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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    North Wales, PA
    Posts
    13

    Default How many combs should I expect ?

    I am a newbie. I just built a 48" THB, side entrances near ends. Bee package arrives March 30. How many combs should I expect in this first season ? Located in SE Pennsylvania. Any advice is most appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    I put a swarm in a top bar last year. they made 14 bars of comb and none of them where complete. I consider this a dud colony. If it had been my 5 frame nuc placed in that hive they woudl have filled the entire hive and then some.

    If it where me I woudl plan for the latter. isn't that why you are keeping bees? Or does your beekeeping plans include the expectation of keeping failed hives? If you plan to only do what is needed as it is needed. I have found that plan does not work well at all. To much gets done to late that way. So plan for the best and be prepared just in case it actually happens.

    I lost 90 lbs of honey last summer becasue I did not plan to harvest any. Guess what? I didn't everything worked according to my plan.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,517

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loup View Post
    I am a newbie. I just built a 48" THB, side entrances near ends. Bee package arrives March 30. How many combs should I expect in this first season ? Located in SE Pennsylvania. Any advice is most appreciated.


    Why so early? Bee prepared to feed hem in a manner in which the bees don't starve to death upon their arrival . It happens quite a lot with early or high elevation packages because the TBH design makes them harder to feed appropriately.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Loup, I've gotten anywhere from 12 to 30+ combs from packages started in April. My hives are 4ft also. I had two packages completely fill up two of my hives last summer.That's with harvesting a few combs of honey from them. I'd say, It's best to be prepared for a full hive and have nuc boxes or other hives ready to pull a summer split from. If it doesn't work out that they need
    all that room, you'll be ready for when they do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    North Wales, PA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    I have no problem taking no honey in season 1. Just curious about how many combs they are likely to draw on my top bars in the first season.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Carthage ,TN, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    I have 9 tbh's installed a package of bees on March 20th last year and learned many things the bees drawed out 13 full combs in 7 weeks swarmed caught the them placed in another tbh and that hive caught up with the original hive in 5 weeks. At this rate knowing then what I know now probably could have had 9 more full of bees and harvested honey the first year. This is what I would do with a new package of bees. Install them and use a backing board made out of anything just something to keep them from becoming demoralized {too much hive for that amount of bees} place the the backer at about the 5th frame this will keep them from losing too much heat and give them a can-do attitude. In about 5 days open them and see how they have progressed if they have full draw comb move your backer about 2-3 bars take those bars and place them between 2 full drawn combs to keep your combs straight. If you do this and stay on top of it you will have a hard time keeping up and yet the bees are only doing what they were designed to do. I would say you will probably be able to fill the box in a season.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Ft Luaderdale, FL, USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    EasyBees- This is my first year also with a TBH and if I keep giving them three bars at a time for brood how do I get them to fill a few frames with honey? I probably have about 12 frames of brood now in a 11 x 11 x 48" straight sided TBH, started from a package at New Years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Carthage ,TN, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    The brood will mainly stay toward the entrance just make sure to keep the brood chamber opened up with empty bars and if you were to start noticing alot of honey in say the first ten frames start placing them toward the back of the of the brood chamber. They normally put the honey stores toward the back half of the hive. There will be a honey line in your hive {in every hive} basically where brood stops and honey begins find it and start there with bars that you took out of the brood chamber to keep the brood chamber from beeing honey bound which is bad because they will start producing drone comb and blow out in know time. Just remember how 2 things God designed the bee to do reproduce and make honey. With those two things in mind just keep in mind Why? and you got this.


    ENJOY

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    North Wales, PA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Thanks for the advice. You mention if you were to start noticing alot of honey in say the first ten frames start placing them toward the back of the of the brood chamber. Does this mean to remove the bar with honey and move it to the back of the brood ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Bees use honey as boundaries. In a lang hive if they get a solid layer of honey over their heads they will not work space above the honey. they way to get them to move up is to make a hole through that layer of honey.

    Also in a lang the brood nest tends to have a frame of honey on each side of it. again this is how bees know where the brood nest ends.

    Now apply this to a TBH. you have say 5 frames of brood then a frame of solid Honey. the bees will not expand the brood nest beyond that frame of honey. so you must move that frame one space further away and place an empty bar next to the brood nest. not in the middle of it but next to it. sometimes there may be a little bit of brood on that honey frame. You can still move it. That frame of honey is till the end of the brood nest. but you gave them room to make more comb and fill it with brood. Mainly understand how bees use honey as the boundaries of the brood nest. Not always as I have seen bees divide a brood nest with a frame of honey all on their own.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Just noticed your location.... Are you picking up your bees from Worcester Honey Farms? This will be my first year with a top bar hive also, but we're getting our bees on April 20th. I live in Montgomery Twp. I can't wait, but still have a lot to learn. Did you join any groups yet?? I plan on going to next weeks Bucks County Beekeepers Association meeting. They're the 2nd Tusday of every month in Plumbsteadville. I was at Keystome Home Brew this weekend, buying wax to line the top bars, and the guy at the checkout is a member of BCBA. He was already so helpful from my brief conversation with him. He said many members have Lang hives, but they're open and encouraging of top bar use. Good Luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,782

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    >How many combs should I expect in this first season ?

    "Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed"--Alexander Pope

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesexpectations.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    North Wales, PA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    Chr157y, sent you a PM

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Statesville, North Carolina
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: How many combs should I expect ?

    I put a 3 lb package of Waynes Survivor bees in a Kenyan the end of April last year. They built full combs on 26 out of the 30 bars. 14 of the comb were brood. I split them the end of February. All seems well! I am feeding about 3/4 of a gallon of 1:1 sugar water in the open per day. All three had run out of stores by late Feb.

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