TBH broodnest size
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    569

    Default TBH broodnest size

    Hi all, been a few years since I ran my TBH’s. Black bears took them out when I was having bear issues. They wintered great for me up here in northern NY. I use the Mangum type TBH. Question: How big for winter broodnest config? Thinking I used 12-15 combs. Sound right?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    319

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    I think it sounds good. Err on the high side your first year and see how it goes. But that range is in the right place.

    Mine overwinter very well on 12 bars, but I'm in balmy Georgia and the bees often bring in pollen on Christmas Day. Your winters will be a lot different I imagine.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,771

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    if you winter brood nest is including their honey stores, that would be ok. Otherwise, if you are just asking how many bars of brood comb for winter for the bees, I'd say more like 6-8.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default

    Yes including winter stores. I’m going with 15 combs. Anything on the other side of this will be considered harvestable.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
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    1,080

    Default

    I base on the colony size. I've overwintered 8 bars total before. I've also overwintered a full 4' tbh with nearly all combs in place. Like any hive, a lot of it is based on regional decisions, type of bees (frugal behavior or lack thereof) and colony strength.
    Season 5. TF.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    Clayton, the way you do it is the way I do it. Decide a reasonable overwinter size and harvest whatever is beyond that. (Rotating and retiring comb as possible).

    If a Fall dearth wipes out their stores you can feed in fall to fill up the 15 you are leaving them. Your plan sounds great to me....

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default

    AvatarDad that is exactly how I approach TBH beekeeping. I have had many years of langstroth beekeeping (~35 yrs). Just a hand full of years with tbh’s. Just needed confirmation on adequate broodnest size. My wife and I are considering moving west to southern Montana. Possibly to an off grid location. If that happens I’ll move to TBH’s and not look back.

    Next question I’m thinking of side by side tbh nucs. Single tbh divided in half with a piece of insulation board. Entrance on each end. 6-8 combs seem ok for tbh nuc’s? These could also double as mating nucs during summer. Also the insulation divider could be pulled out if queen on one side is harvested for sale or requeening. I’m working on a model for management for both honey/ wax production. Queen rearing, and replacement nucs for covering winter loss.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    319

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    I've thought about them that small but have never had the courage to try it. I can overwinter in a 24 inch hive (about 16-17 bars, with the last 3 empty), but the hive is full of bees by March down here. I've considered a 3 foot "duplex" with about 13 per side; I might do that later in summer.

    Of course, again, geography: down here overwintering is not about sharing heat in the brood nest, but in figuring out what they will eat when it is 75 degrees in December. Creative January feeding..... luckily last year we had a great Fall flow, so I didn't have to feed in October... or January.

    I think it would be interesting to try. One reason I like the Palmer style stacking nucs is that it is so easy to grow the nest from 4 to 8 to 12. One reason to like Langs. Try it and tell us how it goes!

    Mike

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    319

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    Actually, Clayton, my design is Crowder and yours is Magnum, meaning your combs are significantly deeper than mine (I've built both). So, your 8 would be my "10 or 11", so I think "yes" go ahead and give it a shot.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
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    441

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    I run TBH that have comb the size of a Lang deep. The bees regularly (3 winters now) overwinter on about 7 combs, with 5-7 combs of honey beyond that. I figure they should have a proportional amount of honey stored for their size - if they are 8 bars strong in late October, they should have more honey beyond that.

    Having said that, I find that the bees do NOT move horizontally, like a typewriter, through their stores. They must send out bees from the cluster, or extend the cluster temporarily, to fill up on honey they warmed, and then they come back? I have had a couple hives where I could see the cluster - all winter - from the entrance hole.

    Also they seem to use the majority of their stores AFTER broodrearing starts, and they do not start much before pollen begins coming into the hive. I've checked, is why I am saying this. So.... you can get a sense at the opening of the season, when pollen starts coming in, to be sure they will have enough stores.

    So... you can keep a couple bars back from harvesting and don't crush/strain until you know they can bring in enough nectar, or you could feed....

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
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    17

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton Huestis View Post
    Yes including winter stores. Iím going with 15 combs. Anything on the other side of this will be considered harvestable.
    NUBee question: With the 15 combs (in ideal world); how many of the 15 would be 1.25" "brood" bars leaving x-number of 1.5" bars food storage?
    OR does it even make a significant difference?

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Hall, Georgia, USA
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    319

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    I'm doing 1 3/8 and 1 5/8, but the idea is the same. All of the 13 to 15 I leave in winter are the small size; there are zero big ones. I don't see significant widening of the comb until about bar 20 or so and that's generally harvested (or empty). I don't start inserting the bigger bars until the bees sort of demand it, and that's always away from the main brood nest.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: TBH broodnest size

    Thanks AvatarDad. Thanks for responding to an old thread. Very helpful info. I was going that direction, but really needed a conformational push! My primary goal is for pollination purposes, so I want them to be 'happy' and I'll settle for any honey they absolutely won't need.
    Thanks again.

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