Top Bar Comb Spacing
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
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    17

    Default Top Bar Comb Spacing

    What is considered the optimum spacing between combs (brood) and honey if different?
    Been researching here with a lot of great information found, but unable to find answer.
    VERY nu-bee, in Kentucky.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,038

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    Possibly because there is no one answer.

    If your bees prefentially build small cell (4.9 mm), the ideal spacing is 31 mm wide bars.

    However most bees do not build small cell they build larger, around 5.1 to 5.3. In that case a bar spacing of 31 mm may make the bees more prone to cross combing, and a bar spacing of 33 mm to 35 mm is better.

    That's in the brood nest. In honey storage areas in wild hives, they have a comb spacing of up to 45 mm.

    However for simplicity, and the ability to exchange bars from one area of the hive to another, it's best to have all the bars the same width.

    So a good general compromise that works in pretty much every situation, a bar width of 33 mm to 35 mm is most convenient all round.

    That's my 2 cents attempt at a fully explained answer.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    Thank you Oldtimer.
    2cents well spent.
    That is exactly what I was wanting to know. Wild vs- Built hive and why!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    My experience having tried everything from 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" is that they prefer 1 1/4" for brood and 1 1/2" for honey. I use about half and half. Natural brood comb I've measured many times and it varies from 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" with most of it 1 1/4". If you are into metric, 1 1/8"=30mm 1 1/4"=32mm 1 3/8"=35mm 1 1/2"=38mm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    Thank you for the additional information! Especially the wild dimensions. Tons of research/study at present, but looking to 2020 for Top Bar build and first hive.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Wise County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    I'm not sure it makes much difference as my bee's build brood on 1 1/4 & 1 1/2 inch bars. They put honey where they want to also. And they sometimes stick comb together at the top on the 1 1/2 inch bars.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    La Grange, Kentucky (Henry Co.)
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Top Bar Comb Spacing

    Quote Originally Posted by mcr View Post
    I'm not sure it makes much difference as my bee's build brood on 1 1/4 & 1 1/2 inch bars. They put honey where they want to also. And they sometimes stick comb together at the top on the 1 1/2 inch bars.
    Thank you for your input. My primary goal is to NOT cause them to work their entire lives fixing a major mistake that I've made due to not asking the correct question! Your input/experience is greatly appreciated.
    I have complete confidence the bees have multiple millennia better knowledge than I do regarding their needs.
    If the Lord delight in us, he will bring us into this land; a land which floweth with milk and honey

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