Extra hole for honey production
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Extra hole for honey production

    Hi there, one thing i think I've seen as a problem with top bar hives is that bees don't like going past the first few honeycombs, almost as if it forms a cap. I'm wondering if all the traffic at the entrance makes it onerous for bees to constantly be making the trip back and forth through the brood nest. To counter this, I was thinking of making a cork sized hole around 12 bars into the hive. The hole would be open during the honey flow and closed afterwards to prevent robbing. I think this would be similar to an imrie shim in a langstroth. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,897

    Default Re: Extra hole for honey production

    Quote Originally Posted by NJBeeVet View Post
    ..., I was thinking of making a cork sized hole around 12 bars into the hive. The hole would be open during the honey flow and closed afterwards to prevent robbing. I think this would be similar to an imrie shim in a langstroth. Thoughts?
    Should work.

    From my experience, however, when you temporarily open that auxiliary, horizontal entrance, they will NOT use it for traffic (not much, if at all).
    They will keep using the original primary entrance for all traffic - this primary entrance location will be engraved into the colony pretty hard (notice - this will be different from the vertical auxiliary entrances; those work differently).

    But they will for sure utilize the secondary entrance for ventilation - a good thing in itself during hot, mid-summer flow.
    This in turn should promote the bees start using deeper portions of the hive.

    PS: but also, assuming the warm way entrance, you are to be constantly pushing the brood nest away from the main entrance - that in itself is pushing the bees deeper.
    Last edited by GregV; 02-26-2019 at 10:19 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,855

    Default Re: Extra hole for honey production

    bees have a size in their heads (so to speak) about how big they want to get before they swarm, to get production you have to trigger different behaviors. In a lang you place an empty super over head and they are triggered to fill it as there is "sposed to be" honey over head they don't react the same in a Warre, and if you don't move some combs around for a ladder, will often not move down in to a 3rd box, and then swarm.

    In a KTBHI keep adding empty bars to the center of the brood nest, and keep a bar or 2 between the brood nest and the 1st honey comb, then all the honey combs are alternated with empty bars. This way they always have space to draw and expand, and my new combs are being drawn between to old combs, keeping everything strait. It also feed brood combs to the back.
    #1 this gives me tuffer combs as they have been reinforced with a few rounds of cocoons and are less likly to break
    #2 it gives me brood combs full of feed for splits, so after they use up the honey there is a pl;ace for the queen to lay

    The above is why it often takes more visits (2-4 a month) to manage a KTBH Vs with a lang you can get "reasonable" results with far fewer visits.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,763

    Default Re: Extra hole for honey production

    I have multiple topbar hives and have run them since 2013. My best ones have 3 evenly spaced holes along the long side of the box rather than entrance holes on the short side. You can also move the more mature honey bars to the back of the hive so the empty comb is between the brood nest and the food stores.

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