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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    OK, so I'm a new beekeeper with my first package install this past saturday, May 11. I have a couple of questions that I cannot seem to find answers to on any websites and books.

    1) installed bees on Saturday and am feeding. Mt TBH has an observation window built in. I see the bees in there, along with the queen box, but no comb after 4 days. How long does it take for them to start building it?

    2) should I release the queen? I did not poke a hole in the candy plug and am relatively sure she is still in there. However, I have yet to pull her little cage out and verify this or even if she is alive.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    KB.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hyattsville, MD
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    KB,
    Your queen should be out by now. I never poke a hole in the candy plug, just pull the cork that is on the candy side so the bees can access it. As soon as you have time and good weather, I would go into the hive to see if they are building straight comb and also to verify if the queen is out of her cage. If she is not, the bees will have had plenty of time to accept her and you can just release her by pulling the screen or the other cork (the one opposite the candy side). My guess is that they are building comb (especially if they are taking in the feed), you just can't see it from your window vantage point. I know on my TBH, I can't see to the front of the hive where the first few combs were built. Plus, there is such a mass of bees it is hard to tell without really getting in there and doing an inspection. You will need to stay on top of it the first few weeks or the bees will build crooked comb...this is one of the major differences in TBH management vs. Langstroth. Check out the FAQ's for TBH on Michael Bush's website.

    Good Luck,

    Matt M.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    Yeah, that is my hope. I cannot see the very front well either. I am planning to go in and release her today if she is not out already.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilted Beekeeper View Post
    OK, so I'm a new beekeeper with my first package install this past saturday, May 11. I have a couple of questions that I cannot seem to find answers to on any websites and books.

    1) installed bees on Saturday and am feeding. Mt TBH has an observation window built in. I see the bees in there, along with the queen box, but no comb after 4 days. How long does it take for them to start building it?

    2) should I release the queen? I did not poke a hole in the candy plug and am relatively sure she is still in there. However, I have yet to pull her little cage out and verify this or even if she is alive.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    KB.
    Thanks for the advice gang. I released the queen on the 15th, and today on the 18th I did my first full inspection today and I am so psyched! I found comb on 5 of 10 top bars. It is all one half, as I have the entrance on the one long side, but there was plenty of comb. I was nervous and not clear if I should just turn the comb upside down and brush the bees off or not, so I did not look for eggs. How do you go about this, i mean, the comb was covered with bees. And then I would have to worry about the queen flying off, wouldn't i? Should I smoke em, or spray with sugar water? As always, your comments are appreciated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    BTW, the comb is all straight, just on the front halves of the top bars near the entrance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hyattsville, MD
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    Use smoke. It keeps the bees calm, it will clear them off the comb so you can see into the cells, and it blocks the pheremone signals if you happen to accidently squish a bee. The queen won't fly off on you. People have been using smoke with bees for thousands of years because it works.

    Keep an eye on that comb to make sure it continues to be built straight. It doesn't take long for them to get off track really bad. One straight comb leads to another. When they have some nice straight ones built, begin feeding empty bars in-between straight combs so they have a better guide (two complete combs, one empty, 2 complete combs, one empty).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,018

    Default Re: New Beekeeper with top bar hive.

    Good deal on the straight comb! If possible inspect during the middle of the day. Most of the foragers will be out and about so things will be calmer. Have a goal in mind when you inspect. If you are checking for cross comb you don't have to worry about how many bees are on the comb. You can probably see the comb in the window, so that helps out a bunch as well. If you are checking to see if the queen is viable you only need to see eggs in one cell, not the whole hive. You can have a lot of bees on the comb and still see eggs, brood, drown comb, swarm cells, etc. This spring my wife has taken photos during inspections, which really speeds things up. I pull the bars out, we take a photo and put it back. Then I go in the house and I can zoom in and see the comb much better. My vision is too poor to see eggs in the cells (at least with a veil on), so this has been a great way for me to check for eggs.

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