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Discussion Starter #1
I am just finishing up my first TBH and a complete beginner.

Here is the TBH. I need to need to nail the campfer strips to top bar, couple hinges/glass for view window, follower boards and paint. So far it is totally free from scraps including ripping the campfer with a power saw....that sucked but make the project more rewarding so I want to keep it going.



For the legs I was thinking of filling 5 gal buckets with concrete and using pvc pipe. The concrete would be topped with water to create a barrier for ants. I am over run with a aphid hording ants in the garden and yard. The bucket might need a couple kicker for wind resistance. Any problems with this idea?


The main questions I have to get it ready are:

1) Legs

2) Entrance locations. I'm thinking multiple with corking options.

3) Bottom. Do I screen or board for my zone or make a option to do both.

4) Viewing window. Is glass ok. I have free scraps.
 

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1 - Are you going to bury the buckets of concrete? If not, it really looks like it will tip over in the first 5 mph wind. I like the PVC idea, but I'm also unsure of how well it will stay strong being out in the sun. Seems like it will get brittle and crack/break.

2 - This may be difficult with your lid, but consider the option. http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm

3 - Lots of folks are concerned that screened bottoms cause issues, especially with top bar hives. If you do go with a screened bottom, you must have a way to close it up. And you for sure what it closed up when you put bees into it.

4 - Glass is OK, we used some old windows and cut the glass to size for ours.
 

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1- As suggested by JW, bury the buckets in the ground, otherwise it will tip most likely. And avoid PVC, it doesnt hold up to sunlight too well. a couple of 2x4s would be a better option

2- In my TBH that has bees right now I have the first bar a bit from the wall, allowing bees to get in and out, along with a cut into the wall with a jigsaw,

3- Stay away from screened and just go with a solid board. If you have the ability to build a mite tray, go for it. Otherwise, no.

4- Glass is fine.
 

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I think the buckets were to be filled with cement and topped with water...shouldn't tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.

1) I realize pvc does not hold up to UV so the buckets and pvc would be easily replaced and mobile. I have lots of both. The idea is to make it all easily replaceable, mobile and ant proof via a water bridge that they can not cross to get up post and into hive. It would only take a 10 to 12 in hole for the bucket to keep it from blowing over or some kickers on the bucket. I would put sleeves in concrete so pvc post would slide out and brackets on hive. I could go with 2x4's and a grease skirt. I am just trying to utilize what I have laying around and fight the ants. They climb 12 ft to my aquaponics system on deck to bring aphids and suck sugars.

2) After I got the lid done I found Bush's entrance and tips...just last night lol. I could do that with my lid and add some other holes that would be corked for different options. I'm still learning so the follower boards, broods and moving bars around has me a bit confused. I wanted to have options for when it all sinks in and I have that "oh crap, I should have the entrance over here", moment.

3) I am leaning towards a interchangeable screen/solid bottom. I have a lot to learn and mites have me worried along with hot humid summers. I made the top so insulation can be added for winter but I have not learned enough about summer heat.

4) I read something about condensation problems with glass vs lexan/acrylic.


Thanks again.
 

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I think the PVC would break. What about a hollow metal chain link fence post. I would be concerned about it blowing over though. What if you used three buckets, then it would be more stable. It it goes will it will be full of brood and honey and be top heavy.

I like your top and made one similar to that, but now I make them light and I make them so I can easily get them off and raise them a bit in the heat.

I like solids personally, even on my Langs. I wouldn't mind if they could be opened up, but I really like having a simple design that I can build quickly. Adding a removable bottom would mean more hardware and more work for me. Having a screen won't kill any varoa, it just gives you a way to count them, and I don't plan on counting mites. If I did I would probably do a sugar roll since it would be more accurate, particularly in a TBH.

Condensation on the glass is a good thing. Air will condense on the coldest surface, and you are better to have it on the sides then over the bees heads. Condensation overhead in the winter is a death sentence. Wet bees are dead bees in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Missy and I got creative! Just need legs. There is enough gap around lid for entrance. I might need to close some of it up.


 

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I think the buckets were to be filled with cement and topped with water...shouldn't tip.
They will absolutely tip, in fact it might be difficult to get it to stand up on them without tipping. If they're buried partway they have a chance. I still think a 4x4 would be a better option.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree it will tip if not buried. I have some concrete counter top sealer that is made from bee wax and food grade mineral oil. Should I coat the top bars?
 

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No, the top bars don't need anything. Some folks put wax on the edges as a guide, but if you have a wedge you don't need that. The bees will attach there wax stronger than you can by melting wax on them.
 

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A hive full of bars and honey gets heavy. If you are set on the bucket idea I would use 4 and build an "H" as a stand. Also realize that a 5 gallon bucket exposed to UV all day is good for about a year before it gets brittle and cracks, this will let the water trap out.
 

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> 1) Legs

I gave up on legs and use a stool to work the hives on the ground. They blow over.

> 2) Entrance locations. I'm thinking multiple with corking options.

Mine is no holes and just the gap at the last bar. Multiple locations sometimes don't get guarded. I'd rather have all the guard bees in one place...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TBHEntrance1.JPG

> 3) Bottom. Do I screen or board for my zone or make a option to do both.

I would not screen it. It's more work and cost for no gain.

> 4) Viewing window. Is glass ok. I have free scraps.

Glass is great. You can scrape it down with a razor, which you can't do with plexiglass...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, I get my first package tomorrow. I tried to get a nuc but nobody wants me to cut a langstroth down. I have a gap in the lid at the front and both sides that will allow bees to come in the top via a gap in the first bar. I also plan on 6 holes 3 top and 3 bottom at the same end which will be corked for options. That way I don't have to drill in a live hive later if the gap at top does not work well.

1) If you have an end entrance should I have a follower board about 10 bars back?

2) Since it is a package they probably need a feeder. Should this be behind the follower board with an access hole?

Any other tips for starting a late package would be appreciated. I can't seem to narrow down my questions in the search function.
 

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Holy cow! That is late for a package. I don't know what the flows are like were you are, but it may be tough getting them ready for winter. Feed, feed, feed. Hopefully you don't have any queen issues or you could run into problems.
 

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Another idea for legs are telescoping square tubes. They are relatively inexpensive and seeing they telescope it will be easier to level your hive. I would definitely use 4 legs. You can pick them up at some hardware stores and just about any metal supply store
 

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2) Since it is a package they probably need a feeder. Should this be behind the follower board with an access hole?
I had what I thought was an ingenious tbh feeder: a follower board with a hole that allowed the bees to access the syrup jar on the other side of the board, but not go any further into the unused hive (the lid and bottom of the jar were enclosed in a little "house"). Unfortunately, this drew black ants of every size from smallest to largest, short of carpenter ants, and my bees were besieged. The ants were finding their way into the bee area and harassing everybody - the bees were spending all their time chasing ants and not doing their bee duties. When I took out some bars, bees would actually come flying out carrying black ants (alive) almost as big as they were. And the bees were very, very cranky. I ended up putting the syrup jar *inside* the bee area, got rid of the ants with Borax (not in the hive) and now there is peace in the valley. I keep the jar against the follower board under bars without any comb. I can take off a few bars, change the jar, and no one even looks up. As for #1, I would give them fewer bars to start, maybe 6 or 7 for now.
 

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If you did build a screened bottom, close it off before installing your new package. It would be a shame to have them abscond at this point. :eek:

Once the bees are established, you can reevaluate opening the screen. My suggestion is to normally leave it closed.

When I built my TBHs, I installed angled legs that I thought were adequate to the task. When the hive got full, and the legs warped from exposure, I was shocked how heavy it was and how difficult it was to solve the leg problem. :rolleyes: Don't skimp on legs, if you use them.

Just a note on PVC pipe. PVC rated for water pipe isn't rated for sun exposure and may be subject to UV degradation. On the other hand, PVC pipe rated for electrical conduit use IS rated for and suitable for UV exposure. More on PVC pipe exposure to UV details here:
http://www.jmeagle.com/pdfs/Technical Bulletins/TB10SunlightEffectsonPVC.pdf

Regardless of sun exposure, PVC pipe at an angle under a heavy load will tend to bend over time. It would not be my choice for hive legs.
 
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