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Thread: Top bar nuc

  1. #1
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    Default Top bar nuc

    Any one use nucs of top bars to increase their numbers?

    http://youtu.be/Au_WkKQZIO8

    These guys sell them for colony establishment.

    Was thinking it would be a nice way to expand. Not real sure yet how to get a top bar nuc through the winter here. I have read Bush's stuff on langs.

    Thoughts?


    Hank

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Where, in the USA are you located. Location is a very important factor when answering your question.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    I overwintered dozens of top bar nucs this past winter. They work great. I also populate them with swarms, do splits, and sell colonies in the same nucs.

    Best,
    Matt

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    I had 1 for 2 make it thrulast winter in my 4-frame TBH nucs here in coastal TX...with 0 feeding/intervention from me. Obviously, larger hives have better survival, but just like Lang nucs, TBH nucs can be overwintered successfully if you're willing to manage/baby them.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    I am Wyo about 5000 ft zone 4 a.

    How do you feed them make a sugar board or dry sugar? Bundle several up or leave them separate?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    I am Wyo about 5000 ft zone 4 a.

    How do you feed them make a sugar board or dry sugar? Bundle several up or leave them separate?
    There is a post on here somewhere, ( can't find it at this time) about how someone made a frame on their follower board and poured in their fondant so it hangs vertically.....seemed to work pretty well if I remember, but like I said I can't seem to find that thread, maybe you will have better luck finding it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    how someone made a frame on their follower board and poured in their fondant so it hangs vertically.....seemed to work pretty well if I remember,
    I have seen some pics to that nature. If I try it I was going to use a board. I was thinking about pouring it with cheese cloth in it to give is some structure. I was hoping someone had some first hand cold weather experience?

    Hank

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    I was hoping someone had some first hand cold weather experience?
    Sorry, that's NOT me...never quite froze here last winter; so my bees get about 10-11 months of foraging weather.

    As an aside, when I first started putting together my TBHs, I DID build some "frame feeders" for them, I added 3/4"x3/4" sticks under a top bar to make a "frame" with bee space all around it, then attached a piece of window screen down the middle of the 4 pieces of wood (top bar, and 3 sides) & glued+stapled a piece of 1/4" ply to either side, leaving a bee space @ the top for access. Then dip the whole thing in wax to seal it up nicely & drill a hole in the top bar (over the "chamber" you've created) to fit a funnel for filling. My bees used that readily enough, but I now no longer feed, so I quit making/using them ... might work for you though, if you have the time & mechanical inclination.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Got any pics of that setup?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    I was thinking along similar lines. There were once frame feeders for syrup that were made with pressed board sides (perhaps there still are), then their insides were coated in paraffin wax, so the paraffin sealed the inside, then they would be liquid tight and could be used to feed syrup inside the hive. The paraffin also providing better footing for the bees.

    It seems that similar feeders could be devised, so to make feeding inside Top Bar Hives easily possible. They could be made whatever size (width) would fit in the hive, conceivably holding quite a large volume of syrup, or very little. And access could be limited to one side only, so they would also function as a follower board. I was also thinking that a small aquarium heater could be inserted in the syrup, and set so that the syrup would remain warm enough that the bees could take it whenever the temperatures weren't severe enough to overcome that minimal warming effort.

    Feeding dry sugar, AKA Mountain Camp method would pose its own challenges, but I'm sure some way could be devised to make it possible.

    Another thought I had, was that those Top Bar Nucs could be built of thick, aluminum backed, foamboard, and built up early, so they were strong and fully stocked with honey, prior to Winter. The foamboard could help even a small cluster to more easily maintain survival temperatures, and utilize less stores though the Winter.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Well I if I get the opportunity to make any this summer I will report back on the results.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    I was hoping someone had some first hand cold weather experience?
    I over wintered two nucs here in PA this winter. One was a lang, the other was a top bar nuc, they both survived and I sold the top bar nuc a couple weeks ago. For feed I just stuck one of MDA Splitter's sugar bricks in the back and liked that better than fooling with fondant this time around. There were no losses or issues related to the cold weather for any of my top bar hives. The nuc box was one of Cacklewack's designs and it sat on a homemade stand with a windbreak twenty feet behind it, but no other protection or insulation.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    I noticed in the video it looked like a queen cage was stuck in the bottom of on of the combs.

    I think if you are going to make nucs you should make the bar length the same size as your TBHs. You could go with a smaller box (width), but you should stick to the same length bar.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Thanks good information Vegi.

    Why the "MDA Splitter's sugar bricks" as opposed to a candy board? What is in them that make them yellow(google appearance)?

    Hank

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    There is a post on here somewhere, ( can't find it at this time) about how someone made a frame on their follower board and poured in their fondant so it hangs vertically.....seemed to work pretty well if I remember, but like I said I can't seem to find that thread, maybe you will have better luck finding it.
    Not sure if you are referring to mine, there was someone else who showed one that looked more like what you are describing. I made two different types, original pictures are in this Thread. My hives didn't make it through the winter though. The one had other issues but the Carniolan one was real sad. They were right next to this bar with the pouch of food Pouch.jpgbut with each bar not being next to it when the temperature dropped and they had to hold the cluster they starved/froze. This is how the other one looked when I took it out. bar.jpg
    I learned that nothing beats getting them up to the proper winter weight beforehand. I will use the methods again as insurance but I wanted to put the caution out there. I think the way the mountain camp on a langstroth works better is because they can get to it from each bar. This way only the bar of bees right next to it had access to it in the cold.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Top bar nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackotter View Post
    Why the "MDA Splitter's sugar bricks" as opposed to a candy board? What is in them that make them yellow(google appearance)?
    I didn't have the time to make them so I went with the sugar bricks, I think a candy board would also work. I liked the size of the bricks and could break them in half if necessary and it was easy to position them so that they were in contact with the cluster. They store easily and I could also add them quickly to the hive if feeding during winter was necessary. They were a bit off-white but not quite yellow, maybe from the heating, but you would have to ask Mel about that, I was under the impression there was just sugar and water in the bricks.

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