Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers
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  1. #1
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    Default Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    I've been messing with some CRAZY TBH ideas and was hoping to get some input. Often TBH users end up wanting to expand, but find themselves with some limitations. One common solution is to install supers over their TBH. I think this is a great solution. While pondering this I came across another thread discussing the Dadant Hive design. This thread highlighted the benefits of installing super frames perpendicular to the brood frames. I think this is another great idea. One potential drawback is the Dadant design uses square boxes and these can get pretty heavy. Well, I like the idea of lifting top bars, not boxes. Plus I have a bulging disc so if I can avoid lifting boxes, then great.

    This is a 4' long Top Bar Hive with a long super. I started with two supers (think Langstroth square boxes), but ended up making it one long box for access reasons. As you can see in the drawing below I needed a long super to gain access while part of the super cantilevers over the TBH. The super frames are placed perpendicular to the brood frames. Also, the super sits on Teflon bars so I can easily slide the box along the Top Bar Hive. The cantilever works in theory, but I don't love it. I was kind of stuck with the 4' TBH simply because I think anything over 4' is too long. The other thing is the entire hive is getting to be pretty big. Both TBH and Dadant designs use followers to restrict space so maybe the large size isn't a big problem.

    I can see how at some point I may end up with a few shallow supers stacked and having to lift them by hand anyway, but at least this way I can check the brood by sliding the supers and not having to lift boxes. So what do you think?

    Below are some concept drawings. Also, here is the link of that other thread I mentioned. https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-disadvantages

    EDIT:

    I felt 4' was too long considering the depth of the bottom box. So I drew the same idea with a shorter bottom. The last picture (not the attachment) shows what would amount to a TBH that is twice the length of a Lansgstroth. This would limit the 'sliding' to one column of supers, rather than two.

    Top Bar w Sliding Supers 2.jpg
    Top Bar w Sliding Supers.jpg
    Top Bar w Sliding Supers 3.jpg
    Top Bar w Sliding Supers 4.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JeronimoJC; 07-29-2016 at 08:31 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    for these modded langs, check out Michael Bush's long lang with stacks on it, also look at the ecobees castle. They already made what you show here.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    So it isn't so crazy right? I include a pic of what I found under Eco Bee for reference. I appreciate the input.

    If I am not mistaken, neither of those designs have the square boxes that provide the flexibility to run the super frames perpendicular to the brood frames. This is something I believe has a lot of merit. Also, I believe neither of those designs have the Teflon or rails for sliding the supers along the TBH. Not that you couldn't just push wood on wood. Wood to wood friction (clean) can be as much as 0.5. Teflon on Teflon is a 0.04. On 2 ea large deep boxes the total weight is in the about 200 lb. Wood to wood would require 100lbs of horizontal force. Teflon to Teflon would require only 8 lbs, in theory.

    One last thing, Dadant makes a strong case for deeper boxes being better. His test runs proved better production in deeper boxes. I believe his thinking was bees cluster in a ball and you want to interfere with the ball as little as possible. I drew these boxes using 12x (11.25" nominal) lumber. So the sketch is for a hive and super a few inches deeper than a long Lang.

    image.jpg

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by JeronimoJC View Post
    If I am not mistaken, neither of those designs have the square boxes that provide the flexibility to run the super frames perpendicular to the brood frames. This is something I believe has a lot of merit. Also, I believe neither of those designs have the Teflon or rails for sliding the supers along the TBH. Not that you couldn't just push wood on wood. Wood to wood friction (clean) can be as much as 0.5. Teflon on Teflon is a 0.04. On 2 ea large deep boxes the total weight is in the about 200 lb. Wood to wood would require 100lbs of horizontal force. Teflon to Teflon would require only 8 lbs, in theory.
    The theory of the Teflon bars is great, but if you have burr combing or cross-combing between your levels you could end up with significant damage when sliding (besides increased effort). Also how will the Teflon bars hold up out in the weather?

    "The great tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact "

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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by crmauch View Post
    The theory of the Teflon bars is great, but if you have burr combing or cross-combing between your levels you could end up with significant damage when sliding (besides increased effort). Also how will the Teflon bars hold up out in the weather?
    "
    Hmm... I'll have to read about the burr/cross-combing between levels in other hive designs. Teflon will definitely hold up out in the weather.

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by JeronimoJC View Post
    This thread highlighted the benefits of installing super frames perpendicular to the brood frames.
    Out of curiosity, what are the benefits? I was trying to think of a way to super w/o frames (warre style) and often wondered if the bees might not see this configuration as a floor, maintaining bee space on top of the bottom bars. Anyone have experience with this?
    Season 5. TF.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    JeronimoJC, you may wish to clarify as to whether this hive would be a "top bar" hive or a "horizontal Lang".

    A key difference between the two is that a Top Bar has bars that are a uniform width along the bar and are placed one bar touching the next bar. This means that bees cannot get on the top side of the bars because there are no gaps.

    On the other hand, "frames" in a Lang style horizontal hive are manufactured to have "bee space" built into every pair of bars so that bees can access the top of the bars (and beyond). If you plan to add supers above the main part of the hive box, frames would be be a good choice. If you use plain bars w/o "bee space", thinks could go wonky.

    If you use frames, less confusion is likely if you call the hive a 'horizontal lang', rather than a 'top bar' hive.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by crmauch View Post
    The theory of the Teflon bars is great, but if you have burr combing or cross-combing between your levels you could end up with significant damage when sliding (besides increased effort).
    I'll still need to do some research, but wouldn't a queen excluder help address this concern?

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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    JeronimoJC, you may wish to clarify as to whether this hive would be a "top bar" hive or a "horizontal Lang".
    I could use either (or both) frames or top bars, they would be interchangeable. I am leaning towards top bars in the brood box and frames in the supers. If used top bars, I would either leave one or a few of the bars out. Also, the bars would be a little lower than the top of the box. I am also considering top bars with wider ends to provide a gap between top bars.
    Last edited by JeronimoJC; 07-29-2016 at 02:29 PM.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Regarding the benefits of being able to place super frames perpendicular to the brood frames I provide this quote from the other thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    Out of curiosity, what are the benefits? I was trying to think of a way to super w/o frames (warre style) and often wondered if the bees might not see this configuration as a floor, maintaining bee space on top of the bottom bars. Anyone have experience with this?

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post

    In an experiment you also find the following:



    The picture above was shot at Springtime with cold nights and all. You see the broodnest under this super has 5 frames. If you setup your honey combs parallel to the brood combs, those combs right above the broodnest are preferred for honey storage.

    Now see what happens, if you turn the honey combs 90 to the brood combs:



    This hive also have had only 5 brood frames. Both were the same strength. Interesting, right?

    So the idea is, set the honeycombs at an angle to the brood combs, which makes the bees climb up the brood combs and climbing right into the honey combs, having access to all honeycombs from there.

    When inspecting the hive, you turn the honey supers 180, so the tendency to store honey at the far end viewed from the entrance is evened. What you get is honeycombs with all honey of the same quality. Otherwise you have dry honey in the back of the super and wet honey in the front.

    Also evened storage means more honey per super.



  12. #11
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Wow, very nice. It's hard to dispute those kind of results, and the reasoning is sound. I wonder if it also resulted in less burr comb for the reason I mentioned. Something tells me no.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    JeronimoJC, you may wish to clarify as to whether this hive would be a "top bar" hive or a "horizontal Lang".

    A key difference between the two is that a Top Bar has bars that are a uniform width along the bar and are placed one bar touching the next bar. This means that bees cannot get on the top side of the bars because there are no gaps.

    On the other hand, "frames" in a Lang style horizontal hive are manufactured to have "bee space" built into every pair of bars so that bees can access the top of the bars (and beyond). If you plan to add supers above the main part of the hive box, frames would be be a good choice. If you use plain bars w/o "bee space", thinks could go wonky.

    If you use frames, less confusion is likely if you call the hive a 'horizontal lang', rather than a 'top bar' hive.
    The need to address this more specifically became more evident today. I currently have a hive with both frames and top bars. It wasn't a problem until the bees started building comb directly under the ledge that supports the frames/top bars. This isn't a problem when you are using frames because bees won't go outside the frames. It is definitely a problem when you have top bars and the bees have no horizontal limits. So the challenge is you can't get a knife in there as easily as when you have a standard top bar because the ledge makes it difficult. It wasn't too much of a challenge today, but it is something I need to address soon in my hive. I realize this can be solved by placing a piece of plywood under the ledger, but then you end up with a heavier box.

    So far this experience has tilted the scale to the point where I can see frames will be much easier to deal with.

    NOOB MISTAKE!

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    I have a lift-off roof on my TBH and I've been thinking about a adding a shallow box with an excluder next year to increase space for honey production. I was going to install the bars or Warre style frames parallel to the original bars, but after reading your posts, I'm now thinking I'll construct the shallow box to hold the bars or shallow frames perpendicular to the lower bars and I could rotate them as described in your quote.

    My idea is to add a bar or two with bee space or excluder inserts to let the bees travel up into the shallow frames while also adding ventilation during these 100 degree summer days. Something to ponder this fall 🤔📐📝🔨

    Look forward to following your progress with this project.

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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    Quote Originally Posted by SWAT253 View Post
    I was going to install the bars or Warre style frames parallel to the original bars, but after reading your posts, I'm now thinking I'll construct the shallow box to hold the bars or shallow frames perpendicular to the lower bars and I could rotate them as described in your quote.
    If you make the box square you have nothing to lose. If you decide you don't like the setup you can always rotate the frames back to being parallel.

    I would suggest you also to some research into deeper supers. From what I gather, deeper setups are more productive. If you don't go crazy with the depth you can always avoid lifting by sliding the box along the TBH without having to use Teflon bars.

    As for my project, I am re-thinking the entire thing and I may end up doing something more along the lines of a Dadant design.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Top Bar Hive With Sliding Supers

    From what I gather, deeper setups are more productive. If you don't go crazy with the depth you can always avoid lifting ...

    *If using frames i might suggest you leave one out and wide space them. Like putting 9 into a 10 Deep super.*

    As for my project, I am re-thinking the entire thing and I may end up doing something more along the lines of a Dadant design.[/QUOTE]

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