Difference between TTBH and a Lang
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  1. #1
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    Default Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Can someone please explain what the differences are between a horizontal Langstroth and a Tanzanian top bar hive?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    What's a Tanzanian Top Bar Hive? Never heard of one of those. In what way are they different from a Kenya Top Bar Hive or just any run of the mill Top Bar Hive?
    Mark Berninghausen

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    They both have maybe 30 or more combs, all in one long box. But the horizontal (long) langstroth, the box is shaped to be able to hold those combs in langstroth frames, but the Top Bar Hive, the combs are hanging from a top bar that has no side or bottom pieces to it.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    They have straight vertical sides, compared to a Kenya TBH. This is where I was reading about them.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm

    But as to your other questions, I'm not sure bc I'm new to TBH's. I've been reading and trying to figure out which I should attempt to build this winter, as I'd like to try one in spring.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    A Tanzanian Top Bar Hive has straight sides, and the Kenya TBH version has sloped sides.

    By general usage, a Top Bar hive of either flavor uses 'top bars', not frames. A 'horizontal Lang' would be similar to a Tanzanian TBH in the sense of having straight sides, but the horizontal Lang uses frames, not just bars.

    Note that a Lang style hive should have 'bee space' on top of the frames (between the lid and the frames), and a Top Bar hive generally does not. So a horizontal Lang needs a recess/rabbet for the frame ears to sit in, but a TBH normally just has the top bars resting on top of the non-recessed edge of the TBH sidewalls.


    These are generalities, if we wait long enough someone will possibly post a photo of some kind of hybrid that conflicts with everything above.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    They both have maybe 30 or more combs, all in one long box. But the horizontal (long) langstroth, the box is shaped to be able to hold those combs in langstroth frames, but the Top Bar Hive, the combs are hanging from a top bar that has no side or bottom pieces to it.
    Thanks! So pretty much they're the same thing, except for the frame vs top bar?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Sqkcrk i THINK a Tanzanian TBH is shaped so it can take a langstroth frame. But someone correct me if I'm wrong.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    a Tanz can be shaped to take lang frames, but often is not The only real difrance is top bars vs lang frames frames... ie put topbars in a long lang and its a Tanz, Micheal Bush's Tanz are long mediums so he can interchange with his standard equipment

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Thank you. I currently have two vertical Langstroths, but would like to move to top bar hives. My preference would be a Kenya TBH. I'm hoping to make a split from one of my current hives that I like a lot. Is there any way to do that other than cutting down the frames? If not, it seems like it would be best to just make the Tanzanian TBH for ease of transfer.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    I would ask your reasons for wanting to go topbar instead of long lang , I run KTBHs for cost reasons as I can build them for a bout $35 or so, now its 50/50 as the local marked crashed and I was picking up langs for less then I could build topbars. I will say if the idea of choping the wood and comb of frames concerns you, a top bar hive may not be the best choice. they can at time get messy

    There are dozens of ways to make a split

    if your want to go KTBH I would look in to a flyaway/flyback split given your currant resources
    in short, this spring take the old hive and move it a few feet and place the KTBH in its spot, chop and crop one frame of open brood to fit the KTBH and place the old queen on it. The open brood anchors the bees and the forgers revert and it acts like a swarm and kicks in to comb drawing mode.
    old hive in new spot draws cells well as its full of nurse bees.

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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I would ask your reasons for wanting to go topbar instead of long lang , I run KTBHs for cost reasons as I can build them for a bout $35 or so, now its 50/50 as the local marked crashed and I was picking up langs for less then I could build topbars. I will say if the idea of choping the wood and comb of frames concerns you, a top bar hive may not be the best choice. they can at time get messy
    There are so many different ways of doing TBH's, and as I am just starting out with them, I decided I'd try one method as I learn. The info I had talked about how cutting the frames to fit was a poor idea for a beginner, which was why I had been thinking I shouldn't do that. I appreciate the feedback and ideas.

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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    One significant difference between a long lang and ttbh (for me, at least) which I have not seen yet mentioned here is the number of bees exposed when opening the hive. In a long lang you expose all those gaps between frames as soon as you lift the lid or inner cover, if you plan on using one. In a ttbh the bars form a solid ceiling and you will be exposing no more than 2-3 combs worth of bees at one time.
    EU Hardiness Zone 5-6

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    An interesting option that is available for a long Lang is adding supers. Make the lid of the basic long Lang in sections, sized to fit a regular 10 frame or 8 frame super, so that one (or more) lid section(s) could be removed while leaving the rest of the lid in place. Then it would be possible to add one or more honey supers to the hive just for the flow.

    See photos of Lauri's version of that here: https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-queen-rearing




    Also, it is possible to get a head start on a split from a standard Lang hive into a KTBH by replacing one or more of the frames in the Lang with just 'top bars', and encourage the bees to build comb on those bars. Then when it comes time to do the split, you already have Top Bar comb on bars ready to go in the TBH split. Of course, how simple this is depends on the length of the TBH bars, and monitoring (and timing the split) to catch the newly built comb so that it doesn't exceed the profile of the TBH sides. Or be prepared to cut the excess comb off to make it fit in the TBH.

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 12-31-2017 at 10:11 AM. Reason: add more
    Graham
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  15. #14
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Thucar
    One significant difference between a long lang and ttbh (for me, at least) which I have not seen yet mentioned here is the number of bees exposed when opening the hive. In a long lang you expose all those gaps between frames as soon as you lift the lid or inner cover, if you plan on using one. In a ttbh the bars form a solid ceiling and you will be exposing no more than 2-3 combs worth of bees at one time.
    You don't have to build it where you have to expose all the frames in a long lang. Michael bush has a three piece lid on a picture of one of his. I built mine with a bee space that I put flat boards over top of and can take the frame out one or two at a time with out exposeing more frames then I want. The big defferance in my mind from a long lang compared to a top bar hive is the cheapness and ease of build. When you add all those things like frames and second coverings and such, you might as well build a lang instead of a long lang. The top bar, if you stick just with that, is so simple to build and uses less time and math (for bee space) compared to just building a box and putting a bunch of inch and a half boards on top. The long lang is harder and takes more stuff to build. If you don't mind hard, the way to fix a long lang where you run it like a top bar is only a little imagination to add what it takes to make the binnifit of only working a few frames at a time.
    If you want a lang that can be worked at all times at waist high and with no lifting, then a long lang may fit the bill but will not be as easy or cheap as just a top bar hive.

    long l 001.jpg
    I use my two as tables in my apary and have not put bees in them. I do put lemongrass oil in them just in case.
    Just my thoughts.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps rader types faster then me.
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Quote Originally Posted by Kassafrass View Post
    Thank you. I currently have two vertical Langstroths, but would like to move to top bar hives. My preference would be a Kenya TBH. I'm hoping to make a split from one of my current hives that I like a lot. Is there any way to do that other than cutting down the frames? If not, it seems like it would be best to just make the Tanzanian TBH for ease of transfer.
    You can do a "shaken swarm" or "artificial swarm" from your existing bees to populate the new hive. (true TBH's have a bit of different management than long langs because they are foundationless and frameless and the bars form the roof. I find my bees tend to cluster better/more naturally in a sphere in the winter around multiple combs because they are not built all the way out).

    For a shaken swarm, you set up the new TBH. Cage the existing queen and hang her from a topbar. (if your bars are the same length as the lang, you can get a head start on drawn comb by putting the empty bars in a Lang, although they may only build you drone comb to start with).

    Once your queen is hanging in the hive, take a number of frames from the existing hive and shake them in over the topbar hive where their queen is at. The frames go back in the old hive. Nurse bees will stay with their queen. Forager bees will return to the old hive. The old hive will raise a queen (or you can introduce a purchased queen to that hive). Make sure to add a feeder to the new TBH so they have plenty of resources to build new comb. Always make sure you add a few extra shakes of bees to the new hive to allow for the ones that return to the old hive.

    Once the bees have been in the TBH for 3 days, make sure you let the queen out. By then, they should have built lots of new comb and she will go to work laying it up. If you let the queen loose too early (or don't cage at all), there is a chance that they will abscond from a new hive.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Thanks, all! The different comments really helped with filtering through options.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    Here is another thought to consider when deciding between a Kenyan and a Tanzanian top bar hive: the total volume in the hive. A Kenyan hive is the volume of 1.75 Lang deep boxes. Not even the volume of a double deep. A 30 frame/bar Tanzanian hive can hold the equivalent of 3 Lang in volume.

    The Kenyan hive does lead to fewer side attachments compared to a Tanzanian box. But the bees can fill out 2-3 bars in a week in a Kenyan - only about 1 to 1 1/2 in a week in a Tanzanian box (remember, same size as a Lang deep frame). I'd say to expect to be in the hive at least once a week while new comb is being drawn out. If that is a potential problem for your schedule, then a Kenyan hive may not be a good fit. Be sure to really internalize that there is no adding a deep in swarm season - you add up to 3 bars at a time to existing drawn out bars (after they have drawn some out), and you need to do it carefully (don't separate a single bar of brood from the cluster) and often - or else they will swarm. The location of the honey bars into the hive determines the size the bees think they have - it's a honey wall, similar to a honey dome over the broodnest in a Lang. So adding bars after the honey location does not register as more space to the bees.

    There is good reason to think that smaller spaces offer better mite control for bees on their own. Tom Seeley has done research showing that bees can survive without intervention in a single Lang deep - smaller brood area means fewer breeding spaces for mites. But those hives also have a 50% mortality rate and swarm every year - and don't make honey. It's potentially a lose-lose offer to rely on a smaller brood space for mite control.

    I have 4 living top bar hives (Tanzanian) as of a week ago - my second year using them - and I will be redesigning them for better access to the brood nest. My entrance is at the one side, and I was hoping to be able to open the hive at the brood nest side to be able to check out brood stuff without having to go through the honey bars. Well, the bees get more defensive more quickly when I move myself and bars in the "pathway" of the bees going in and out of the entrance from inside the hive. (I don't stand in front of the hive the few times I did this!). So I am going to move splits to hives with the entrance about 6 inches in from the old entrance - on the long side.

    --0-0-0---------------
    ] My "sketch" of the redesigned entrance! I use 3 holes a bit bigger than a wine cork.
    -----------------------

    That reminds me - entrance volume is critical to air flow in the hive, for cooling at least. An entrance slot 3 in long and 1/2 in wide may lead to too high of temps in the hive and fallen comb. I have never had problems with my 3 entrances that are all open in the summer, only 1 open in winter, with fallen comb. I am referring to when the comb just collapses in the hive while the hive is NOT being inspected.

    One more thing - I really wish I had a screened area under the brood nest to monitor mite drop due to OAV. I will be adding that to my redesign. Whatever mite control you might want the option to use, design the hive with its' use in mind. I cannot put an Oxalic Acid wand under my comb - the wand is too deep. It's meant to go under Lang frames that are on a base. I have drilled holes in the solid floors so I can place the vaporizer up to the hole and run it - and it is a craptastic option - but better than no OAV, because in my area with my bees they will die. I will have to continue to go from underneath but I will have a screened bottom and an easier way to get the wand under the brood nest than me laying on my back and holding the dang thing in place!!!

  19. #18

    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    We've made KTBHs, TTBHs, and horizontal Langstroths. In the end, we stuck with horizontal Langs because 4-sided frames are so much more versatile. We can transfer Langstroth frames from our horizontal hives into standard Langstroths (and vice versa) when making splits, make and sell our own 5-frame deep nucs, run them through an extractor, and transport the frames without fear of weak comb. From a construction standpoint, horizontal Langs have a 5/8" deep rabbet cut into the top of the hive body (just like a regular Lang), whereas *some* TTBHs do not (the top bars can rest on the top of the hive body with no rabbet). If you look at the photo of Michael's hive in your link, you'll notice his top bars in his TTBHs are recessed a bit in a rabbet cut. You can't use standard Lang frames without a rabbet cut, or else your bees can enter/exit between the tops of the frames...unless of course, you're looking for a large top entrance to your hive

    Our long Langs have 4 inner covers, so we only expose 6-7 frames at a time. This gives us a good snapshot of what's going on in the hive, without having to expose the whole colony (although even when exposing the whole colony, the bees are much tamer compared to a vertical Lang since we're not breaking boxes apart). What I don't like about TBHs in general is that I can't see what's going on in the hive as easily since there are no bees on top of the frames. With Lang frames, because there are gaps between them, when I remove my inner covers, I get an immediate sense of how big the brood nest is, where the queen is likely to be, where the bees are drawing new comb, how much space is available, etc. Inspections are quick and fun.

    If you don't have the ability to cut rabbet joints when you build yours, you can always 'build up' a rabbet joint on the edge of your hive body. We did this years ago by stacking a few wedge bars from standard Lang frames and nailing them to the tops of the hive body, creating a makeshift rabbet joint. In other words, instead of cutting a 5/8" rabbet joint *into* the hive body, we built up a 5/8" rabbet *on top* of the hive. It worked well, and these hives are still in use. I attached a pic of one of our first horizontal Langs using this concept...you can see the nailed wedge bars creating the rabbet across the front and back of the hive.

    We sell our horizontal Langs at www.thebrighthive.com. Take a look if you want ideas...and we're happy to help you with dimensions if you're looking for a fun winter project Pictures attached as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by thebrighthive; 01-05-2018 at 07:33 AM.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    > i THINK a Tanzanian TBH is shaped so it can take a langstroth frame. But someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    "Tanzanian" merely specifies that the sides are vertical rather than slanted as in the "Kenya" top bar hive. I COULD be built to take Langstroth frames, but calling it an "Tanzanian" top bar hive does not specifically mean that. If you make the dimensions the same as a very long top bar hive it makes a hive that you can use top bars or put Langstroth frames in.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Difference between TTBH and a Lang

    huge difference top bars are pushed together without ant space between. KTBH has stooped sided, TTBH has straight sides. You can build youTTBH to take Lang frames, but the beekeeping style of a lang and and top bar are not the same.

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