Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering
Here is my two cents after keeping all three for two years.
Tbh-I truly had nothing but troubles with this hive. Weak compared to my other hives. They never filled up more than half of the hive. They swarmed every year no matter what I did. Feeding was a pain in the but. However they are by far the most pleasant to inspect, but a pain to close. They don't winter well and are difficult to treat with any kind of strips (for varroa). It may sound kind of harsh but these are simply my observations. This spring I am cutting out most comb and placing them in Lang frames. I will likely keep the hive there just in case a swarm wants to move in.
Warre- it's an interesting hive. Thus far I have had mixed results. You have to micromanage a bit, but I have learned from my mistakes enough to make it work. In my humble opinion you will need to put a piece of comb if you ever plan to super or nadir a box. There are good odds that if you super without a comb or two they will make a huge mess. There is also a good chance that if you nadir without adding a comb they will ignore the box and swarm. Unfortunately had happened to me more than once. However when supering or nadiring with a comb, my hives have take to the new box very nicely. I believe that the small box size does have some benefits when it comes to wintering. I used 2x lumber. The box also has the inner dimension of the average winter cluster. I have also done away with the quilt in favor of a permanent top feeder with an upper entrance. In my neck of the woods, you need an upper entrance. I like the idea of natural comb, but on the other hand you could always just run 8 frame equipment and come close.
Lang-my first year hives gave me a surplus when my overwintered warre and tbh did not. They also built up bigger and stronger. Frames make many manipulations easier, but you could make warre half frames and keep things inspectable. It's also a huge plus that you can purchase Lang equipment very readily. Again you can easily run foundationless 8 frame equipment and run your hives like a warre.
In the end if I could go back in time and talk to myself and change things, I would start with Lang equipment, have a warre or two and completely skip tbh altogether.
Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.