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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Spanaway, WA
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    Default My new top bar bait hive

    As an experiment to lean how to make a top bar hive(TBH), I've built a new bait hive. On my actual hive I'm going to put a screened bottom with detachable bottom board to make checking mite levels easier, so I built one into this too--not sure why

    IMG_20140216_204810.jpg
    IMG_20140216_204854.jpg

    One question I had was about comb guide. I've been reading that keeping comb on track is a top priority in o TBH. With that in mind I made some comb guide by making miter cuts on a 1x8. Does it look like a good size shape? The cross section is an equal lateral triangle.
    IMG_20140216_210733.jpg
    IMG_20140216_210554.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
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    71

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by cnt View Post
    On my actual hive I'm going to put a screened bottom with detachable bottom board to make checking mite levels easier, so I built one into this too--not sure why
    It's called 'practice'!

    Hive looks good. Seems to be missing something....oh, wait - bees! But not until this weather changes.....funny how busy these boards get in the wintertime....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Lizard Creek, Louisiana
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    377

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    NICE....I like dat me! :}

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
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    417

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by cnt View Post
    As an experiment to lean how to make a top bar hive(TBH), I've built a new bait hive. On my actual hive I'm going to put a screened bottom with detachable bottom board to make checking mite levels easier, so I built one into this too--not sure why

    One question I had was about comb guide. I've been reading that keeping comb on track is a top priority in o TBH. With that in mind I made some comb guide by making miter cuts on a 1x8. Does it look like a good size shape? The cross section is an equal lateral triangle.
    The trap looks good cnt, and your top bar looks good too. I use wedged bars, Popsicle sticks and I've had good luck with a piece of string covered with a dribble of bees wax. Counting the top bars your trap is probably about 40 liters which everyone says is the sweet spot for size. I too have built my traps like mini top bar hives but I made my ends out of 3/8 plywood and cut them with the angle of the sides. This makes them much lighter and easier to hang in a tree or whatever. Also I built them so my top bars are 17" long which enables me to convert them and place them in a Langstroth. Happy trapping.
    Colino
    A Bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it rains.- Robert Frost

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Spanaway, WA
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    138

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Colino View Post
    .... Counting the top bars your trap is probably about 40 liters which everyone says is the sweet spot for size...
    39.5 liters, but who's counting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
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    193

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Top bars look luv'ly. You've definitely spent more time on them than I do. I use the table saw to cut alternating upright and 45o cuts on old timber creating triangle strips which then cut to length and tack to the topbars. I have also used dowels cut longways on a bandsaw to give half-rounds. Provided something is hanging lower than the topbar and has wax on it you've done your job. McCartney Taylor just uses pieces of string soaked in beeswax and they work for him.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    I use the wedges as well. They work fine, but I have had some cross comb if the spacing wasn't right or a gave them too many bars at once.

    I am now putting in bars with no wax. There is an opinion, that I have yet to prove by experience, that hot wax doesn't adhere as well as that placed by bees. From his videos, I gather that McCarney has had some of the wax strings come loose.

    Are you using 1 1/4" top bars?
    Clif

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Great work, by the way. I'm looking to make a couple of top bar traps like this soon. Also a 4 way mating nuc of the same design, but large enough for four 3 bar nucs with associated follower boards.
    Clif

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Spanaway, WA
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    138

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Clif Schlicher View Post
    Are you using 1 1/4" top bars?
    Right now they're all just cutdown 1x2 so they're 1 1/2" Before I add guide to all of them i'm going to shave off 1/4" from about half of them following Michael Bush's design.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by cnt View Post
    Right now they're all just cutdown 1x2 so they're 1 1/2" Before I add guide to all of them i'm going to shave off 1/4" from about half of them following Michael Bush's design.
    I thought I read that Michael was using inch and a quarter with shims when he wanted extra width. Maybe that was someone else. How about it Michael?
    Clif

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Laredo, Tx., USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    could you share the dimensions of your bait hive, Id like to build one for a mini num tbh

    thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Spanaway, WA
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    138

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by hydro662 View Post
    could you share the dimensions of your bait hive, Id like to build one for a mini num tbh

    thanks
    Sure. Its essentially Michael Bush's design but 2" wider. Idea being that 17" is the interior bar to bar distance in a langstroth and 19" is the length of the top bar on a langstroth frame. This way if I want, I can nail vertical and bottom bars to my top bar and fit it into a langstroth, or in my case an observation hive. I made the interior 20" deep, which was somewhat arbitrary. If you have an idea of how many and how thick bars you want then I'd tweak the depth appropriately.

    Edit: I should add that the sides are 11 7/8 because I was able to find "paint ready" 1x12 panels that were that size. A normal 1x12 in these parts is 11 1/4" wide.

    nolidassembly.jpg

    As far as top bar width's, If his website is an indication of what he does, Michael Bush either uses 1.25" bars with .25" shims as needed or a combination of 1.25" and 1.5" bars, or does all of the above.
    Last edited by cnt; 02-21-2014 at 05:15 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    That's a very nice looking hive. Why use it as a trap hive when it will make a very nice nuc? The wedges on the bars look fine. Mine are pieces of wood that are securely nailed into the groove.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Spanaway, WA
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    138

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    That's a very nice looking hive. Why use it as a trap hive when it will make a very nice nuc?
    Mostly because I lost my bees over winter and have nothing to put into a nuc. I'll probably keep out as a bait hive until the end swarm season or if I'm lucky split into it as a nuc if we have a really good spring.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: My new top bar bait hive

    I find I crush fewer bees with thinner bars, but the wedge is fine. I wouldn't bother with waxing them. The bees don't care about that as far as a guide. If the bars are too narrow you will get cross comb, same with too wide. 1.25 inches works well for me. Last year one of my hives would pull straight down from the comb guide, but for some reason they favored one side of the bar on one end, the other side on the other end. I put in a very narrow wedge, about 1/32" on one side, and about 1/4 inch or maybe 3/8" on the other end and everything after that bar was arrow straight.

    Next year I'm going to start transitioning out all the old think bars and only use them in swarm traps.

    I made about 18 TBH for traps and nucs, as well as some lang boxes. Almost all of the TBH's were made with 1 inch pine so they could be used as nucs later. I made a few out of 3/4 inch plywood that could be used for splits, but found the 3/4" ply was heavier than pine, so I ditched that.

    I didn't have much success last year, the only one that got any bees was an empty 2 footer in the back yard that really wasn't baited. I think the proximity to another hive was enough of a draw to get them to check it out. This winter I've made a couple 2 footers and will make a couple more.

    Last year I spread the boxes far and wide, this year I'm going to keep them all closer to home. And I will get to use a few of the boxes for some splits that I will make.

    My club is putting in a community apiary, and I hope to catch a swarm in that area to populate that hive.

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