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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to beekeeping, and I am starting with top bar hives. I have been reading up on overwintering nucs, doing splits, etc, but most of the information I have been able to find is for Langstroth hives.

If you do this for your top bars, how do you do it? What kind of boxes do you make or use?
 

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Just make some boxes with the same profile as you full-size TBH, but the new "nucs" should be shorter. Make them short enough that you can carry one around by yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Does it matter how much shorter? Should I have a certain number of bars in it? Can there be too many or too few?

My hives are going to be 48" long.
 

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a typical 5 frame nuc has about 670 sq inches of foundation space (1340 if you count both sides) if you calculate the area of your TBH foundation (I know youare not using foundation but if the bar was fully drawn out what would that area be?) you can get a guide as to how many bars you would need to have about that same area. that is ,, if you want it to be the same,, it will vary from hive design to hive design,, since, as you know, there are no standard dimensions for a TBH
 

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I like to build my topbar nuc with enough room for a feeder to go inside the hive, so mine ended up being about 14", which is enough room for 7-8 bars plus an inverted mason jar feeder. You can also buy division board feeders from Beeline Apiaries (entire hives too). I find the Masonite board on the feeder eventually leaks at the seams. But I like the DBF's better though because I can refill them without disturbing the hive. So for this year, I've recoated the seams with beeswax.

I've also used my nuc when working my full size hive so I can set drawn bars inside to give me some working room inside the hive. (although now I have switched over to the metal file folder hangers so I can take pictures too). And my nuc also doubles as my swarm trap. So you definitely want to make up a couple.
 

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The nuc size TBH's come in handy for many things like harvesting combs of honey, storing extra combs, mating extra queens etc... With my nuc sized TBH's I use a feeder shim above the bars with a gap for access near the back just behind a false follower board (follower with a bee space all around the edge). This way a nuc can expand as far out as seven bars of my small nucs or ten bars with the larger ones. The false follower allows for easy access into the nucs when full.
 

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Top Bar,

Some TB keepers will use full size hives to keep nucs in. They put a follower board in the middle & an entrance on both ends. Very easy to close entrance up and convert to full size if you need too.
 

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I make my TBH nucs 18" long with entrances at each end and a divider board. That way I can put the board in the middle and have two nucs, or I can move it to one end to block that end's entrance and have one larger nuc. It gives me 4-1/2 bars on each side with the divider so that is good for one bar of brood, pollen, honey and a small feeder on each side (I use small water bottles with the tops cut off and just stick them inside the hive). The nuc pictured has one large (1-1/2) inch hole on one end, and two smaller (1" holes on the other end). Both ends work equally well.
Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 8.29.42 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 8.28.45 PM.jpg
 

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This year I went into winter with all nucs. One strong in a full hive sectioned off by a follower, one 10 bar stand alone nuc, and one hive split by followers into three nucs (7, 10, 10). The two left standing are the two stand alone. Probably annedotal but combining space didn't work out like I hoped. The one 10 bar was the strongest but needed a bit more honey. Based on that I would say ten to fourteen bars. My new nuc has 14 brood bars plus two spacers. It also has a solid follower and two entrances so if I needed to I could separate it into two nucs. I had an 8 bar nuc but it filled up over night it seemed. Way too small.
 

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This was my 8 bar nuc by mid July from an early June split.
2013-07-15_crowded_nuc.jpg
I just couldn't keep the colony small enough to stay in the nuc.
 
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