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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    2

    Lightbulb How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Hello, I made a video showing how to close a top bar hive with a steel rod. I have been doing it for a while now and it really cuts down on the wasted time (and bee stings) associated with trying to close the hive. You could also use a steel bar or even a piece of wood ripped to 1/8, but the steel rod is inexpensive and easily found at Home Depot. Take a look:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVhgzzsnH8M

    Thanks,

    James

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Saw this on another forum and gave it a go in a friends hive we were working. Talk about a time saver! Its really an obvious solution to the problem of replacing top bars and like so many obvious answers, it was not so obvious till someone showed you
    Cheers
    Rob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,147

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Nice video, & good idea. Thanks for sharing.
    I shared it on my clubs facebook page.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Thanks, I'm off to Home Depot to buy a 24" x 1/8" rod.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    I had some sheet metal laying around that I had used a few times, but found it bulky and annoying to use. Saw this topic and figured that it'd be cumbersome, but the video makes it look so easy. Will have to get one or find something in the garage that will mimic this. Great idea!
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Cool. I use some 1/8" thick chipboard that I get from my work. Endless, free supply of bee down strips.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Topeka, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    I use a piece of a yardstick the same way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Great ideas, thanks for sharing!
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,382

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    I just slide them together like a pair of scissors. Takes only a few seconds, and hardly ever harms a bee.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    I call this The Bee-Down Strip. I use a framing square, or a strip of wood myself. It does work well, but I find that the more I work a hive, the fast I get, and rarely need them anymore. I find I tend now to be more focused on closing space behind me, before the bees get boiling up, and when they do, I just use smoke across the top bars and then dive back down.

    The Bee-Down strip is really useful when they're really upset, though. Because then they are harder to get down, and you can get them down and closed pretty quickly.

    Adam

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,012

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    I have had a top bar this entire summer and never had a problem with the bees staying between the bars until the other day. but yeah, what a pain. I thought I woudl never get it back together. Tryed smoking,feathering you name it and the bees where just stubborn about staying there. Thanks for the tip.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,382

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Sounds like some top bar keepers are making it more difficult than it should be. I simply replace bars by gradually lowering them back into their places, as the bottom edge of the bar being replaced approaches the top edge of the adjacent bar, I wiggle it and gradually lower it until the bees move out of the way (which happens almost immediately), then once they are, I lower the bar into its position -- this usually take about 15-20 seconds. I almost never catch a single bee where it gets injured or killed.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Sounds like some top bar keepers are making it more difficult than it should be. I simply replace bars by gradually lowering them back into their places, as the bottom edge of the bar being replaced approaches the top edge of the adjacent bar, I wiggle it and gradually lower it until the bees move out of the way (which happens almost immediately), then once they are, I lower the bar into its position -- this usually take about 15-20 seconds. I almost never catch a single bee where it gets injured or killed.
    That technique seems to work really well when the bees draw out even comb, but the problem I noticed is that when there are uneven parts of the comb bees can get pinched and rolled between the frames if you scissor them together like that. Maybe my problem is getting them to draw nice comb.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,382

    Default Re: How to close a top bar hive using a steel rod

    What you say sounds right. I grew about 30 TBH nucs this season, and only had 100% flat, parallel combs, so uneven combs were not an issue. I can visualize how uneven comb surfaces, especially wavy combs could present some challenges. Though with irregular combs, wouldn't even the 'steel rod' technique be difficult, the irregular combs would roll/smash bees even then.

    I use top bars with straight wooden comb guides. I pre-start the combs for each TBH between brood combs in already established colonies, which themselves already have straight combs. Sometimes, if they begin building drone comb, where I don't want drone comb, I pull it off and let them start again, but usually they change to worker cells on their next try. It often only takes a day or two before they've built the beginnings of nice, straight combs. I then gently shake all the bees from the 'started' combs, put them together in their own box, then select an already established colony, move their queen to the new top bars, then shake all the workers over too. If there isn't a flow on I will push a parallel crack between a pair of top bars, 1/4" wide, then place an inverted quart feeder of 1:1 and a very small pollen sub patty, to cover this crack. If this causes the comb surfaces, adjacent to the crack to be drawn out too far I carefully cut them down a little to avoid bee smush, before pushing the back together. It sounds complicated, but has worked well, so far.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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