do the rest. They will clean up any spillage, as well.

    Whether you should depends on how much stores they have. If they have plenty, take it inside and enjoy it yourself. If they need it, give it to them.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Also, if you let then clean it up, you can reuse the comb by melting pieces back onto an empty top bar or tying them on. The bees will make the attachment stronger as they build it out again.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Well, I think i did everything wrong. I should have just left it all in a heap. I thought I was doing them a favor.

    I wound up taking bringing the bowl home. My husband had the bee suit and I didn't want to open it up without one. Next time, I'll leave it alone.

    There was a hive beetle in the bowl. i don't know if I scooped it out of my box, or if it found the honey during the hours it was beside the hive.

    So, Vance, I'm confused about the placement of the three holes. Is it three holes on one side or both? I assume you're talking about the long sides, not the front/back sides. Is that right?

    Even if I incorporated the wax into the holes, won't i just destroy that brace every time I open the hive and pull up the bars that have wax in the holes?

    I don't understand this at all "put dowells down short of the bottom or sides of your tbh."

    Also, since I obviously don't want to drill in an active hive, should I drill holes in the empty hive (I have one without bees yet) and switch it with the active hive? Is this even possible? Could I take the empty hive to the bees and transfer the bars into the new hives and bring the old hive home?

    Thanks.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    I'm pretty sure he was saying to put dowels in the top bars themselves, so that as the bees draw comb, the dowels will be embedded in the comb, thereby giving them more strength via more "attached area".

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Just to be clear, that would be on empty top bars, not bars that have comb drawn on them already.

    Don't get down on yourself, it's all a learning process that we all go through. You'll know what to do next time!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Interesting.... I don't do TBHs but I think that I can tell what the problem is. I have standard Langstroth hives and have observed many natural ( feral ) hives over the years. The ferals can produce huge vertical combs with no problem. We occasionally have temps up to 114F and have never seen one collapse.

    So why did yours fail... Perhaps your center to center spacing is too wide. If wider than nature intended then the comb becomes too fat and gets very heavy. Feral combs are rather precisely spaced ( but I don't know what that spacing is ) and are never excessively fat. In a Langstroth hive, the spacing is also rather precise and not too fat unless someone chooses to eliminate a frame.

    Maybe your top bars need to be shaved and pushed closer together ?

    Just me thinking out loud -- Fuzzy

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    I bought my bars through http://backyardhive.com/. I trust they've got it right....I hope.

    Where in the Silicon Valley do you live? I used to live in San Jose. Of course, there are many micro-climates out there, but I never saw it get that hot. Yikes!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Hey Kat,

    Looking at the hive design on that website, I would definitely put a couple of 2x4s or something between the top bars and the roof. It looks like that roof sits directly on the bars and would transfer heat to them pretty effectively. Make a little space between them for airflow during the warmer months and you probably won't have that problem in the future.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Bars Collapsed in Record Heat

    Yes, I just built a second roof to put on top of the other roof. The second roof has 2x4s nailed into some plywood that I painted white. So I'll have a cushion of air between the two roofs. What do you think of that?

    I could also wrap the white roof with foil, but I don't know how much more that would help.

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