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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A Langstroth with natural comb is just as natural as a TBH, perhaps more so as it is vertical, like a tree. TBH's being promoted as more natural, is more verbosity, than fact.
    Too true but often used as a reason to go "natural" in a TBH. Its how you handle the bees rather than the box they are in. Personally I like horizontal Langs with a Warre quilt on top.
    Cheers
    Rob

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Horizontals are a great compromise. I am surprised more beekeepers don't use them.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I will next build a Tanzanian, built to use Lang compatible top bars, which will let me move frames between types. I built and used one TBH and later moved the hive into a Lang, made a total mess. Read up on the Tanz. hives, all the beauty of TBH with benefits!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I've got 6 lang hives and like them. I just finished building a horizontal lang that holds about 35 frames. I like the idea of being able to increase hive space without adding an entire box to them. I made it with three small inner covers so if it ever gets compeltely full, i don't have to deal with all the bees at once. I made a gabled roof for it to avoid water sitting on top and hinged the entire top so it can be tilted out of the way instead of lifted for inspection. I havent decided if I'm going to add an observation window. i have a hunch it will just get covered in "yuck" and be worthelss after a season or two. I"m not a real big fan of cleaning windows, so i know it will end up being neglected.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    KP, I did like my windows, but you are right, they were messed up soonest.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gibsonburg, OH, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    If there is a club near where you live check it out. Having an adviser nearby is a good thing to have. Club members can show you first hand how things work.


    Thanks. I do plan on joining the local club

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gibsonburg, OH, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Thank you so much for all the helpful replies. As far as not feeding sugar water, I did not mean to say I wouldn't feed the bees at all, I should have clarified that I didn't want to feed processed sugar water. I thought feeding honey back to them (diluted?) would be better.

    It sounds like a Langstroth with a starter strip might be the way we will go. Where can I learn more about that?

    As far as the weight and our age, I am 42 and my husband is 52 so not a big issue at present (unless I change my mind when I have experienced it ;>) but could be in future. I have thought about using mediums for the brood chamber but am not sure of the possible disadvantages. I plan to use mediums for the supers.

    As far as what we would like to do business-wise, there are so many possibilities and with no experience it's hard to know, but I am interested in cut comb honey.

    Perhaps I should have replied to these questions as replies to each person's post and not all in one, if so, please feel free to advise as I am new to the forum style and its ettiquette

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by gflack71 View Post
    As far as the weight and our age, I am 42 and my husband is 52 so not a big issue at present (unless I change my mind when I have experienced it ;>) but could be in future. I have thought about using mediums for the brood chamber but am not sure of the possible disadvantages. I plan to use mediums for the supers.
    A local historical museum has volunteers work their beeyards, overseen by a staff member. Before I got too deep in over my head, I spent six months working the yards with a few folks. Gave me an opportunity to see equipment in use and to spend a LOT of time talking to other folks about bees. Seeing the operation going was also invaluable!

    I'm your age... and frankly, I don't wish to lift a 60+lb super repeatedly! I'm already lifting 50lb bags of chicken feed...why put more stressors on my shoulders than needed? That's ultimately why I chose to build a TBH instead of a Lang. I lift a frame at a time - it's about 8lbs when full. Yes, I have to check in on the girls more frequently - twice a week or so....but that's what the observation windows are for!

    I also am not interested in storing equipment in the off season. Seeing what a mess the museum had in it's storage areas - supers of all sizes, frames of all sizes, frames with comb in them, inner covers, outer covers, queen excluders - ARGH! All I saw was a lot of dollar signs. This stuff is pricey.

    I built 2 tbh's for about $45. Windows allow me to see what's going on long before I crack a lid. Having just a few inches open at a time is so much better for the bees and for me - for opening a Lang hive, you've got the ENTIRE hive lookin' at you! That was intimidating to me.

    The only items I store for my beekeeping hobby are: jacket with veil; gloves; smoker; hive tools; plastic buckets I use for feeders and some left-over wax foundation for starter strips. It all takes up about 2sq feet of space on a shelf in my back hall closet. Everything else is in the hive. Tidy, together, everything's in a known location.

    I priced out building a long Lang hive (it's a hive that uses Lang frames instead of top bars)...and for the frames alone, I was looking at about $70 to build one 30 frame hive. I'd still consider doing this...but not currently.

    Good luck! Know why you're getting into this business. Then go with what your conviction tells you.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gibsonburg, OH, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I'm your age... and frankly, I don't wish to lift a 60+lb super repeatedly! I'm already lifting 50lb bags of chicken feed...why put more stressors on my shoulders than needed? That's ultimately why I chose to build a TBH instead of a Lang. I lift a frame at a time - it's about 8lbs when full. Yes, I have to check in on the girls more frequently - twice a week or so....but that's what the observation windows are for!

    I also am not interested in storing equipment in the off season. Seeing what a mess the museum had in it's storage areas - supers of all sizes, frames of all sizes, frames with comb in them, inner covers, outer covers, queen excluders - ARGH! All I saw was a lot of dollar signs. This stuff is pricey.

    I built 2 tbh's for about $45. Windows allow me to see what's going on long before I crack a lid. Having just a few inches open at a time is so much better for the bees and for me - for opening a Lang hive, you've got the ENTIRE hive lookin' at you! That was intimidating to me.


    Thanks for sharing. Lots of good points! Any recommends for books or websites to learn more about Top Bar Hives?

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,492

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I understand that you may need to work topbars more frequently, which makes them less practical for outyards. The more frequent trip to the outyards adds to the time drain.

    However, is it possible to do what needs to be done on a per-hive basis faster with TBHs, since you just take off the top and its all right there?

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Five hundred bucks?!!
    I remember this build from last year, Pat had to do all stainless hardware and a bunch of other specialty stuff.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    southwest colorado
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I would caution you in feeding back honey unless it is your own bee's honey .In the coming years that would be easy for you to do , just freeze a few frames in the fall , but in your first season you cant . If you go to the store and get it , it might be honey , or not , and it could carry things in it that you don't want to introduce into the hives . Processed honey is not good for them either .

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by Life is Good! View Post
    ...and for the frames alone, I was looking at about $70 to build one 30 frame hive..
    Those were very expensive frames.

    They're usually a lot less if you buy them unassembled.

    Lat season I used both conventional 8 frame equipment and horizontal hives. I actually built a top bar hive, but never put any bees in it. For a backyard beekeeper like me, the horizontal hive makes the most sense, as far as I can tell. You can buy nucs to fit a horizontal hive, but it's harder to find them for a top bar. In practical terms, most folks end up using a package to start a top bar, which in my opinion is not as good a way to start a hive.

    Another problem with top bars, at least in my research of the question, is that the bees tend to attach the combs, which makes monitoring the hive more difficult. If I'd had to saw the bars loose every time I wanted to check the combs, I'd probably not have done it as often as I should.

    Anyway, my novice opinion is that any advantage claimed for top bars can also be claimed for horizontal hives, except for the cost of the frames. And there are additional advantages-- availability of nucs, use of conventional nuc equipment to make increase, use of extractors, no attachment, larger comb area per frame/bar, less risk of comb collapse in hot weather, especially if you use wire or mono to string the frames.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Get lang hives and learn those. If you really want to try a top-bar, do it later.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Crivitz, WI
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by gflack71 View Post
    Any recommends for books or websites to learn more about Top Bar Hives?
    These are the books that I read, from the library, and then purchased for future reference:
    The Practical Beekeeper Beekeeping Naturally, Michael Bush
    Top-Bar Beekeeping, Les Crowder
    Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping Wisdom and Pleasure Combined, Wyatt A. Mangum (Library did not have this one, took a chance and purchased it, worked out for me)
    The Barefoot Beekeeper, Phil Chandler (He is a little biased against Langstroth hives)

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greater Hartford area, CT
    Posts
    305

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by gflack71 View Post
    Any recommends for books or websites to learn more about Top Bar Hives?
    Here are some books I've read:
    Top-Bar Beekeeping, Les Crowder
    Top-Bar Hive Beekeeping Wisdom and Pleasure Combined, Wyatt A. Mangum (Pricey, but I think it's a really good read)
    The Barefoot Beekeeper, Phil Chandler
    The Thinking Beekeeper by Christy Hemenway

    (Note: Phil Chandler and Christy Hemenway of Goldstar Honeybees are very pro-TBH. You will not likely hear anything positive about Langs from them.)

    I also recommend the following online sources:
    Michael Bush's website: http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
    OutofaBlueSky on YouTube
    GoldStarHoneybees on YouTube
    Also, do a search for Sam Comfort on YouTube.

    Oh, and this site. This is an amazing source of info on TBHs.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,017

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitveggirl View Post
    Note: Phil Chandler and Christy Hemenway of Goldstar Honeybees are very pro-TBH. You will not likely hear anything positive about Langs from them.
    To put it mildly.

    The Barefoot Beekeeper would be a more useful book if it spent less ink and paper criticizing everybody else and gave more information about actual top bar beekeeping. In my opinion it is light on more than just basic level top bar and general beekeeping method info and I would not recommend it. Wyatt Manguns book is the best and probably the only one you need (for top bars not langs). Of course that is reflected in the price but you get what you pay for.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 01-26-2014 at 04:02 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lakeland, FL USA
    Posts
    823

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    .

    Why learn first from Langs and then do TBHs later? My inspector mentioned the same thing, that's it's good to learn about bee space first from Langs, as if TBHs don't have bee space.

    Believe me, you'll learn PLENTY from owning TBHs first.



    .
    www.savebeesflorida.com (Honeybee removals and top bar hives)

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    Wyatt Magnum is this best on the subject of top bar beekeeping. Full of level headed info that is based on fact rather than a fad mmovement. I am all for top bars and will continue to use the couple I fool with but th bees can do as good or better in langs in my experiance

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth

    I've got a bunch Langs, and I'm in the business of honey production. I was given a TBH by a wealthy friend because it was "all natural and going to save the bees from CCD." At least, that's what they garnered out of the sales information.

    I've murdered 5 or 6 swarms in my TBH, only one swarm surviving the winter and then it went queenless. It's been a challenge for me, and with more than a few years of keeping bees, I feel like a failure or a darn fool, often times both. It's been a humbling experience.

    Some of our locals who started in beekeeping with hopes of natural protocols went with the TBHs. They are now switching to Langs so they can get some honey. I've not given up, but I'm not drinking the Kool-aid. I was given the impression TBHs were easy as pie and worry-free.

    I may look up Wyatt Magnum's book. I've read a bunch of Phil Chandler's info but it didn't seem to help.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO https://www.createspace.com/4106626
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

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