Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Mt. BawBaw Victoria Australia
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    Default Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Hi every one,
    As mentioned in my previous post i'm just finishing off a new hive and will be taking delivery of a swarm that has started a colony in a wine barrel at my mom's house around 3weeks ago.
    Still debating about the entrance position of my hive, but whether i go central to the hive with a follower board on each side or pick an end, how many bars should i start off with when i initially introduce the swarm?
    Is there recommended volume size? My bars are 1.25 inches wide and as the brood nest grows i will be introducing .25 inch spacers between the bars in the area where i think the honey supers will be as the colony matures.
    Oh and how long should i keep this initial size/space before i move the follower boards to increase the hives capacity? A day, a few days, a week, a month i'm not sure.

    Cheers and thanks in advance

    Libby

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    1,051

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Welcome to Beesource, Libby.

    It would be much easier to give you advise if you put your location on your posts. We have no idea what your weather is like or expected to to be like in the near future. This can make a huge difference in the advise you will get.

    How big is the swarm? Put enough bars on to give them room......check them often and then add as they build out comb.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,748

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    I like to start out my colonies with at least 8 bars. I want them to feel roomy enough, but not give them too much free space that they make wonky comb. I've also found the secret to straight comb each time is to add empty bars between already drawn comb. So once your swarm colony gets going, you would space apart 2 of the drawn combs and add an empty one between. For your spring, you would be adding 2-3 of these empty bars a week and tapering off as the nectar flow dries up. The colony should be able to draw out about 25-28 bars in a year with a good flow. I also make sure the bees have about 3-4 empty bars before the follower board, even though I am adding empty comb into the brood nest.

    I dislike adding the spacers and prefer just to keep mine all complete bars, but I do know how they draw out the large "honey fins" on the tops of the combs. I simply slice them off into a container and the bees don't seem to build them back.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Mt. BawBaw Victoria Australia
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    "It would be much easier to give you advise if you put your location on your posts. We have no idea what your weather is like or expected to to be like in the near future. This can make a huge difference in the advise you will get."

    Understood Tim we are located in forests near Mt. BawBaw Victoria Australia. We are now in spring. Summer will officially start on the 1st of December.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Mt. BawBaw Victoria Australia
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    12

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Thanks Ruth do think it would be a good idea when i open the barrel to take some of the existing comb that may be there and carefully attach it up to some of the new top bars with thin wire so the colony can repair and re attach this comb in the new hive, then remove the wire?
    Cheers.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,748

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Libee View Post
    Thanks Ruth do think it would be a good idea when i open the barrel to take some of the existing comb that may be there and carefully attach it up to some of the new top bars with thin wire so the colony can repair and re attach this comb in the new hive, then remove the wire?
    Cheers.
    yes! Transfer all of it that is not crooked. I prefer to use painters tape instead of wire as the comb will be super soft.
    sling2.jpg
    (this is not my photo, but it's all I could grab off my work computer)

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    313

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    My Spring configuration is enough bars to hold the population comfortably plus 3 or 4 empty bars for growth. You'll have to check weekly and add new bars as needed if you do it this way.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sedgwick Co. KS
    Posts
    1,051

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Libee View Post
    Understood Tim we are located in forests near Mt. BawBaw Victoria Australia. We are now in spring. Summer will officially start on the 1st of December.
    My first thought was to tell you, unless you live in the extreme southern portion of the US, it's a bad time to start a colony.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Key largo fla usa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Starting a new hive how many top bars should i start off with ?

    Hello from Captgreg that’s a good idea with painters tape, what I do is build all of my top bars to completely fill inside of hive and I cut a groove in middle of my top bar and then cut a thin strip to put in groove then dip thin strip in hot wax.
    Also I number my bars and that lets me put everything back in order when I’m working on it.

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