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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Clinton, TN
    Posts
    40

    Default Built a TBH and have questions

    I built my first TBH but have a couple of concerns. Here are some pics and questions:

    Side view:
    topbarsideview_zpseccc41db.jpg

    End view:
    topbarendview_zpsc848e9e6.jpg

    Top bars I am wondering if these look ok also using 1.5 inch cedar from home depot to make will that be too wide? Will the nails cause problems?
    topbarsbottom_zps6382c42f.jpg

    Here is the big question my top bars are higher up than the end of the hive. How would I make a top for this just lay some tin directly on the top bars and weigh down with a brick or do I need to build a square frame around the whole thing to make space between the top bars and roof?
    topbars_zpsc2d9d00a.jpg


    Thanks for the help I need it! I am new and have bees ordered which I pick up April 15th.

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    I wouldn't be concerned about the nail heads, the bees will build around them. Same for the roof - a piece of tin will be fine. As far as the bar widths, you can read Michael Bush's comments about that here:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm#barwidth

    I would take advantage of that difference in height between the bars and and hive end and use that to incorporate a top entrance. Leave a gap between the endwall and the first bar and avoid drilling holes in your hive. You can call it a design feature.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    I agree with Rader. The nails shouldn't be an issue. I also use top entrances as Rader describes. The roof can be almost anything that keeps the rain out of the hive. A corrugated roofing metal top can be handy if it is wider than the hive. You can tie it on with string or rope, make it dome shaped, and put feeders under it. I typically just use plywood or cement board for my tops.

    I have top bars with triangular cross sections like this. I found that the bees make a very small connection to the top bar. I now recommend just a flat spline on the top bar 3/8" wide and extending 1/4" below the top bar. This gives the comb a stronger attachment to the bar.

    On some of my hives I made a top with a frame and put some 1" Styrofoam insulation inside to help protect from the sun. If there is space between the bars and the roof, you can build top feeders for sugar and patties. In extremely hot climates some protection from the sun helps avoid comb collapse. You may find in the heat of summer you will want to give the hive a little shade. Just put another cover on top of the normal cover and a couple bricks between covers to provide a ventilated airspace.

    Ted

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Clinton, TN
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    Thanks taydeko I like the tip on the additional top cover with bricks to help air flow in the summer might need that trick it does get hot sometimes here.

    Hey Rader I am from Rogersville and my wife is from Russellville so I know the Greene Co area pretty good. My dad runs a radio station still in Rogersville called WRGS and my father-in-law owns Wolfe Garage in Whitesburg he does tractor repairs. Used to go to Augustinos when it was over there from time to time.

    If I want to make the top entrance do I need some kind of spacer there to enforce the gap size or just eyeball it? Also would the gap they come in and out be the length of the bar or just a crack on one side?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    I screwed a small block into each sidewall of my TBH to act as a backstop so I didn't accidentally close off the entrance by getting the bars to close.

    My top entrances are generally full length year round. I do not have open screen bottoms or other lower holes in my hives so the top hole is both entrance and ventilation.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    >Top bars I am wondering if these look ok also using 1.5 inch cedar from home depot to make will that be too wide?

    For the honey storage, it will be just right. For brood it will be .25 inch too wide. I'd make a few extra and cut half of them down.

    >Will the nails cause problems?

    Not for the bees. You may find them frustrating when you are scraping them down to wood someday after they went queenless and the wax moths took over... but that could be a long time from now... I'd rather use a nail set and make them flush so my hive tool won't catch on them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Clinton, TN
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    Thanks Rader and Michael. I will try a 3/8 inch gap at the front which I read in the link posted above from Michael's page.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Hardin Cty, KY, USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamBeal View Post
    If I want to make the top entrance do I need some kind of spacer there to enforce the gap size or just eyeball it? Also would the gap they come in and out be the length of the bar or just a crack on one side?

    Thanks!
    If you are building TBH hives and your method for determining the length was the total length of all the bars added up, you forgot one crucial measurement. Your first and last bars should be 1/4 inch wide to maintain the proper bee space. you can make a top entrance by leaving the front one out, That's advice I followed from Michael a looooong time ago. Again just keep it simple.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Mozambique, Mozambique
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    Hi Guys

    Hein from Mozambique here, I have some top bar hives with a corrougated sheet for a top mounted on a wooden frame with a small latch which sits on either end of the hive, just a small piece fo wood loosely nailed into the top of the hive, quite nice for keeping the top on during windy times. All my bars are the same size and it doesn't seem to make any difference, but then we have really mild winters, I find that the bees tend to block any cracks or spaces between the bars with propolis, makes it interesting to get them out. Something you have to watch out for is the bees bouilding comb diagonally across the bars, this can be a real pain in tha butt. I susally put a strip fo beeswax along the bar to try and give them direction. Just cut a groove along the length of the bar and press the wax int it. I also made a feeder by attaching a plywood box to one of the frames, and sealing it with wax.

    Hope some of this is useful

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,956

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    > watch out for is the bees building comb diagonally across the bars

    You may be interested in Michael Bush's comments about different comb guides:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundat....htm#combguide
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Built a TBH and have questions

    nails.. no problem.
    roof.. no idea for your climate, my roof is pitched with space for a feeder or insulation. The roof frame sits on the top of the legs at each end. In my opinion you would be better to have some way to insulate the top to allow the bees to more easily maintain an internal temperture.

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