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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    I posted not long ago about Top Bar vs. Langstroth hives. I am still trying to decide between the two and am reading and learning. Just wondered if someone could compare the Tanzanian Top Bar that Michael Bush talks about (I like that it is compatible with mediums) and Les Crowders design? When I read Les Crowder's book, that design sounded great but I am also now reading Michael Bush's book and really respect what he is saying. So just trying to decide which Top Bar seems a better design. I am getting 3 complete hives this spring that are all medium 8 frames (based on Bush's recommend in his book) and I will be transitioning to foundationless but want to try Top Bar hives also. Thanks so much for all the help already given in my last post!

  2. #2
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    If you are are also going to have medium frames Lang hives as well, I would make the top bar hives "long hives" that are able to accept those medium frames. Then if you choose, you can just use top bars in the long hives, but also be able to move comb between the the TBHs and conventional hives.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    If you are are also going to have medium frames Lang hives as well, I would make the top bar hives "long hives" that are able to accept those medium frames. Then if you choose, you can just use top bars in the long hives, but also be able to move comb between the the TBHs and conventional hives.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshorizontalhives.htm
    Thanks for the help. I found that page after posting this question and I think it might be the solution I need. But I can't get a good look at them from the photos. I am wondering how the bees travel from box to box when the opening is on top? Is there any more info online? Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    It depends on what you want to do. If you have medium hives or want to be able to use standard frames, you'll probably appreciate the long horizontal Langstroth hive. You can still make top bars for it and use them if you want. If you just want to do top bars, either will do. Les Crowder's design is pretty simple to build. The long Langstroth has a frame rest to cut in. Not too hard, but a bit more complicated.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    It depends on what you want to do. If you have medium hives or want to be able to use standard frames, you'll probably appreciate the long horizontal Langstroth hive. You can still make top bars for it and use them if you want. If you just want to do top bars, either will do. Les Crowder's design is pretty simple to build. The long Langstroth has a frame rest to cut in. Not too hard, but a bit more complicated.
    Thanks. Do you know where I could get specifics on how to do the long Langstroth. I am new to beekeeping in general and just trying to figure out how I would like to do it so that I have less "undoing" to do but since it is all new any "outside the box" ideas are harder to grasp because there is less step by step for beginners. Hope that makes sense. I am really enjoying your book and appreciate all the info that you have shared on your website for free! I do like the hardcopy format also though

    Theresa

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Midland, MI
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    595

    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    i made a long-lang over the winter. it is not complicated at all. one simply makes the boxes much wider than normal. Mine holds something like 28 or 30 frames. i outfitted it with three inner covers, so when i open the lid, i can remove only one of the inner covers and expose fewer of the bees. it is also handy as a one piece inner cover would be larger and more prone to warping. the benefits of the long lang are written about in many places online. I'm 32 and in good health, so the weight of a hive is not a big concern to me. I think the big advantage is that I'll be able to increase the effective hive size in a better way. rather than adding an entire deep, i can simply move the follower board back a bit and add a frame or two as I see fit.

    The downside is that the bees won't have the vertically oriented hive that is seemingly more natural to them. If nothing else, it will be a fun learning tool for me. Then again, I'm a bit silly in that I also wove a skep to try out. We'll see how that goes for me too

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    >Thanks. Do you know where I could get specifics on how to do the long Langstroth.

    I took two one by eights 46 1/2" long and cut the frame rabbets 3/4" deep (vertical) and 3/8" wide (horizontal). This is easy enough with two cuts on a table saw, although I think the one on my web site I cut with a skil saw before I bought the table saw. A skill saw would require a much steadier and practiced hand. The ends are two one by eights 19 7/8" long. The joint is a simple butt joint. I glue it with exterior carpenters glue and screw it with deck screws (at least 2"). This makes a box that is 48" long and 19 7/8" wide and 7 1/4" deep (the 7 1/4" is not cut, just the width of the one by eight). Cut a piece of that coroplast (political sign material?) or 1/8" luan plywood that is 48" long and 19 /8" wide for the floor. Nail it to the bottom. You can make your own lid or use standard migratory lids. You'll need three standard lids. If you make your own, I'd make at least three smaller ones so you don't have to open it all up at once when you work it. You could even cut a pice of plywood that will fit with one piece and then cut a bunch of scraps of wood for smaller pieces for inner covers.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gibsonburg, OH, USA
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Thanks. Do you know where I could get specifics on how to do the long Langstroth.

    I took two one by eights 46 1/2" long and cut the frame rabbets 3/4" deep (vertical) and 3/8" wide (horizontal). This is easy enough with two cuts on a table saw, although I think the one on my web site I cut with a skil saw before I bought the table saw. A skill saw would require a much steadier and practiced hand. The ends are two one by eights 19 7/8" long. The joint is a simple butt joint. I glue it with exterior carpenters glue and screw it with deck screws (at least 2"). This makes a box that is 48" long and 19 7/8" wide and 7 1/4" deep (the 7 1/4" is not cut, just the width of the one by eight). Cut a piece of that coroplast (political sign material?) or 1/8" luan plywood that is 48" long and 19 /8" wide for the floor. Nail it to the bottom. You can make your own lid or use standard migratory lids. You'll need three standard lids. If you make your own, I'd make at least three smaller ones so you don't have to open it all up at once when you work it. You could even cut a pice of plywood that will fit with one piece and then cut a bunch of scraps of wood for smaller pieces for inner covers.
    Thanks so much for the details! Just what I needed. Thanks KPeacock for your description, that is helpful also!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Thanks. Do you know where I could get specifics on how to do the long Langstroth.

    I took two one by eights 46 1/2" long and cut the frame rabbets 3/4" deep (vertical) and 3/8" wide (horizontal). This is easy enough with two cuts on a table saw, although I think the one on my web site I cut with a skil saw before I bought the table saw. A skill saw would require a much steadier and practiced hand. The ends are two one by eights 19 7/8" long. The joint is a simple butt joint. I glue it with exterior carpenters glue and screw it with deck screws (at least 2"). This makes a box that is 48" long and 19 7/8" wide and 7 1/4" deep (the 7 1/4" is not cut, just the width of the one by eight). Cut a piece of that coroplast (political sign material?) or 1/8" luan plywood that is 48" long and 19 /8" wide for the floor. Nail it to the bottom. You can make your own lid or use standard migratory lids. You'll need three standard lids. If you make your own, I'd make at least three smaller ones so you don't have to open it all up at once when you work it. You could even cut a pice of plywood that will fit with one piece and then cut a bunch of scraps of wood for smaller pieces for inner covers.
    If I'm doing my math correctly this plan would be for medium frames correct? Any harm in using 1x10's and going with deeps instead? Also, How many frames do you find it takes to fill taking into account slightly larger spacing?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    > Any harm in using 1x10's and going with deeps instead?

    1x10s are actually 9.25" wide. If you cut a frame rabbet in the 1x10s, then deep frames (9.125" tall) will not have proper bee space between the frame bottom bar and the bottom of the hive. If you want to maintain bee space, 1x12s could work.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Lizard Creek, Louisiana
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    380

    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Simply make/have them all :}

    Dat's how I roll lol

    Bee Hives IMHO are like women, try them ALL eventually you'll find you'll find one or two you'll like:}

    [IMG] windows 7 screenshot[/IMG]

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > Any harm in using 1x10's and going with deeps instead?

    1x10s are actually 9.25" wide. If you cut a frame rabbet in the 1x10s, then deep frames (9.125" tall) will not have proper bee space between the frame bottom bar and the bottom of the hive. If you want to maintain bee space, 1x12s could work.
    Ah good point. Forgot about cutting a rabbet and the height loss that creates. Is there a reason people go with mediums over deeps aside from total hive weight when it is full? I would think since you aren't lifting boxes to harvest the deep frames would give more surface area. I was interested in going with deeps so I could swap them in and out of my observation hive as needed/desired.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    This thread has some photos of a horizontal deep hive by Lauri.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...al-langstroths

    Personally, being cheap, I'd glue a additional piece (scrap) onto the too-narrow 1x10 to make the board wide enough to use for deeps.

    Either Titebond II glue (weatherproof) or III (waterproof) should be suitable for this kind of application.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    When I built my long hives, I used solid timber stringers and ply. I offset the top side stringer to form the frame rest. This works very well. I'm building a couple more for our place in NY, but these will have foam insulation infilled between the stringers.

    Honestly, I can't see any advantage to the topbar hive over the horizontal Lang, except for the cost difference between frames and top bars. Everything that's good about top bars you also get with long hives, and manipulating the comb is much easier. Plus, if you have a real boomer of a hive, you can super a long hive much more easily than a top bar.

    I really can't understand why long hives are not more popular with backyard beekeepers. They may not be suitable for migratory beekeeping, or beekeeping on a larger scale, but for the backyard, they seem so much better than conventional vertical hives.

    openhive.jpg

    openlonghive.jpg

    colorfulyard.jpg
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Canada BC Delta
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    451

    Default Re: Michael Bush Tanzanian Top Bar vs. Les Crowder's design

    Personally, being cheap, I'd glue a additional piece (scrap) onto the too-narrow 1x10 to make the board wide enough to use for deeps.
    Or you could make a bottom board to make up the needed depth.

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