This forum needs a "like" button!
Here you go LOL
Yeah, the folks at my local beekeeping club gave me that sideways look when I said I was going to start with a TBH. Got all sorts of negative advice. That is why I never joined the club. That kind of negativity is stupid. It also simply gives me incentive to simply go about my business, and prove them wrong. Let them wallow in their ignorance. Do what YOU enjoy. I enjoy being unconventional.
Join the club. You will find the practicle help invaluable. Just impress on them that although they consider a TBH an inferior design, you intend to go with that design anyway, but tell them other than that, you would appreciate any help and advice they can give. Having been involved with both hive designs, I can tell you that nearly all bee advice is generic, ie, it pertains to bees regardless opf what shape the box is they live in.
Main difference is when they are talking about adding supers for the bees to put honey in or prevent swarming, well, you can't do that. You'll just have to shrug your shoulders when it's that time of year.
Sure, some of them will see you as some kind of hippy. Just get used to it, over time you will be accepted as part of the group.
I don't regularly maintain TBH's, but am often asked to produce Top Bar Nucleus colonies. I am certainly willing to do it, especially if the customer provides their own Top Bars. I simply place the Top Bars, overnight, between combs in full-size hives. By the next morning the bees have usually grown 2-3 inches of comb, which are also usually laid with eggs. I simply swap these started Top Bar combs for the combs in a Langstroth Nuc, moving the bees onto the Top Bars and moving the Nuc combs into an additional level on other established Langstroth Nucs. If the Top Bars are shorter than 19 inches, I temporarily fasten them to 19 inch long strips of wood. If they're longer I just allow one end to protrude from the Langstroth supers.
If there were any hostility directed at Top Bar beekeeping, I haven't noticed. Though I usually do what I do, without taking notice how others perceive it.
48 years - 50 hives - TF
Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni
Wow. I've started crusing the TBH section of the site because I'm building a TBH shortly for this spring, to go along with my Langs. I'm more than a little shocked that there is this kind of animosity. Granted, I've only spoken with two beekeepers outside of this site for any length of time, because there isn't a club anywhere near me, but they were both incredibly helpful, and neither one said boo about the prospect of running a TBH. In fact, one of them (who works at my "local" Dadant), lamented the fact that they didn't carry any TBH items (bars, followers, hives, etc.)
I suppose it's likely I'll encounter someone more difficult to avoid than pressing the back button on my browser in this matter, but I suppose when I do, I'll just tell them the truth. I did it because I thought it would be fun, and because I wanted to see bees do it a different way. Not hurting anyone.
Interesting. In my case,bees dictate what they like. I started with KTBH because it sounded much more natural than old Lang. Also, it was different and I love to build. So, bees ignored my beautiful hand-made KTBH! I was shocked. OK, I offered to them the Lang opportunity... They did not want to expand vertically as well. We (me and bees) ended up on hybrid between TBH and Lang - horizontal double-Lang deep box. Girls love it! It has 20 deep frames max horizontally and may be expanded vertically as well (another 20 frames). It has many advantages of TBH - less invasive inspections etc. and standard Lang's deep frames. It is heavy, but I do not need to move it. So far - bees love it!
I personally do not care what others think about me and my bees. At the same time, I noticed that my bee-club members mostly are very conservative and do not approve "other ways". I stop visiting the club since they are all about chemical treatments for the bees. I think Lang is good for commercial beekeeping. For hobbyist? - I think everything is good as long as YOU are happy and bees ARE happy. To me KTBH has obvious advantages vs Lang, but my bees think differently. Sergey
It seems to be all about leadership. TBHs have a kind of celebrity status right now in our area. When I decided to build one last year, I built two and gave one to our club president. He had great success with the swarm he installed in it, and his positive remarks at our club meeting have set a tone of acceptance. He even asked me to do a presentation at a club meeting on TBHs. I think the position most people take, including the tone of their comments, is a reflection of the "leader" they are following as much as anything.
The leader, or, the book or website.
I think a lot of the problems started out with a TBH book that spends the first 50 pages, plus most of the rest of the book, pouring vitriol on langstroth hives. Which is a shame because although he is a convincing writer, some of his basic facts are not even correct. Gullible minds who have not yet experienced real bees, read this book, and then tell people like me I've got it all wrong. Hear enough of this and you start feeling like reacting.
Shame this divisive crap was even published because nearly all beeks are basically good folks. Lots of beekeeping books have been written pretty much using langstroth methods, I have yet to see anything in one of them critisising TBH's. But it seems to be kind of fashionable for some TBH literature to devote a lot of energy to critisizing everybody else. Very destructive, if they want to talk TBH's, they should talk TBH's.
I'm not saying this attitude applies to the average TBH keeper, it's mostly book and web authors. But when you see this garbage in print, don't allow yourself to be influenced.
What Langstroth invented / re-invented / popularised, was movable comb hives. As such, he is the father of both the modern langstroth hive, and the modern top bar hive. The roots of the modern TBH are not in ancient Egypt. A version of modern TBH's were first built by a team of Canadian aid workers in Africa, who had langstroth hives at home and thought up a easy to make moveable comb hive that could be cheaply built by Africans, to avoid the then practise of killing all the bees to get the honey.
We should all just get along.
Last edited by Oldtimer; 01-23-2013 at 10:45 PM.
Given the thread drift, readers may find the following interesting. It deals with many of the issues discussed:
An analysis of the Kenyan Top Bar Hive in Calgary Alberta.pdf
And I think that someone who pays $300 for a top bar should invest the cash in some tools, or just purchase Langs. I can get several Langs for $300.
$150 for a "complete" hive (with 2 deeps and 2 mediums), less frames, and their Pierco frames add another $95. That $245 without any "accessories", which brings the total comparable to the $300 TBH.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
I always forget about the cost of frames in a Lang! True, if you compare apples to apples, assembled to assembled, the Lang can get expensive.
"... I enjoy being unconventional..."
i would posit many who champion TBH's not only enjoy being unconventional but also controversial. not everyone that uses TBH's is like that of course,and even less "champion" their use above all others, but once one has to endure a diatribe from a promoter,often they have little patience for another round.
"Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin
> $150 for a "complete" hive (with 2 deeps and 2 mediums), less frames, and their Pierco frames add another $95. That $245 without any "accessories", which brings the total comparable to the $300 TBH.
That seems qute hight to me. When I buy my equipment deeps are now $12.00 ea. a med. shallow is $9.00, cedar bottom board $4.00, top around $14.00, and 30 new frames with ritecell foundation would be around $1.66 each. Added up that comes to $100.00 for a complete setup. What other accessories are you referring to? And since when is a "complete hive" considered to be 2 deeps and 2 mediums?
"Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti