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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Holly Ridge, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    I am hoping to start a bee hive in the spring and have been researching this for a while now. I have decided that the top bar hive will be the best for me, and through my research, have decided that I would like to have bees that make the smaller cells.
    I have only found one place that supplies bees who have been on small cells. Does anyone know of any suppliers of bees already on small cells? And if not, how long would it take them to revert back to making small cells in a top bar hive that is brand new with no comb in it?
    Any information on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Brad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    If you want them to reduce, you'd have to keep destroying the brood comb I guess.... or move it to the honey area. If your very insistent on having small bees, I'd cut down small cell foundation to the area of the hive and attach it to a top bar. You can eventually change them over to natural comb.

    Also, you're going to have a hard time finding a package of small bees. Your best bet would be a nuc, but nucs arent easy to install in a top bar hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    I don't know if you have feral bees in your area, that would be your best bet. Call the administrative phone number for 911 and ask how many swarm calls they get and if it's a good many, place your name and number on their call list. If you get a swarm or a cutout you can measure their cell size and find if they are regressed or just a swarm from a local beekeeper.
    I will keep a note that you want some and if I happen to visit my grand daughter in Jacksonville N.C. during a time when I have a TBH small cell nuc for sale I will let you know in case you didn't find any.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    405

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    I just started beekeeping this summer with a top bar hive. The local guy that I bought my bees from took my bars, that were the same size as a Lang, and stuck them in there to draw out the comb. Then I took the bees home to my hive, and they have been pretty happy. Got my hive from Beeline Apiary, if you are looking for a source Beeline@ABCMailbox.net. I think MB talks about the bees needing a generation or two to regress down in size, but I didn't notice that on the comb my bees were building.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,462

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    It's hard to predict how quickly they will get back to normal size. I've had standard packages that built 4.7mm on their first try. I've had others that built 5.1mm on their first try. Those took a coulpe of turnovers of comb to get down to 4.9mm or smaller. I think local stock is just as important. If you can buy bees that are surviving and producting in your area they will probably do the best.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Madisonville,TN
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    Brad
    Fat bee man Don Kuchenmeister in Lula, GA states that his bees are all small cell. I know he sells packages and nucs. The packages are pickup only. I was considering buying some packages from him to start some small cell top bars as well. Goggle dixie bee supply, that is is website.
    16 y, 30 hives ULBN, treat when needed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Starting a top bar hive on small cells

    Brad,

    I don't what which supplier you've found so I don't know if this is the same one, but you might try Gold Star Honeybees. Her packages are treatment-free and raised on small foundation.

    Good luck with your new passion!

    Tom

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