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  1. #1
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    Default Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    After having some experience with the KTBH, trying out a Lang Nuc, and reading some of Beekeeping for all by Abbe Warre I decided to build a new Nuc (and eventually hives) that combines the parts of each that I like. I didn't really care for the Lang but can see some advantages especially for Honey harvest so I sized the new nuc to take two Lang 5 frame supers (I've got mediums for it but it could have been any of the sizes). I really like the KTBH for the brood comb area, a viewing window, and having it up at a nice working height so I used that as the box. I like the idea of quilt boxes so I put a Warre style roof and quilt boxes on top. In order for the bees to have access to the supers I will have to make new top bars and route passages on the sides but for now I transferred one of my colonies into the box with their existing bars. When spring hits I'll start feeding in the new bars that will allow them to travel to the super when the time comes. If the bees don't like it I can skip the super idea and leave it like I have it right now (a KTBH with a Warre quilt box and roof).
    DSC03339.JPGDSC03340.JPGDSC03338.JPGDSC03337.JPG
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  2. #2
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    Dec 2013
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    Lizard Creek, Louisiana
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    377

    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Groovy...

    What's the wire/electrical for?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Snookie View Post
    Groovy...

    What's the wire/electrical for?
    I had another colony in this nuc that didn't have a big enough cluster but I wanted to keep the queen. It was divided into two and on the weak colony side I had a thermostat and a terrarium heater. I messed up when I added some bees from the good colony (didn't cage the queen) to keep the weak one going and they ended up balling and killing the queen. It is supposed to get cold again for a while so I just moved it to this colonies cluster and left it on to see what they do. Kinda interesting seeing how warm they keep the cluster. In general they keep it warm enough that the heater doesn't kick in. That electrical cord is also why the nuc is so close to the house. When it is going to warm up again (but before they are flying again) I'll take it out and move the nuc to where it usually sits.

    On one or two of Michael Bush's posts he mentions warming his nucs with a very low set heater and that is where I got the idea.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  4. #4
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Interesting, I've never seen someone claim to combine the THREE designs!

    Couple things from a management point of view, probably you already know this but just in case, when you put a super on top they will not move in if it is totally foundationless, you'll need 2 or 3 combs in it that reach all the way down to the bee cluster, to act as a ladder for the bees to move onto and up to the top of the next box.

    The brood area seems small, the bees will be very keen to move into any boxes added long as they are set up right, but they will likely expand the brood nest into these boxes as well.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Isle of Wight, VA
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    510

    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    I did something similar as a test for this year. KTBH with super. I will contain an established colony so I don't expect to be getting into the brood box very often. Super is heavy enough without it being full of honey. I'm also going to try getting them to build comb in the glass jars.

    The super is offset from the bottom box by 3/8" for the bees to use as an entrance on the right side. Once they get into the super, there are bars with holes in them to get down into the brood chamber. I don't know if I'll use both bars or just one bar, or cork a few holes. If the honey super is not in place, the bees will still use the top entrance and go between the roof and the brood box.

    IMG_1862_zps34b422a9.jpg
    IMG_1858_zpsddf938f9.jpg
    IMG_1859_zps18996a3e.jpg

  6. #6
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Couple things from a management point of view, probably you already know this but just in case, when you put a super on top they will not move in if it is totally foundationless, you'll need 2 or 3 combs in it that reach all the way down to the bee cluster, to act as a ladder for the bees to move onto and up to the top of the next box.

    The brood area seems small, the bees will be very keen to move into any boxes added long as they are set up right, but they will likely expand the brood nest into these boxes as well.
    Thank you for the insight! (By the way, thank you for the queen rearing method you posted. Very informative and helpful!)

    I did think I might have to put at least one comb up there but it is good to know I may need to put more. The overwintering nuc this replaced had 10 bars at 1 3/8" (average) wide but this nuc version has room for 14 bars at 1 1/4" wide plus two 1/8" spacers. It has 12 in it right now with a lot more spacers (I gave them some more honey because they were low plus I have a follower in there). For the hive version I plan to have it take three 8 frame mediums side by side.

    I wondered if they would fill the supers with brood instead of honey too but since this is a nuc it doesn't concern me too much. If it helps them overwinter so much the better!
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 02-23-2014 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Counted how many bars are in it right now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Ruthiesbees, That looks really nice! Please post back and let me know how it is going. I planned my supers as two five frame mediums to reduce weight, I'm sure the full size one will be heavy. How many bars does your box fit?

    Oldtimer gave me something to consider as to them moving up. I can either band in combs from the nuc or feed in Lang bars for them to start drawing. I was thinking to band in combs because I want to change out combs to the new bars when they start building up anyway. Do you think yours will build in the super because they have to travel through it anyway or were you planning on doing something to entice them up?
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  8. #8
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Please keep the thread updated in due course be interesting to see how it goes.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Isle of Wight, VA
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    This hive is shorter than their hive now, so that will be one reason for them to move up. The other reason is that I have moved their entrance to the top (middle). I think MB had a recent post about that. Third reason is that I will move some of their honey stores to the second level. They shouldn't need a "ladder" as they are entering at that level.

    One kink in my plan is that the hive destined for this box in a month, (my only hive), has decided to make queen cells. (see my other post from today). Someone said the one queen cell looked like it had been empty for about a week, so I may have 2 queens in my current colony. If they decide to swarm, I hope they pick one of the 3 empty hives that are in my yard.

    I would not try to populate this hybrid hive with my new package that is due in Mid-April as I have read that it is a 2yr old hive that is still in "build" mode that will make the most honey.

    I would like to hear how things go with the terrarium heater on the weak colony. I had thought about doing that this past winter when I thought my girls were a bit weak. Apparently, they have made it thru just fine if they are building comb and queen cells.

    I do wish I had made the super smaller. Had tried to get Beeline Apiaries to do something custom for me, but to no avail. So I talked my engineer father into building something. He wasn't really interested in "bee space", etc. His eyes kinda glazed over after I gave him the basic dimensions. He did build all 3 pieces to this hive, though and I think it turned out very well. Glad to see someone else trying the supers on a top bar hive!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    One kink in my plan is that the hive destined for this box in a month, (my only hive), has decided to make queen cells. (see my other post from today). Someone said the one queen cell looked like it had been empty for about a week, so I may have 2 queens in my current colony. If they decide to swarm, I hope they pick one of the 3 empty hives that are in my yard.

    I would like to hear how things go with the terrarium heater on the weak colony. I had thought about doing that this past winter when I thought my girls were a bit weak. Apparently, they have made it thru just fine if they are building comb and queen cells.
    The colony that I rigged up that heater for killed their queen (due to my error). The colony it is on now is actually my best. I'm a bit concerned that leaving it on may do more harm than good. The lowest I can set the heater for is 68F, so when I peeked in a bit ago they were only loosely clustered and pretty active on the combs for a 37F day. I could disconnect the heater and leave the thermostat on to check their temperature. They do have patches of brood going, and this does let them move to honey. Just not sure. Michael Bush mentioned he had his at 70F at first but now if he uses one he I think he said he puts it at 45F. That temperature sounds more optimal but is beyond my thermostat settings.

    I did see your post. The cell looked hatched to me but I figured I would let someone more experienced comment. I wondered if you had any drones around for her to get mated. I could see the egg in the cup too. Insurance? How is the population in that hive?

    I planned to let the colony currently in this nuc build up and then transfer them to a new hive. I don't currently have that hive built yet though so I need to get to work! I got nervous and ordered an "insurance package" to make sure I would have bees. I think I will install them at a friends place because I won't need them here. I'm not sure if I should install them in the old nuc this colony came out of (on drawn comb) and then into my old hive or if I should try out a Warre. I won't be able to keep that close an eye on them so it seems like a better style for that.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    Glad to see someone else trying the supers on a top bar hive!
    Praxis (a poster on here from Australia?) did this last season because he ran out of room. I think he made up the super versus using ones from a Lang. I checked in with him to see how it went. He indicated it went well at first but then he got busy and didn't check it enough and they swarmed or something. Sounded like the concept was working well. My main changes are Lang size to be more compatible and adding the Warre quilt and roof.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    If one builds a long lang and plans to super it and during winter use a quilt box would not be appropriate to simply build a box the equivalent length of 20 lang frames with 2 supers on top (you will "waste" the width of 2 frames for box walls..or you could build the bottom brood box 2 frames wider. Put on double inner covers and a single cover. You put a hinged sbb with tray below.

    I would be aiming for minimal lifting, adequate brood space and good honey production.
    I guess in short looking to keep brood in the bottom with lighter honey supers above.

    Would/could that work?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    WVBC, I think a few people have designed their Long Langs just that way. Some even have split covers and super a portion at a time. I think if you don't start with a nuc it takes a season to fill the regular box and then the next season you would work in the supers. If you started with a nuc you might be able to fill the supers.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  14. #14
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Dang Colleen and Ruthie! You truly outdo yourselves on finishes. Both those hives look awesome! My neighbor probably wishes you lived next him instead of me!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: hive temp readings

    Ruthiesbees, I have been monitoring the Hybrid nuc with the thermostat on it. I have left the terrarium heater unplugged most of the time out of fear that with a healthy colony it might do more harm than good (that they would go through stores faster). I plugged it in twice for overnight when it was going to be in the teens. I think the thermostat probe is just above the cluster in the V made by the intersection of the bars. I'm going to carefully take it out in a few days when it is due to warm up into the 40s but before it hits flying weather. I want to move the nuc back to it's permanent location so they can orient there.

    So far I have noticed (without turning the heater on) they are keeping that spot in the nuc 10 to 25F warmer than it is outside. Today they must have moved up or tightened their cluster due to the cold because while it was 15F outside the reading on the thermostat was 68.3F. From this I really feel other than satisfying my curiosity they don't need any help from the heater.

    The major thing I have noticed is what an impact peeking in the observation window has on them. I have done that twice and both times the temperature spiked up 20F almost immediately. That has to come at a cost this time of year. I could see that they went from quiet to agitated movement when I looked in. The old nuc these bees were in didn't have a window so they may react more because they aren't used to it.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Dang Colleen and Ruthie! You truly outdo yourselves on finishes. Both those hives look awesome! My neighbor probably wishes you lived next him instead of me!
    Thanks Shannonswyatt! That color was the best I could do with some mis-tint paint combined with some outdoor paint I had. The roof I did with the shellacked cedar tongue n groove boards because I thought it would look nice and be lighter because it is thin. We'll see how it holds up. I did make sure to put the groove on the down angle and glued them together using Tightbond III. I wanted to paint some sunflowers on it but don't have time and wanted to get them installed during the warmup.

    I like the color Ruthie used a lot, very calming.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Since I last posted on this I tried marking the queen and she was balled and eventually killed. I ended up with a few queen cells so I put the solid follower in and divided the nuc into two. Despite taking an extra queen cell out and making a nuc with it and two of the bars the original colony side was pretty crowded.

    Today I put the medium supers on to give the one colony more space. I took the combs out of the slightly weaker side, screwed a 3/8" thick bar onto the two thicker honey comb bars and put one in each medium super. I then shook the bees off another comb, cut it off the old bar and tied it to a new length routed side bar. The new length is the same as a frame. I put that bar in the super in the weaker side. I then shook the bees off the other two brood combed (one at a time), cut them off the old bars and tied them onto the new bars. I was careful to leave the one with the queen until last and was much more gentle shaking the bees off. By doing this I was able to put all new bars in this side of the nuc. It holds 6 of the 1 1/4" wide bars. On the other side I had put two of the new style bars in when I made the split so it just got shims to close the gap and the super with the one empty honey comb. I looked down in it right after I put the comb in and saw the bees immediately spread up the comb. Yay! Seems to work.

    When I looked through the crowded side I didn't see the new queen but did see a single beautiful queen cell. It looked recently capped and I can't figure out how it got there because of the timing of when the old queen was killed. All the worker brood has hatched and the last of the drone brood is hatching right now. The new queen is likely out mating today because this is the first warm day since she was old enough. There are no eggs or open brood in the hive. Who knows, but I left it alone. I can see it through the viewing window so will be able to monitor it.

    2014-05-03_Hybrid_nuc.jpg

    You can see a few of the new bars in the middle of the super next to the old bar and the frames.
    2014-05-03_Ba-1.jpg
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 05-03-2014 at 04:12 PM.
    3rd yr - 1 KTBH & 4 KTBH nucs - TF - USDA Zn 6b

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Nice work Colleen.

    About the new queen cell, there are really only 2 options how it got there. First, is that it is a genuine queen cell recently hatched, and the lid flipped down into the closed position and the bees re-sealed it so it looks like a capped queen cell, this does happen sometimes. If this is the case you will likely have a virgin in the hive and eventually a laying queen. The other option is the bees made it from a random unfertilised egg laid by a worker, this is also something bees do occasionally. If this happened it will not result in a queen.

    It's most likely the first option so you could just wait it out, but if you want to be totally safe you could give the weaker hive a comb with eggs from the other hive.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    Actually I saw the queen in the weaker side, the cell is in the stronger side.

    I checked my notes for the dates. They balled the old queen on April 11th. On the 26th I went in and removed a hatching queen cell and saw a newly hatched virgin queen in there at that time and made sure she stayed in the nuc. The queen cell I saw today looked newly capped and there were no other eggs or larvae in the hive. The only brood other than the queen cell is the last of the drones hatching out (saw some emerging). I figure the earliest that queen could have hatched was the 24th. The cell was definitely newly capped, not papery yet. I wondered what about Theotolky (sp)? I thought they were prepping to swarm when I took their extra hatching queen out. They had most of the comb backfilled when I looked today so despite taking that split they still look like they want to swarm. Could their desire to swarm have given them the impetus to lay that golden egg or is it more likely to be a drone larvae in that beautiful cell? I guess time will tell. I can see the cell through the viewing window so if they tear it down or it doesn't hatch within 8 days I will more or less know.

    I guess one other option is that the newly hatched queen had her mating flight really soon after she hatched. The weather was nice for about two or three days after the 24th but then it was rainy and then colder (50 to 60F) until being nice again today. How long after hatch to harden off prior to flying out to mate?
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 05-03-2014 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Additional Info

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Calgary, Alberta, CA
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    Default Re: Hybrid KTBH/Warre/Lang Nuc

    That is a beautiful piece of workmanship. Conceptually, it sounds very similar to the "Calgary Top Bar Hive": Top Bars for Brood, Frames for honey, and Quilts on top.

    See: http://members.shaw.ca/metropropolis...Bar%20Hive.pdf

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