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Thread: They made it

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default They made it

    Well after the super cold winter up here in the upper peninsula of michigan, concerned about the TBH. I'm happy to say THEY MADE IT. 52 degrees today and they are coming out, orienting and flying. Here's a picture. image.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: They made it

    It is a great feeling congrats on your success.
    How did you set them up for winter? I am interested as winter is cold and long here and I have just ordered my first top bar hive.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,902

    Default Re: They made it

    I had better wintering success years ago using top bar hives with no insulation at all, than I do with my current Lang hives. Verify their food reserves as soon as you can, they can starve this time of year quick when brood rearing is underway and no nectar and pollen coming in yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: They made it

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    It is a great feeling congrats on your success.
    How did you set them up for winter? I am interested as winter is cold and long here and I have just ordered my first top bar hive.
    Hi All. First of all I built my first top bar hive out of 2x12 lumber. Felt that I wasn't moving it around so could build it heavy. It was built to be able to hold 28 bars. This was a new package install last spring and they built up over the summer. At the end of summer there was (from front of hive to back) 2 bars filled with pollen, 8 brood combs followed by about 15 combs with honey, 3 didn't get built up. We only took one full comb at that time, left the girls all the rest. I had built my TBH following directions from backyardhive.com and got his video about TBH's. They suggested that instead of harvesting honey in fall you let the bees have it all and harvest what is left in the spring. I haven't been able to see what is left over but the one comb we took in the fall yielded 7.5 lb of comb honey that has kept me going through winter. As winter approached I moved the follower board to just behind the last full bar of honey, put a 1 1/2 inch layer of fiberglass insulation on top of the bars and we put 6 inch fiberglass in roofers garbage bags and wrapped them around the hive along with a 1 inch insulation on the bottom board. All preparations weren't perfect though. Ice from condensation built up on bottom board so on that first 50 degree day girls couldn't get out, these last few days it thawed and I was able to clear all the dead bees and the girls were able to get out if they wanted. I plan to make one modification on my TBH's. I'm thinking about putting a 3/4 inch hole toward the top of the follower board and screen it. Hopefully that will solve the condensate problem we experienced. I built another TBH that is waiting for a package of bees this spring but this one has 3 inch walls. I will be at the April 10th meeting if anyone has questions and I will bring some pictures. Monty Blashill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: They made it

    Three inch walls! Holy cow that must weigh a ton. Is that 3 inches of wood, or is that a combination of wood and insulation?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: They made it

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Three inch walls! Holy cow that must weigh a ton. Is that 3 inches of wood, or is that a combination of wood and insulation?
    No, that's wood. I doubled up 2x12s. It's a top bar so I don't have to lift anything once it's in place. We straddled it on wheelbarrow to get it out of the basement. Here is a pic. Montyimage.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: They made it

    I would recommend that if you make another one you make it out of wood with styrofoam, assuming you main goal is insulation. Wood has a crappy R value. 1/2 inch blue foam is cheap, light, easy to cut and a higher R value than the 3 inches of wood. I hear ya that you don't plan to move it, but sometimes life happens and you need to move them.

    On the plus side, I think 2x12s are about the same price as 1x12s, so at least it didn't cost a ton to make.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: They made it

    Quote Originally Posted by Montyb View Post
    Hi All. First of all I built my first top bar hive out of 2x12 lumber. Felt that I wasn't moving it around so could build it heavy. It was built to be able to hold 28 bars. This was a new package install last spring and they built up over the summer. At the end of summer there was (from front of hive to back) 2 bars filled with pollen, 8 brood combs followed by about 15 combs with honey, 3 didn't get built up. We only took one full comb at that time, left the girls all the rest. I had built my TBH following directions from backyardhive.com and got his video about TBH's. They suggested that instead of harvesting honey in fall you let the bees have it all and harvest what is left in the spring. I haven't been able to see what is left over but the one comb we took in the fall yielded 7.5 lb of comb honey that has kept me going through winter. As winter approached I moved the follower board to just behind the last full bar of honey, put a 1 1/2 inch layer of fiberglass insulation on top of the bars and we put 6 inch fiberglass in roofers garbage bags and wrapped them around the hive along with a 1 inch insulation on the bottom board. All preparations weren't perfect though. Ice from condensation built up on bottom board so on that first 50 degree day girls couldn't get out, these last few days it thawed and I was able to clear all the dead bees and the girls were able to get out if they wanted. I plan to make one modification on my TBH's. I'm thinking about putting a 3/4 inch hole toward the top of the follower board and screen it. Hopefully that will solve the condensate problem we experienced. I built another TBH that is waiting for a package of bees this spring but this one has 3 inch walls. I will be at the April 10th meeting if anyone has questions and I will bring some pictures. Monty Blashill
    Thanks for the details.
    What is a "roofers garbage bag" other than lRge..if so how large?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: They made it

    Quote Originally Posted by Montyb View Post
    No, that's wood. I doubled up 2x12s. It's a top bar so I don't have to lift anything once it's in place. We straddled it on wheelbarrow to get it out of the basement. Here is a pic. Montyimage.jpg
    Do you have to lift the roof!
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: They made it

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Do you have to lift the roof!
    No. It's hinged -tips off to the long side. Also has a inspection window.

    I ordered roofers garbage bag from backyardhive.com There DVD really helped me get going with my TBH

    As far as mixing thinner wood with insulation - thought I would try to imitate them having hive in tree, thick walls only instead of upright this log is horizontal. Something worked with my 2x12 hive they did survive. We will see what happens with my 3 inch hive next winter.

    Monty

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Marquette, Michigan
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: They made it

    It was only 41 today so no bees were flying so I checked them through window. Previously they were clustered about two frames away from brood comb. Today they are clustered back on brood combs. Good sign, queen must be starting to replenish the girls. Once again - THEY MADE IT - through the coldest winter we've had in a long time. Monty

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