Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an idea about how to do this and I wanted to know if you all could give me some suggestions:

The inside height of my TBHs is 10 inches, (inside width is 18 inches - same as a Lang) - so I thought I'd place all the bars with combs into a deep and add a medium UNDERneath. If I was lucky, the bees would continue to build below and I could remove the top deep with combs by the time winter sets in. I'd probably have to leave it on all winter if there is honey stored.

There would be no inside cover (the top bars being the roof) so I couldn't feed in the conventional way.

Does this sound logical?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd be grateful if you gave me the reasons behind your suggestion.

I'd also be grateful if you'd comment on my original question, if you are able.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
A beekeeper I know is experimenting with TBHs and has built one with a top dimension the same as a Langstroth hive. (it will hold 10 TB frames) Next spring he intends to try supering it with medium supers. I thought it would be a little wobbly, but he has a plan for it. He'll start in the spring to give his bees time to build up for winter. He didn't say if he would over-winter in this arrangement or try it just for honey production. He also didn't say if he would start it as a split or try it with a swarm or cut out.

I would tend to agree that it's too late to do something this drastic right now. As stated before, it would probably be easier to get bees to draw out frames above than try to force them down. IMO

BB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
Is the idea for the box below because you have comb a hair too deep to place in the standard deep Lang? If that's the case, and you need to move these frames, you could make a shim to run around the bottom to raise the deep up perhaps 3/4" or so. Or you could trim the bottom of the combs a bit.

I have some deep combs built on top bars in deep nuc, with standard space between the bars. The bees folowed the straight sides and didn't seem to bother to attach to the sides of the nucs. (Good girls!) But these combs were drawn square edged to fill the space. Am I correct that you would be putting angled comb into the deep? That would leave a lot of open air space for the winter around the comb.

What's the width of your bars? Could you space them apart like a standard Lang frame to let bees pass through, up into a space above an inner cover for feeding or place feed across the top bars?

Your bees are getting ready to shut down comb production soon. I see mine slowing down now, though I'm a bit further north than you. I wouldn't plan on the bees doing much more until spring. I don't believe they could draw a full medium of comb to create their winter broodnest in. Are you thinking of overwintering them in a single medium?

Wayne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
People are making very good points. And I thank you all. Probably be more sensible and safer to just let them overwinter in the TBHs and revisit this in spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I got a wine barrel half full of bees, everyone says bees build up, but it seems to me, in a home chosen by the bees, they will start to build comb at the top of the structure, and work their way down. They always seem to hang (festoon) from the top. So, I would imagine your idea would work if you gave it a chance. But, I would cut the comb from the top bar, (crop and chop as necessary) and rubber band the comb in place. I have converted 3 top bars to langs this year, and it went very smoothly, I did this for 2 cutouts as well, no issues. If you are careful, you will not loose any of the honey stores at all, and even if you do, you can give it back to the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
IBred,

Thanks for this. When you say "cut the comb from the top bar" - can you give some details? Did you cut ALL the combs from the top bars and rubber band them to regular Lang frames? That's a very big job! I was thinking of doing that too but it just seemed like it would be really labor intensive. And I thought it would really disturb the bees, and also that I would risk losing a lot of brood.

My idea was just to let them move downwards like they do in a Warre and after they built up in the bottom (medium), and filled their original TB combs with honey, I'd remove the TB honeycombs and continue with Lang mediums.

What do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I do think they will move down, but not this late in the season.

Top Bar to Lang conversion. Could take 3 hours or more, I do not rush.

Have your boxes and frames ready to go, I put 4 rubber bands on each frame, 2 on each end. You will need a sharp knife, shade, small bucket of water, rags, and a queen catcher is nice. I only smoke in the beginning, after that they are very confused and do not even seem to notice me.

When I am ready, I move the old hive from its location, does not need to be a great distance couple of feet and turn the entrance a different direction. Put the lang in place, with the entrance as close to where is was before as possible.

I have something to cut on, any clean board will work, I prefer a smooth surface. Remove the first bar, I start at the rear. Look for the queen, if I do not see her, I shake, and brush the bees from the comb, into the lang box, some will stay, most will be in the air for a short time. once the comb is free of bees, lay it flat on your cutting surface, run your knife along the starter strip, removing all comb. this will make a straight surface at the top. I then take the lang frame, place it over the comb and use it as a guide to make the 2nd cut. You should have a piece of comb that will fit very nicely into the lang frame, if it is to wide, just nip the edges to fit, try not to cut to tight, a little play at the top is always better. Put this into the lang box. You will now have an extra piece of comb, somewhere between 3 and 4 inches wide, the bottom of the top bar comb, and it will not fit as nice in the frame. If this has brood, I set it aside to be used later, if not I do not worry about it to much. I clean the cutting surface with a damp rag, keeps robbers away, wipe the knife and clean my hands. I do not use gloves as it is difficult to move the rubber bands. Repeat this process, until you find the Queen. When you find her, catch her. If your lang is full of frames at this point, and you have moved onto the second box, Release the queen into the lower box, and continue working. If the box is not full, I set her in the lang box to one side out if the sun, continue the process, and release her at the end.
Back to the smaller pieces of comb. I only bother to keep the brood, if the pieces are thin enough, you can stack them in a frame, one on top of the other, or just put them side by side and let the bands keep them in place. The bees will fill the space, and they will be attached at some point. I do try to use all of the comb though, in each, I would say I saved 90% +. I used the small pieces in the last frames, above the new brood box. You will only have trouble with the soft white honey comb. It will need extra gentle hands to get this into a frame.

As the process continues, their will be fewer and fewer bees in the top bar, as you have been removing them to the lang, and the returning bees will be going to the old location to a remodeled home.:eek: I did mine conversions only 3 feet away, and did not have any aggression on any occasion. I think the guard bees are confused, along with everyone else.

Some brood will be lost, but it will only be the ones that have been cut through, and, if you can get some drawn comb, one frame will make up for the loss, the queen will be laying by the next day, and in 2 days it will seem like nothing happened.

I still have 3 top bars, and several of my friends will be starting some next season. I think honey, is all about location. my hives made plenty last year, but did not survive the winter very well. My fault for 2 of them,(lids blew off in a storm, and collected a couple inches of water.):eek: They were only a baseball sized cluster in spring. But, I did not have the hart to put them down. Both recovered, WOW, one I had to split since they were going to swarm, and the other has been dealing with caulk brood. The other 3 were lost to mites. I have a total of 20 hives this year, 17 langs.
I do not regret the top bars, and plan to keep a few. The langs are just as much fun, and I think the biggest benefit is the ability to install suppers. All my hives could be worked neked, if you were Garth and He. (naked beekeepers):lpf:I thought they would be more teste in the lang with the extra disruption, but they aren't. could be they are just nice. I will get about 50 pounds of honey this seasons fall flow from the top bars, and my langs will all be over a 100. A couple will be well over 200. Nothing I'm doing, I think it all location location location. Last year, one of my hives kept drones until mid November.
I just like bees, and I will be happy no matter what I keep them in. I thought I would try langs this year, and I am sold, I like the way they work. I will keep my top bars, but not expand them. Maybe, I will lend them to friends, and get them hooked.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top