Think about how bees live in hollowed out trees. Almost always in a vertical cavity . If I can get posts from 20 out of a hundred of pics by people showing swarms living in horizontal cavities with combs built perpendicular to the ground before the tree toppled over I will be a believer.Why would a top bar hive be any different?
The only cut out I have been involved in in the last 20 years had bees in the soffit of a Church. That space had been occupied many times for 30 years. The combs were horizontally placed, w/ the brood between one set of rafter ends and the honey between another pair of rafter ends. Just an anecdotal case.The question is "what do the bees do when left to their own devices"????
I do a lot of bee removal jobs, I find more bee's between floor joist, my largest removal was between rafters, 11 runs of comb 5ft long. I got 180lb of honey from them. I have remove 3 from walls in 6 years. I also gave a price on a removal where the bee's were in the floor joist, the house was 28ft wide bee's ran the whole span between the joist. Bee's will live any where they find.Think about how bees live in hollowed out trees. Almost always in a vertical cavity . If I can get posts from 20 out of a hundred of pics by people showing swarms living in horizontal cavities with combs built perpendicular to the ground before the tree toppled over I will be a believer.
The question is "what do the bees do when left to their own devices"????
Not to say it cant be done. The deeper the comb the higher I would suspect the overwinter success rate would be. Bees have a hard time moving vertically in the cold.. if the only food supply is to the left and right of them they are apt to starve out when the next nor-easter shows up.
I'm guessing also. Having a hard time following this analogy. Went from top bars up north, to where the rot starts in the tree. It would be real interesting to compare overwintered tbh's to other types by percentage of total hives of each in the north.Because there are more hollow trunks than there are hollow limbs, I'm guessing?
Are you sure starvation was the cause, if they had honey within reach...?The hardest thing for wintering a TBH is emergency feeding sugar. I make a frame and pour candy board into it. We have cold winters here, just not Montana cold, and my TBH is doing well in its second winter. In fact it was the only colony that survived last winter, the langs starved with honey next to the clusters.
Indeed, hollow branches tend to simply break and fall.And the answer is.....The rot that hollows out a tree almost always starts in the trunk. So. Even the very rare large enough hollow limbs for bees to live in were mostly started in a hollow trunk. There just aren't that many hollow limbs...But tons of hollow trunks..
I wouldn't consider floor joist space heated unless it was between the first and second floors. Sofitts certainly aren't heated. Not where the church bees were.I believe those bees in joists and attics, walls are warmed by the house/church and have an advantage over a TBH in the cold.