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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Centerville Indiana
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    60

    Default Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    I am brand new into beekeeping, I have a package due in 8 days and I am finishing up on my TBH. I have read soooooooooooooooooooo many things about how to and locked in on a plan.I made the bottom solid vs screened, and plan to make the entrance a periscope style. That is where the entrance holes are on the end towards the top/ 1/2 way up with a 3 sided box that covers the holes. I have read that that keeps drafts down and it is better to locate the holes high due to possible blocking when at the bottom, and helps with robbing also. All I have to do is drill the entrance holes and I am pretty much done.
    I do have two questions .....

    1. should I have some vent holes someplace?
    2. Should I have drain holes in case water gets in?

    The place I am buying my bees from said that with their landstrough hives slightly tip forward to drain in case any water got it. That got me wondering about my TBH...


    Jerry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,495

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    I haven't had any drain holes, the shape of the hive pretty much keeps water out. It wouldn't hurt to do so, but cover them up when you put in the package. I don't have vents per se, but I did make a vented "bar" that I used last summer on one of my hives. They would beard up like crazy and as soon as I put that on they stopped bearding up so much. Not that bearding is a problem, but it seemed like 3/4 of the hive would hang out on the front of the hive in the evening.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    606

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    why no on the screen bottom ? i have screen bottoms on all our hives,TBH's AND Langs. we love them. i also use telescoping entrances on our tbh's....but i dont think they matter much. thy do live any where in the wild hahaha.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,120

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Welcome to Beesource!

    The odds are that even without rainwater in the TBH, there will be condensation in the winter. As the bees consume stored honey, water vapor will be one of the 'outputs'.

    If there isn't adequate ventilation, that water will likely condense inside the hive. The cure for that is increased ventilation. My TBHs have a wide top entrance a'la the hives at Michael Bush's THB page:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm


    I'm confident that the bottom of my TBHs are not watertight! You probably don't need actual drain holes, but review your plans for ventilation. I suspect that more will be better in your case.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Centerville Indiana
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    wow!!!! I like this forum! I cannot believe the fast replies...

    Tommy,
    I was going to put a screened bottom, but the more I read and heard the more I felt just a solid bottom would be fine.

    Shannon,
    If I put in drain or vent holes they would be screened so when the package goes in, it would not be an issue..

    Radar,

    I have reviewed the plans and that's why I was concerned about venting, and drainage. This is also why I have waited to put in entrance holes, until I am almost done as I keep looking at different plans for this. I have never seen the top entrance like in the link you shared. I kind of like that. I am going to review that more. Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jerry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,495

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Tommy, for me it isn't why not screened bottoms, but why would I want to use them? If I want to ventilate a hive I would rather have the opening up high, not low. But a screen does make it easy for SHB to move in and out or hide. Just seems like more work to me, particularly if I were going to but a solid board under the screen. I've seen some TBH's with sliding removable bottom boards and other cool things, but with my woodworking skills I don't think they would work well. I would rather let the bees keep their house clean than for me to do it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Centerville Indiana
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    I do have another question, I do not want to start a new post for it. when I pour in the bees how many brood bars should I put in and how many honey ? I have them 1.25 and 1.50. In time will I add brood or will they max out to only using so many brood bars?

    Jerry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    When you first put in a package you want to have it small, say about 14 bars or so. They need a cavity they can defend. Once they start drawing comb you can open it up since they won't leave at that point, and shrink it down when winter approaches.

    I don't use multiple size bars, so I can't give you an answer on the bars. It seems I am always in need of a "brood bar" and if I had a mix I would never have the right ones handy. They will not have "honey only" bars for a long time. Once you get some straight comb you can open up the brood nest by putting in empty bars one at a time. When you get to the point that the last bar is nothing but honey you have reached the end of the brood nest. So if you are going to use larger bars for honey stores that is were you would probably start putting them. They may not draw them out to 1.5 inches though, if that happens you could end up with cross comb.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,120

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    With many TBH designs, you need ALL bars in place to be able to close it up properly and keep the bees/entrance where they are supposed to be.

    The 1.25" bars are for the brood nest, the 1.5" bars are for honey combs. Since your new bees first need to build their brood nest, those bars should be 1.25".

    You likely will need to inspect to decide when to switch bar sizes.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    You can make a temporary follower board out of cardboard to shrink the volume. The bad thing about not having a follower is that there is contraction and expansion of the bars, and the expansion can push the bars right out of the hive. With a follower the board just gets pushed back a little with the expansion.

    In my nucs I use multiple thin strips of wood to act as an expansion joint to close the hive but allow for the bar expansion. When I'm cutting the bars I normally will have some very thing scraps for this. That seems to work ok.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Centerville Indiana
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    It sounds like I add all brood bars until I see honey then switch the remaining to 1.5" bars. I did a bit of an overkill, my hive is 1/3 longer than most. I had two 12" boards and decided to not cut them as I could it that space for storage is need be. My hive is a little over 5' long so I of course made a follower board, I also made a false back board. Since I have all this room I have plenty of expand area, no worries about swarming I assume ... Of course I will keep everything as tight as possible using only the amount of space needed... again that's why I made the false back.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,495

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    If it were only that easy. Having a big box doesn't mean no swarms. Once the hive reaches a certain size the hive will want to swarm. That is natures way of propagating the genes. Plus there is some thought that once the hive reaches a certain size the bees further from the queen sense there is less pheromone and that it is time to swarm. The practical limit of the hive really has to do with how many eggs the queen can lay, at least when it comes to worker numbers. The physical size of the hive is limited by the nectar flows and how fast the bees can make comb and store honey.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Centerville Indiana
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Shannon,

    I assumed there was a max that a queen can produce vs a hive can only get so big. In all of my reading I assumed that if you gave them room then the need to swarm would be greatly reduced... Thanks for clearing that up..

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Very true, but sometimes they just up and get out of there. You need to watch your hives during flows and give them something to do by adding bars to the broodnest. Otherwise even a small hive in a large box can swarm.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    >1. should I have some vent holes someplace?

    No.

    >2. Should I have drain holes in case water gets in?

    If you make it sloppy enough you won't need them... but if you see an issue an 1/8" hole here and there will work.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Shannon has some good advice. Like her, I now go with only one size bar. I found that as the brood bars became honey bars, they were too narrow and more likely to cause cross combing if they ended up on the periphery of the hive (which eventually they do as you move new bars into the brood area to open it up and move older brood bars out). I started with screened hives out of a desire to control varroa, but found that not to be a problem for my bees; however, small hive beetles are, and the open bottoms were invitations for them and their families to move in. Plus, we have very hot and humid summers, and I want by bees to be able to control their hive environment better. I have solid bottoms now with beetle bottle traps screwed into the them from below. I recently found about 1/4" of water that had drained into one bottle that was directly below the cluster.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: Finishing up a TBH nad have a few questions..

    Not only do the bees prefer 1 1/4" in the brood nest, but they will build smaller cells if you give them 1 1/4" spacing in the brood nest. I tried all 1 1/2" bars and it worked great in the honey area, and not so great in the brood nest. You can get by with 1 3/8" in the brood nest as far as getting the bees to draw them on the combs, but you end up with more drone comb, larger cells, and more uneven faces on the combs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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