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Top Bar Fall Comb Management Questions

974 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ruthiesbees
I have two first year top bar colonies with side front entrances. In each hive, the first two bars nearest the entrances are filled with syrup or pollen - not brood. I have several related questions:

Do I move these bars further back in the colony near the honey stores and, if so, when?
If bar 1 or 2 is primarily pollen where do I move this bar? Immediately after the end of the broodnest and before the start of the honey stores?
If I move bars 1 and 2 do I then move bar 3 and all subsequent bars forward to where bars 1 and 2 used to be?

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So, Kevin, the bees configured their nest and stores as they feel is appropriate for late summer and fall.
Sounds as if you have the so-called warm-way setup - a typical way with the TBs.
The very first 1-2 comb in the fall/winter setup will be used as wind breaks; this is what the bees just did.
Current brood is hiding behind the wind break.

What will you accomplish by trying the proposed moves so that it improves upon the current status?
Hi GregV,

Potentially it would have made resources (i.e. sealed honey, pollen) available to them over winter.

Hi GregV,

Potentially it would have made resources (i.e. sealed honey, pollen) available to them over winter.

OK, if you want, move the honey frame to the back (to consolidate the honey together) and keep the pollen comb up front.
You still have that blocking comb and the pollen is not attracting the robbers.
Move all the bars up by one and done.
If this feels better for you, then do it.
If the stores on the back are, indeed, light - do it.

One negative of keeping the honey right by the entrance (granted your colony is weak) this is inviting robbers.
So consolidating the honey on the back is usually a safe choice in most all respects (at the expense of hassle).

If the unit is strong and spans many bars, whatever you do will matter little.
However, if the unit is medium to weak, consolidating the honey on the back AND moving up the entire nest (meaning the bees themselves) closer to the entrance is desirable - this is a robbing prevention move. Having poorly guarded honey by the entrance is bad.

Your winter is also mild enough to worry of the bees freezing inches away from food (my reality) - to spend too much time micro-managing.
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leave the hive alone, make sure your mites are under control and they have plenty of food and let them do thier thing
my bees with the entrance on the short end tend to do this, and I just let them configure it how they want it.
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