Top Bar?
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Thread: Top Bar?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Default Top Bar?

    OK what is your secret to getting the bees to draw sraight comb on your top bars? I have tried wax down the center of bars, a small strip of plastic foundation down the center of bars. Have read a strip of old comb down the center works. The things I have tried works ok but still get the off center comb. Always looking for a better way. Thanks

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  3. #2
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    The best thing to get them to draw straight is another piece of straight comb. Which doesn't help you if you don't have another piece of straight comb. I use a wedge on my bars and they do pretty good, but on a heavy flow it can get pretty bad. Some bars I mark and just take them out two and three at a time until they are harvested. They do a decent job in the brood nest usually, but if they start getting a bit sideways I have made some spacers that go down to about 1/8 of an inch on one side and about 3/8's on the other. That is normally enough for me to get the comb straight on the bars again.

    Starting them off with a follower close in to confine them to a smaller area can help as well. They almost never do a bad job in the 16 inch nucs that I have.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    a solid comb guide on each bar is important. also a reduced space to start with, like shannonswyatt said. I like to get my empty bars drawn out by placing them between drawn comb.

  5. #4
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    Mar 2016
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    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    your first year with a mostly empty hive, check the combs every week. Don't be shy about fixing curving combs immediately. It is fairly easy to move the edge of the comb a quarter inch and "mush" it onto the top bar. The bees don't mind (much) and that fresh white comb is easy to manipulate. The cells you crush will be rebuilt. It is much harder (or impossible) to fix an entire comb which is wonky, or is black with cocoons. Every time I decided "not today" I regretted it a week later.

    Once you get two straight combs, use them to your advantage: put a new bar or a barely started comb between them.

    I use a triangular wedge, but have heard of good results with Popsicle sticks or foundation strips. I've never heard from anyone who had luck with a wax bead or string.

  6. #5
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    Aug 2015
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Ruth, what is a solid comb guide?

  7. #6
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Checkerboard empty bars between straight drawn combs as they expand. You have to keep your eye on them during the flow.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferg View Post
    Ruth, what is a solid comb guide?
    not a waxed string. Not a waxed anything. Our melted beeswax on the bar is different than how they attach it. We don't do them any favors by waxing the bar. Some like to use the triangular wooden pieces; I don't have good luck with them. I prefer the skinny piece of wood that is wider than a popcycle stick (some use those in foundationless langs).

    I get my kits or at least my bars from Beeline Apiary. This is what they use and it is stapled in. I've seen others use a homemade version of this, but only have it wedged in there (not stapled or glued) and heavy combs can fall out.
    bars.jpg

    With these guides, my bees build all the way around the comb guide and onto the topbar, making for a solid attachment. With the wedge connections, I've not seen them build around it.
    DSCF3254.jpg

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Thanks Ruth, that is the information I was looking for. Good advice from all. My current Top Bar Hive, my 1st has some comb off center on the bar, next Top Bar Hive (under construction) hopefully will be better.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Off centered comb guides will cause that. So will a hive that is not level. Bees are expert builders.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    I have had some that "haven't read the memo".

  12. #11
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    May 2008
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    SPRUCE PINE, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferg View Post
    Ruth, what is a solid comb guide?
    A beveled point - extending as far along the bar as it possibly can does the job nicely.
    Gold Star Honeybees' top bars get the job done right the vast majority of the time. (The rest of the time, bees will do as bees please.

    Here's a link to a closeup:

    https://www.goldstarhoneybees.com/sp...-top-bar-hive/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    $10 a top bar?

    my 1st hive had full bar with guides like the GS ones.. I fould 3/4-1/2" trangle guide to be better (for me)
    I found ones like GS the bees build on the tip of the guide and its easer to break combs compared to a thinner guide were the bees will atach the comb to the flat of the bar as well giveing it more suport
    you can see the weekpoint here at the tip of the comb guide

    topbarhive-comb-754x375.jpg

    vs a more sold conection across the entire bar

    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Oh boy. Yes. I agree with what MSL said.

    I get 15 top bars out of an untreated 2x4 for about $4 and 20 minutes of labor (I'm slow... what can I say? I just don't want to cut any fingers...). I'll be glad to sell mine for $9 each instead of $11. (15 for $120 at $8 each is sounding pretty good actually).

    I'll feel guilty even so. Even if you don't have a table saw, and have zero woodworking kung fu, you can buy 2 x 1 lumber (nearly exactly the size you need... you could sand or plane it down to size to get it from 1.5 to 1 and 3/8). Nail or staple triangular trim onto that. Betcha could do that for a bit less than $9... maybe around $1 per bar. (oops... I just blew up my business model!)

    For the record, "saw kerf, popsicle stick" also will get you down to around $1 per top bar (or like 20 cents in my case). Whether you like triangular or slat, you should not pay this much. (Yes, shipping is included, but a flat rate box is like $10, so don't talk to me about shipping... $110 for 10 bars is crazy).
    Last edited by AvatarDad; 02-11-2018 at 07:53 AM. Reason: clarity

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    You mean 11 a bar ($110 for 10). I would gladly make them for half that.

  16. #15
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    Inver Grove Heights, MN, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    my 1st hive had full bar with guides like the GS ones.. I found 3/4-1/2" triangle guide to be better (for me)
    Does it matter how tall they are (vertically)?
    And how do you make the guides, presumably to then glue/staple/tack to the bars?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    60 degree angle on a table saw and just keep fliping the workpice
    and then I hit it with a few staples, as noted with the smaller guide the bees attach to the bar so the guide isn't taking much stress So I don't gule
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  18. #17
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    Inver Grove Heights, MN, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    That's really smart with the 60 degree thing! Thanks.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Top Bar?

    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

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