The Law may have been written when "Langstroth type" was used to differentiate a removable frame hive from a Log Gum or Box Hive (a box of four sides, a floor and a pitched roof which a swarm was gathered into). Gums and Box Hives were quite common on into the 20th century in many parts of the country. But, of course, Gums and Box Hives don't have removable frames making them uninspectable. Maybe that is what the Law was written for, not TBHs. Since TBHs haven't been around all that long. Writers of Apiary Laws may not even know what Top Bar Hives are.
>Would having a 10 frame foundationless deep not be considered langstroth-type? I doubt it.
That's what Langstroth had. There was no foundation then. The frames were not self spacing either (that was invented by Hoffman later).
>What about a 8-frame one?
Those were around in Langstroth's time as were 12 frame ones. 8 frame hives have been around continuously since the late 1800s.
> 4-frame one?
Nucs were around in Langstroth's time.
> 20-frame one?
Don't remember seeing one of those from his time, but I think the same principle applies as with 8 or 12 frame ones...
Danielle- I live in Alabama, U.S. I have been keeping bees in Langstroth hives for 3 years. I have become interested in tbh, lately. Here's the issue: I called our state apiary inspector and asked if tbh were legal (at the insistence of members of our beekeepers association), and was surprised when I was told that they most definitely are not! The inspector, who I completely respect and who really knows his facts, says that tbh are not able to be inspected b/c the bees attach the comb to the sides of the hive. Therefore, he cannot inspect them, they do not have movable frames, and are illegal.
Should I have underlined the word "should"? I guess someone needs some more educating.
Maybe this beekeepers association should invite the State Apiary Inspector to see a TBH and to see that it is inspectable.
One thing I do know, something which has been enforced in NY, is that a Langstroth type hive w/ frames in it wherein the bees crossed combed their brood nest was not allowed to remain in that condition because even though the hive had frames in a Langstroth type hive the brood combs were not inspectable, the frames were not removable. It's the removability that is most important.
Bees propolize boxes together in a Lang style hive. If the criteria for a hive to be "inspectable" means without using an appropriate tool to separate boxes, then Langs with more than one box are not legal either!
TBHs are easily inspectable even if combs are attached to the sidewalls in places if you use an appropriate tool. A bread knife works well to detach the combs from the sidewalls.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
More education is what is needed.
I once had a warden begin to arrest me for possession of 2 inch quahogs.( I had a couple of bushels.) Trouble was 2 inch was the legal size. Sometimes they are just plain wrong.
>The inspector, who I completely respect and who really knows his facts, says that tbh are not able to be inspected b/c the bees attach the comb to the sides of the hive.
I inspect them all the time. As Radar said, you just have to use the right tools in the right way, but usually after I've inspected them, they don't reattach the sides anyway, so it's very easy to inspect. If you let the bees go wild and don't correct messed up comb, however, it may not be inspectable, but I've seen Langstroths that were not either for the same reasons...
Can't really say about other states but I have spoken to our State Apiary Inspector here in TN and he's just fine with TBH's. He likes them. He makes plain that if you don't keep attachment to a minimum, he will still remove the bars for inspection & you have to deal with any mess. I have no problem with that.
All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.
This argument raged here for several years. Our law states hives must be kept in hives with removable frames.
Eventually a policy statement was released which said the top bar can be legally regarded as the "frame" on which the comb is built. IE, the frame did not have to be all encompassing. Examples of legal definitions of other frames from non beekeeping applications were cited were the frame had something built on it or supported by it, but was not necessarily all encompassing.
This seems to have ended the arguments.
I do part time inspecting and TBH's are easily inspectable provided they are not cross combed. If combs are joined to the box it is totally simple to run the hive tool up each side first so the comb can be lifted out.
"Thinking Inside The Box"