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We see a lot of people will post in regard to tbh's that they "produce less honey" than langs or other hives perhaps.

I see honey production important in two ways. The first as 'survival' or Primary honey sources. This being the honey they need to survive on over winter.

The second being Surplus honey which is that above and beyond what the bees need to survive on.

Even those who take all the honey as 'Surplus" honey acknowledge that bees need to create stores of Primary honey to survive or they are just havers who don't care if the colony dies because they plan to replace them with pkgs the following spring anyway.

So, when we are talking about TBH's and honey production, are you saying that the bees in your hives are not making enough honey to survive on or are you saying they are not making as much surplus honey to collect?

There is a point, because there are many who would say no matter what hive you use, the first year of the colony really shouldn't expect surplus honey production anyway. There are also those who might suggest that TBH's are not hives really meant to be used if you are interested in surplus honey production.

My TBH's this coming spring, I will answer these questions for myself in regards to do TBH's produce enough honey to survive on. Then I will note whether they produce enough that might be considered 'surplus' as well.

For those who have had TBH colonies live for more than one season, I would be interested in your observations into survival honey production vs surplus honey production and the correlation to other hive types.

Big Bear
 

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both my TBH's produced excess honey. However, I supered them to get it... also kept putting empty bars in the brood nest to force expansion... I have saved the honey in case they need it in the spring. One is Russian and the other Carnolian. Both have reasonably small clusters so I'm probably not going to need it. Don't want to feed them sugar unless absolutely necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
can you elaborate on how long these colonies have lived and what production was like without supers?

Big Bear
 

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this is the second year for both. The first year I didn't need to super because they took all summer to build out the TBH. Both are 48". Both built out about 30 bars the first year. This year they completely filled the bars and I supered them in the summer. Both produced about 8 frames of honey this year as well as the honey in the TBH. In contrast I started a long hive - also 48" - the same year. I needed to super it the first year and this year took 2 supers of honey off it. Much more productive. However, it is a Carni and the other 2 are Russians. I like the long hive better for managing bees. Seems to take a little less work and more production. I don't treat my bees so this is really the test winter to see if they'll survive. I'm back with bees for the 1st time since the '70's when beekeeping was MUCH different.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thank you. good to hear that they are indeed producing surplus.

I hope they pull through winter well.

Big Bear
 

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camero7: I assume (bad thing to do) your two TBHs are of the slanted sided type and your other (long) having vertical sides? In either case, you mentioned supering, assuming again, I take it that the top of your TBHs will accept standard Lang. equipment?? Another question is: with the TBHs and/or the supers do you use top bars only or frames or a combination. Also; foundation or foundationless.
Many options to consider! I built a slanted sided TBH (48") for a swarm mid last season (late July) and the gals built out 12 bars, I was imprssed! I am now in the process of finishing two long deeps to accept Lang. equipment. So looking for some input on setting up the internals, so far I have settled on 1" bars w/3/8" spacers.
 

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raosmun, you can super a slanted side tbh providing you make the supers yourself. They can have tb's as well. I built my bars with beespace between them so they could get above the bars and into supers if needed. I believe some guys just leave a few solid bars out as well for the bees to get into the supers. I built mine last year and will be populating it this year, it's a 3 medium sized long hive and will have a mix of tb's and if needed medium frames.
 
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