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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all TBH fans,
Iam kindly asking you for any idea because we are already desperate.
we made two top bar hives according to a plan we found somewhere but we are unlucky populating them with bees. we already tried in two tb hives at two different places but we lost 5! swarms, they simply flew away- firt two swarms after two days- we thought they had not enough food. so we tried once again, we gave them sugar syrup, we rubbed the top bars with wax - in all of the cases. the tb hives were made from a new pieces of wood, they were not even painted with anything. with the last swarm to prevent flying away we even put a queen grid at the entrances of the hive. after 5 days they flew away though. we really would like to have a tob bar hive, but we are already desperate:(
do you have any idea, advice what to do to settle up a tb hive?
any ideas will be really appretiated
 

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In addition to Cub's suggestion , If you have a screened bottom try closing it off at least till they get established with some comb and brood also use a divider panel to only give them access to 8-10 bars worth of space at first. can you post some pictures of the hive design ?
 

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In addition to Cub's suggestion , If you have a screened bottom try closing it off at least till they get established with some comb and brood also use a divider panel to only give them access to 8-10 bars worth of space at first. can you post some pictures of the hive design ?

Pictures would help, definitely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In addition to Cub's suggestion , If you have a screened bottom try closing it off at least till they get established with some comb and brood also use a divider panel to only give them access to 8-10 bars worth of space at first. can you post some pictures of the hive design ?
to be exact in one of the hives the bottom of the hive was closed and it was already divided with divider panel- at the another TBhive it was not. but both of the swarms flew away anyway:( the swarms were not even from the same beekeeper as I was thinking they might be some special swarms that want to fly away anyway.
unfortunately I dont have any other TB hive beekeeper nearby so I cant get any comb with brood. whats interesting in the one hive, were I put the queen grid, the bees have already built 5 combs and after it they flew away.i dont have any photo of the hive yet, but it was made exactly according to this plan http://www.beethinking.com/products/top-bar-hive?variant=359090769
Iam keeping bees in classical beehive supers for many years but now i really dont have any idea what might be wrong:(
 

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There has to be something about the hives that makes them abscond 5 times, is the wood used treated with chemicals to discourage termites or to preserve the wood ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There has to be something about the hives that makes them abscond 5 times, is the wood used treated with chemicals to discourage termites or to preserve the wood ?
No,the wood comes directly from a saw mill,its "raw".one of the hives is painted with eco colours thin with water,but just from outsides.the joints of wood boards in both of the hives were glued with some glue i know beekeepers are often using and it's not even in direct connection with the bees.its a mystery for me
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
perhaps you know about some scent or odour that might attract the bees in the hive?if there is really something wrong with the wood of the hive might that be an option?what do you think about the idea?
 

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How "raw" is the wood you used to build the hive? If it was just cut then perhaps you should let the wood dry out for a while before using it. Maybe they don't like the smell of newly cut wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How "raw" is the wood you used to build the hive? If it was just cut then perhaps you should let the wood dry out for a while before using it. Maybe they don't like the smell of newly cut wood.
By "raw" i mean it was not processed or treated anyway. Its spruce board directly from a saw mill bought last summer stored inside, so I guess it had some time to dry out. I guess the problem is not with the carpentry work,but I really don't know what else could matter.now I have another swarm but I don't want to lose it again.any suggestions?what is a mystery for me why the bees flew away even after building 5 nice combs!
 

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Some bees (Russians, I think???), don't like to be messed with. If you are opening the hive and checking on them a lot they will up and go. I would try to get a frame of open brood, cut it out and masking tape it to one of your bars. Then hive your swarm.
 

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Your weather looks like it's been similar to mine - some days mid 20's C, a lot of days in that 15 degree C range, some rain, and some late spring chilly nights. (a bit warmer than mine).

If you followed those plans exactly and attempted to install a swarm, there are some possibilities that occur to me...
1. Maybe you didn't get the queen in the swarm. (always possible, but really unlikely 5x)
2. Looks like an open screened bottom. A lot of people have been experiencing packages absconding with open screen bottoms - too cold / too much ventilation for a swarm or a package to get established and keep brood warm, doesn't 'feel' secure to them.
3. Did you use an internal follower board and restrict the initial space available to about 8 bars? More than that is 'too much to defend' for them to claim it happily
4. The entrance holes in that photo set look pretty big, particularly in cooler / windier climates. Also, there are three side entrances - did you block up most of the hive and block off the other 2 entrances?
5. You mentioned you were feeding... 1:1? Is there a nectar flow on where you are? Where was the feeder?
6. Is the hive located in a sunny location?
7. Did you try a few (A FEW! NOT more than 4!) drops of lemongrass essential oil in the hive?
8. Did you provide any drawn comb for them to start with? You mentioned you rubbed the bars, so we assume it smelled like beeswax in the hive..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks, I think I will try it. iam thinking of somehow cut ou the frame with brood to a shape that will fit to my TB hive-hope it will last somehow
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks a lot for your advices!
thats true that these days its really chilly and rainy weather- I hoped that it makes the bees stay in the TBhive and to build nice combs as they cannot fly out in rain. but as I mentioned, after the weather just got a bit better they flew away after building 5 nice combs anyway:(
1. it was my first tought when it happend for the first time
2. at one of the Tb hive the bottom was opened but the other it was closed as I havent got more material to close the bottom and they flew away sooner than I fixed it. I tought it might not be that big problem- seems I was not right
3. just at one of the hives (the one with closed bottom paradoxly) I used divider. now Iam not sure how much bars I gave them, but the swarm was nice big, may it be I let them too little space?
4.they had just one entrance at the beginning
5.with the first swarms they were fed just third day. the next try was that I gave them syrup in glas jar right next to the entrance - outside immediately, it was 3:2 and at that time oil seed rape field was flowering not far away
6. one is in direct sun, but there were just few really hot days - they got some shade by an umbrella for that time and the other hive is in light shade
7. not yet, but I would like to
8. no, they got just the bars rubbed with wax

so now I would like to try next steps-maybe its too much, but I really dont want to loose another swarm:
1.gave them the 5combs they already built
2. fix some stripes of beewax foundation to the rest of the top bars
3. try to cut out some brood from a frame and somehow fix it to one bar
4.put few drops of lemongrass oil
5.divide them with divider - let them 10 bars
6.close the bottom and let them just one entrance

after doing first 3 of these steps I will loose the purpose of top bars - let the bees progress naturally and let them build natural combs:(.but I hope it helps, otherwise Iam out of ideas
what do you think?
 

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A starter strip 2" wide is enough to give new comb 'direction' on the top bar - you can still get your natural comb. However, my comment about drawn comb - your bars they have started will be just fine - it's easier for them to get started if they already have some place to store nectar / pollen when they get into the hive.
 

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Try taking a propane torch to the inside. Scorch the wood. I also pour melted beeswax on the inside walls and rub it in, then scrape it off. When I'm finished, there is no new-wood smell left. Old brood comb can help, too, so long as you trust the source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I already gave them the starter strip yesterday, when I had a look today, it seemed they are biting it off and using it for building their own. but at the moment its too soon to say anything, I hope they will stay.they seemed quite bussy today and they even drank all the syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Jon Wolff, it sounds like a good idea, but unfortunatelly I gave the swarm in sooner than I have read this advice. I hope they will stay this time so I dont have to try out this advice. by the way the bees doesnt like the new-wood smell?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A starter strip 2" wide is enough to give new comb 'direction' on the top bar - you can still get your natural comb. However, my comment about drawn comb - your bars they have started will be just fine - it's easier for them to get started if they already have some place to store nectar / pollen when they get into the hive.
I wonder, in nature the swarm has to build everything from the beginning - new comb to store nectar/pollen, so why they doesnt like my hive altough there wasnt any comb?
 

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I wonder, in nature the swarm has to build everything from the beginning - new comb to store nectar/pollen, so why they doesnt like my hive altough there wasnt any comb?
The only real reason to use the starter strip is to hopefully prevent cross combing or reduce it at least. As for why they didn't like your hive, it's pretty hard to say. Hope this bunch sticks for you!
 
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