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Starting my first TBH on a rooftop in Brooklyn...any advice?

2119 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  WLC
Hey everyone! Happy Spring!

I am starting a top bar hive this year in addition to the langstroths I have and I've been doing a little bit of reading and web surfing but I wanted to ask the good folks of BeeSource what your opinions are. Have any of you kept TBHs on a second story rooftop before? What do you do to keep swarming to a minimum if at all?

Any perspective would be most appreciated!

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Make sure that it's not so large that you can't move the thing if they decide to resurface the roof.
Two things come to mind about preventing the swarming.

1) Do splits as needed to keep the population appropriate to the space.

2) Never even seen a TBH in person but I've read that some can be supered with Langstroth supers. Making sure the bees have space to draw comb and store nectar can help to prevent swarming too.
Build it 48" and use a follower board to expand the space as necessary. If they fill up a 48", then build another and split the first. Repeat as necessary. Phil Chandler's website is a good place to start.
What is the roofing material? Roof tops can get very hot and heat and bees wax are not friends. You may need to consider placing it on a stand that is 3 or so feet above the actual roof to get it up so the air can ventilate it well.
The roof here is tarred but painted silver to deflect heat. I was thinking of keeping the tbh lower to the ground to prevent it from getting knocked over by wind. Thoughts?
Oh, also my TBH didnt come with follower boards. I am having a hard time finding out whether these are totally necessary or not. Can anyone give me their opinion?
I can assure you as a previous roofing contractor for ten years, that roof will still get too hot even if its silver. I would make sure you put some sort of shade over your hives to help keep the heat from the real hot days to a minimum. At least paint them white.
I would place them close to the stairwell towards NE if possible, giving them as much shaddow as possible during mid-day, while heating them up in the morning.

I would also secure it by using wire, or build a solid stand with a wide and/or heavy sole that will not tip over easily in the wind.
You could use the follower board to divide the TBH into two hives.

By the way, how did the "cutest beekeeper" contest go?
The heat is going to be an issue, especially for the TBH as they are prone to damaged comb even without excess heat from a roof top.

Shade will be a must. If you want to keep them low to the roof, you might be able to get away with laying down some pallets and placing a sheet of plywood painted white to place the hive on.
I won the poll! :D

Here's the link to my blog post. I opted to just stick to my experiences first before delving into other aspects of beekeeping.

Thanks a bunch for the advice. Do you guys have some examples of hive stands that you use for your TBHs?
Nice article. :cry: Very touching.

Weren't you that tap dancing kid in the bee costume once? You know, the one from the 'Blind Melon' video? :lookout:

We put the TBHs on wooden palettes, but we will have them up on some cinder blocks soon enough.

I wouldn't lug cinderblocks around on 'tar beach' if I were you. If an edge cuts through the asphalt/mineral roll material, someone will get a leak when it rains.

I wonder if the link works?
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Bee-girl from Blind Melon video?? OUCH! why you gotta hurt me like that!

Ok, well we definitely have pallets so that should be fine.

Where in NYC do you keep bees, WLC?
Just TBHs. No bees yet.

Are you sure you don't want to check out the video?
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