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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have spent the last month of my free time working on my hive. I am just about done and my bees will be here this week. The hive inside dimensions are 16" at the top, 10" at the bottom and about 46" long. I think I figured it is about 97 liters.

I have put in 4 3/4" front access holes and a large screened vent at the back.

I made 2 sizes of top bars 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" and I made enough for a second hive. They each have 12 separate table saw cuts so I figured while I was at it I might as well make plenty.

So my first question is how many small bars should I start with for my 3# package? Would it be a bad idea to use a 1.5" bar at the very front to give them a little more room to come and go?

How many 3/4" entrances do they need open to start with?

How can I tell when I need to add more brood bars vs honey bars?

Table Wood Furniture Hardwood Floor


Wood Plywood Hardwood Table Beige


Wood Plywood Hardwood Lumber Table


Workbench Table Furniture Wood Machine


Table Wood Furniture Floor Plywood
 

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Hive looks good. I don't have much of a platform to speak from but I'd block off all but one entrance hole to start with. How are you planning on feeding them? And is that treated wood?

Those bars are similar to what my brother and I made... there's a lot of cutting on them to be sure! I like the one piece idea, though. If we could have found chamfer or triangle moulding I would have much prefered to just assemble them. I'm building a couple of swarm traps and I am going to glue tongue depressors in... it took way too long to make 72 top bars for our two hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How are you planning on feeding them? And is that treated wood?
I am not sure how I am going to feed them yet. I think I will use a quart jar with beads on top. I may start it out on the bee side of the hive and then move it to the other side with a 3/4" access hole after a few hours or maybe a day.

No that is not treated. It is pine left over from building my house.
 

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I am not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate? That is the first I have heard of this, or I may have just overlooked it.
I think he means a 3/8" spacer (at least I think 3/8"?) between the front of the hive and the first top bar so that there's proper space before the first comb. So basically you need a 3/8" wide "top bar" to go in front of the first bar.

I am not sure how I am going to feed them yet. I think I will use a quart jar with beads on top. I may start it out on the bee side of the hive and then move it to the other side with a 3/4" access hole after a few hours or maybe a day.

No that is not treated. It is pine left over from building my house.
Some of it just looked greenish but must have been the pictures. Because of your top I'd seriously consider modifying a couple of bars to allow for top feeding somehow. I'm not sure how exactly you could accomplish that, but being able to feed them directly above the cluster will be very adventageous in the cold. If the jar lid was small enough you could probably clamp two bars together and use a holesaw to cut the correct size hole then install a screen so bees can't pile out when you pull the jar to refill. Of course that complicates matters when they start building comb so it may be more trouble than it's worth... but I thought long and hard trying to figure out a way to do it and just couldn't quite come up with a good plan. I thought about somehow making a "spacer" about 1/4" that would go between bars that had holes for syrup feeding, but didn't have the time to think long enough about it. I'd have had to had some sort of baggie feeder or something as my top is not high enough to have a jar on top without doing a lot of monkeying around.

It might be that there's just no good way from above, but it's worth thinking about.
 

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So my first question is how many small bars should I start with for my 3# package? Would it be a bad idea to use a 1.5" bar at the very front to give them a little more room to come and go?

How many 3/4" entrances do they need open to start with?

How can I tell when I need to add more brood bars vs honey bars?
Question 1: I can't actually answer how many narrower bars you should use. All the hives in my bar are one width (1 3/8"), which simplifies things immensely. I also find that they reuse comb for their purposes, so the comb that had bees in summer, will be backfilled with honey in the fall. Therefore, I'm not sure that I actually buy into the idea of different sized bars. I think it's easier to keep all bars one size and add spacers if necessary. Sorry, I know my 2 cents came after you made all your bars. About the first bar, I agree with earlier comments that you need a narrow strip (about 3/8") as your first bar.

Question 2: Are you getting a package or a nuc? I ordered a nuc last year, and they were very strong, so they ended up needing all the entrances right away. If you are getting a package, maybe try opening up one or two at first. Then watch to see if they are having a hard time going in or coming out. If so, open a new entrance.

Question 3: Again, I think that you'll find it simpler if you just use bars that are all the same size. The bees will build how they want to, and it would eliminate this worry for you.
 

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+1 on bars the same size. The upshot is those 1.5 inch bars are easy to trim down.

I would go with just a couple holes at first. It is amazing how fast they can get out even restricted down to a single small hole.

For feeding you can use an inverted quart jar will small holes in the lid. Vacuum will hold it in and they will suck it dry. Give them a little bit of time to form a cluster before putting it in, otherwise they may form the cluster around the sugar water. I would only feed them a little, maybe a quart or two since there should be plenty of forage for them.

As far as knowing when to swap in thick bars I would rather swap in bars in the brood nest and expand that continually. Eventually the bars at the back will not be used for brood and you will know were the brood nest ends. Then you could use wider bars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think he means a 3/8" spacer (at least I think 3/8"?) between the front of the hive and the first top bar so that there's proper space before the first comb. So basically you need a 3/8" wide "top bar" to go in front of the first bar.



Some of it just looked greenish but must have been the pictures. Because of your top I'd seriously consider modifying a couple of bars to allow for top feeding somehow. I'm not sure how exactly you could accomplish that, but being able to feed them directly above the cluster will be very adventageous in the cold. If the jar lid was small enough you could probably clamp two bars together and use a holesaw to cut the correct size hole then install a screen so bees can't pile out when you pull the jar to refill. Of course that complicates matters when they start building comb so it may be more trouble than it's worth... but I thought long and hard trying to figure out a way to do it and just couldn't quite come up with a good plan. I thought about somehow making a "spacer" about 1/4" that would go between bars that had holes for syrup feeding, but didn't have the time to think long enough about it. I'd have had to had some sort of baggie feeder or something as my top is not high enough to have a jar on top without doing a lot of monkeying around.

It might be that there's just no good way from above, but it's worth thinking about.

I am going to have to look up how top feeding works.



Question 1: I can't actually answer how many narrower bars you should use. All the hives in my bar are one width (1 3/8"), which simplifies things immensely. I also find that they reuse comb for their purposes, so the comb that had bees in summer, will be backfilled with honey in the fall. Therefore, I'm not sure that I actually buy into the idea of different sized bars. I think it's easier to keep all bars one size and add spacers if necessary. Sorry, I know my 2 cents came after you made all your bars. About the first bar, I agree with earlier comments that you need a narrow strip (about 3/8") as your first bar.

Question 2: Are you getting a package or a nuc? I ordered a nuc last year, and they were very strong, so they ended up needing all the entrances right away. If you are getting a package, maybe try opening up one or two at first. Then watch to see if they are having a hard time going in or coming out. If so, open a new entrance.

Question 3: Again, I think that you'll find it simpler if you just use bars that are all the same size. The bees will build how they want to, and it would eliminate this worry for you.
I guess I want to know how many bars should I start them with on this side of the follower board. I was thinking 10-12. I plan to make a few spacers to add to the 1 1/4" bars if I need too. I probably made 3/5 of my bars 1 1/4 so I am pretty flexible with that. I am getting a package. I guess I will just block 2 of the entrances and see how it is going.
 

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I am going to have to look up how top feeding works.
With where you are I'm assuming your nights aren't getting that cold, correct? If not I would feed with an upside down mason jar. It's easy to do and you won't have to hack up a bunch of top bars either. My comment was probably misdirected based on where you're at. It's going to be 20 degrees here tonight.

I guess I want to know how many bars should I start them with on this side of the follower board. I was thinking 10-12. I plan to make a few spacers to add to the 1 1/4" bars if I need too. I probably made 3/5 of my bars 1 1/4 so I am pretty flexible with that. I am getting a package. I guess I will just block 2 of the entrances and see how it is going.
I think I have about 10 in mine now, they will only cover about five when clustered up. If I had it to do over again I think I'd go with about 8 bars. All 1.25"ers.
 

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I don't see that all one size simplifies anything. When I had one size the bees cheated smaller in the brood nest and bigger in the honey storage area so I had to deal with that. Having two sizes made it easier to deal with. 1 1/2" bars I don't have to rip, as they are the width of a one by two. But if you want all one size, then make them all 1 1/4" and make some 1/4" spacers. You can add the spacers where you need them when the bees get off of the bars. You will get smaller cells and a more compact brood nest that they can keep warm with less effort at 1 1/4" than 1 3/8" You also get less drones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright I have added a 3/8 spacer in front of the front of my small bars. I have the roof all finished. I am just going to add a quart jar with beads on a sled, on a string into the main hive. I will be able to move the jar without totally disturbing the bees if they start building comb on it, or at least that is my plan, I am not sure if it is a good one or not. The bees have been weather delayed so they are not shipping until Friday now. It seems like a bad idea, almost guaranteeing that they are stuck somewhere over the weekend. I designed the roof to accommodate 1 inch r5 foam insulation. When we get to July I will probably put that on. The weather for next week is looking like it is going to have highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s and 50s.

You can see my 3/8" spacer bar here:
Wood Hardwood Wood stain Floor Plywood


This is my jar sled. The string will run under the follower board.
Mason jar Water Glass Table Floor


Here is the finished hive. It will set to the left of the picture on the east side of the cedar tree to keep it out of the blazing afternoon summer sun.





 

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Here is a pail feed that works the same:
http://www.greenbeehives.com/gb-feeding-pail.html

it probably wouldn't fit in your hive though. The bad thing about plastic is that it expands and contracts with the heat and it can pump out the syrup with the expansion and contraction.
That's a great point and something I never thought of. I considered trying to rig something up with a plastic container and with temperatures ranging from 20 at night to 75 during the day here that could have been a disaster.
 

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you want them small. I usually just use the smallest screwdriver I can find and use it to poke very small holes.

Another trick is with a plastic jar is to drill one hole in the middle of the treads. Put the lid on it and turn it over. It works the same way, and it will put out syrup along the edge of the lid. I usually do this since we get peanuts in a plastic jar that is bigger than a quart jar.
 

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Can anyone comment on weither a semi open top will cause an issue with them possibly building comb up above? Mine is not quite as spacious as onesojourner's, but there is some air there.

Also, the hive looks great, I like the look!
 
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