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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this is a "hybrid" type of question, but here goes.

I received a top-bar hive with bees last fall, so allowed them to overwinter in the top-bar. My yard has only langstroth, so because of space available, I would like to move the bees out of the top-bar into a langstroth. Unfortunately, the home-built top-bar hive has frames whose length (that is, the bars are
not a standard size) is too short to just transfer the frames from one to the other.
Should I just brush the bees into my langstroth, then remove the top-bar from the yard?
Ideally it would be good to move some brood with them, but don't see how that would work

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thank You
Jeff
 

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Ideally it would be good to move some brood with them, but don't see how that would work
Hello Jeff - much depends on where you're located, and how warm it is there right now ...

A couple of 'If's':
If your Top-Bars will fit between the side-bars of a bare Lang frame, then try cable-tying each Top-Bar underneath a frame top-bar - i.e. inside the frames. If not, then find yourself some battens roughly the same dimensions as a Lang frame top-bar, and cable-tie the Top-Bar comb underneath that.

If the weather is settled and warm enough in your locale, you could then simply chequer-board (I0I0I0 etc) the Top-Bar combs between pre-drawn Langstroth frames. But if the weather is unpredictable, then it would be wiser to place the Top-Bar combs together inside the Langstroth box, and add one frame at a time next to that array. Or place a frame to one side of the centre of the brood-nest, before adding another a week later, and so on ...
Much depends upon the strength of the colony, local conditions, etc. What you're aiming for is to gradually insert frames and so get them laid-up, and at the same time move the Top-Bars towards the sides of the box, from where they can be pulled when empty.
Anyway - that method gives you one option. It's what I would do. Others may have different ideas.
'best,
LJ
 

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I would staple or screw extensions on the top bar so it hangs in your langstroth and surround the top bars with frames. When it is warm would shift all top bars to one side of the box and as the brood emerges, I would take the top bar out of service. Slide to the outside and refill with frames on the other side til complete. IMO I would not dispose of the top bars but save them for the fool trade. Those drawn combs are worth their weight in honey to the next fool wanting to start top bar beekeeping and you should find a sale for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LOL Vance! I actually have 3 top-bars at another location and will trade those out this year in favor of Langs.
They were a good idea (I thought) because of the ease of moving the bars around and harvesting some honey. But they just were not as productive as I wanted (maybe, more likely, my lack of experience).
It was a good introduction to beekeeping, however.
Little-John, I'm located in St. Louis, MO. Thanks
Jeff
 

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When I moved mine I treated it like a cutout.

Smoke/brush the bees off the bar and cut off the comb. Rubber band it into a lang frame. You may need to cut a flat bottom for them the rest into the frame and/or trim edges to fit.

I kept the brood together but spaced out anything else with drawn comb/empty foundation. Anything I didn't have confidence would be built straight was simply removed.

After a few weeks you would have never known they came from a top bar.
 

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Maybe this is a "hybrid" type of question, but here goes.

I received a top-bar hive with bees last fall, so allowed them to overwinter in the top-bar. My yard has only langstroth, so because of space available, I would like to move the bees out of the top-bar into a langstroth. Unfortunately, the home-built top-bar hive has frames whose length (that is, the bars are
not a standard size) is too short to just transfer the frames from one to the other.
Should I just brush the bees into my langstroth, then remove the top-bar from the yard?
Ideally it would be good to move some brood with them, but don't see how that would work

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thank You
Jeff
We are one of those 'fools' with TBHs- gifted to us when we started with bees. The suggestion to use screw extensions makes perfect sense visually to me, and we will be attempting that to move a split I know I will need to do from one of our TBHs to half of a long lang that we are going to use as a transition from Top bars to frames with a new nuc on the other half. Divider/follower board between the two. The one thing I expect to discover is that the combs on the top bars I move will be deeper than the deep frame long lang is which I may prove to be an interesting challenge in trimming off bottoms of the existing comb. But we're so new to bee keeping I could be totally wrong. Still too cold most of the time to go into the hives and pull a bar just for the sake of testing my theory.
 

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Just in case you want to consider using cable-ties:



If the Top-Bar will fit inside the frame - as above - then you can just leave that arrangement 'as is' for a year or two, until you're ready to remove it. You might need to trim an inch or two off the bottom, but that's hardly an issue. Not using a frame - as in the following photo - does run the risk of attachments being made to the hive walls, so it is the less preferable option:



LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just in case you want to consider using cable-ties:



If the Top-Bar will fit inside the frame - as above - then you can just leave that arrangement 'as is' for a year or two, until you're ready to remove it. You might need to trim an inch or two off the bottom, but that's hardly an issue. Not using a frame - as in the following photo - does run the risk of attachments being made to the hive walls, so it is the less preferable option:



LJ
That's very clever LJ. Thanks.
So much valuable input here.
Jeff
 

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Unfortunately, the home-built top-bar hive has frames whose length (that is, the bars are
not a standard size) is too short to just transfer the frames from one to the other.
If handing each top bar is bothersome for any reason (you know, the live bees, etc), just do a transfer box.
Actually, I would do just that because zip-tying each foundation-less comb one by one is risky (too easy to break off).
Setting up a transfer box is easy and bee-free.
This would be my preferred way.
The transfer box would eventually be rotated out.

62556
 

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If handing each top bar is bothersome for any reason (you know, the live bees, etc), just do a transfer box.
Actually, I would do just that because zip-tying each foundation-less comb one by one is risky (too easy to break off)
I was thinking drywall screws... Like your idea better, especially as I think there will be room for 2 or 3 lang frames at 90 degrees to the top bars. Clean up and re-paint the TB nuc, split back into it when drones are flying. Then sell it to a sucker. Um, er a budding new beekeeper ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Handling the bees is not a factor, very comfortable with them. I think what concerns me most is that I would be transferring the bees to a box that has no brood, just fresh frames with foundations.
The idea of zip tying is something that I will give a shot at, if the comb is too weak or breaks easily, then I can move on to plan B (whatever that might be).
Jeff
 

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It's not often that I disagree with Greg ...

Xferring a Top-Bar comb into a frame (or onto a longer Top-Bar) using cable-ties is both quick, safe, and easy - providing you use a frame holder.

Place the frame onto the frame holder, and 'start' 2x cable ties (i.e. so that they remain as loops) around the frame top-bar - move one loop to either end.

Pull the Top-Bar comb, leave the bees on it, and - keeping the comb vertical at all times - insert one lug into one cable-tie loop, then slide the second loop around the other lug. At this point the comb is safely suspended by the two loops.

Then, ensuring that no bees become trapped between the two top-bars, tighten the two cable-tie loops, keeping the comb more-or-less central within the frame. If the comb is found to be too long (suggest always using Deep frames for this job), then slice-off the bottom inch or so with a sharp utility knife until it fits.

I have found that the time taken from pulling the Top-Bar to replacing the frame into the new hive is somewhere around 15 seconds, but as the bees remain on the comb there is very little chance of the brood becoming chilled, and as the comb stays vertical at all times, there is also very little chance of breakage.
'best,
LJ

PS - if you're xferring quite a few combs into frames, then make-up the frames & cable-tie loops beforehand, and have a stack of them handy - it really speeds the process up.
 

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LOL!

LJ, I looked for the pics of the "transfer box" type that you posted few months back - could not find for the life of me. I was thinking of them in this thread context. Ended drawing up a picture.
'Morning Greg ...

would this be the one ? (shown with a few frames in place)




(and with a couple of space-filling dummies added)




On overnight reflection, I think your suggestion is better, Greg - because - "there are Top-Bars and then there are Top-Bars .... "
The only Top-Bars I've ever cable-tied into frames were Warre Top-Bars - now these are 22-25mm wide. If the OP's Top-Bars are (say) KTBH-style - i.e. bars that do not have an inter-bar space, then adding a cable-tie will extend their width by a couple of millimetres. That in itself may not be an issue - but - by doing that a 2mm-ish gap will be left between those Top-Bars, which the bees will love - and will duly cement them together !! The only way around that I can see is to insert a frame in-between each cable-tied frame, and that would defeat the object of keeping the brood nest together.

So - yes - I agree with your proposal as being the best solution (unless those Top-Bars are narrow ones, which I suspect will not be the case).
"Have a good day."
'best,
LJ
 

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'Morning Greg ...

would this be the one ? (shown with a few frames in place)
Yes.
Exactly this what I had in mind - the "transfer box".

To be fair, the cable-tie approach is a fine option too.
But the "transfer box" avoids many complications which you will have to solve "while flying".
 

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This doesn't answer the OP question but I have both Langs and TBH. I make them inter-changeable.

I started with TBH that was a trapezoid style or "Kenyan" as that was what I mostly saw on the internet. The main problem I've had with TBH is trying to cut out swarm traps and graft the comb onto the top bars. Then I made my traps using the top bars so it was just remove the bars and drop them in the hive. When I got a couple Langs to play with I was back to "grafting" swarm trap comb into the frames with poor success.

I then came across the Tanzanian style TBH...so I built a couple but specifically sized to fit Lang frames. So now I only use Lang NUC traps and can drop the catch into either an empty TBH or Lang. I can split a Lang into a TBH or the other way around. All my top bars drop right into a Lang. You can mix and match the frames too.
 

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I have both Langs and TBH. I make them inter-changeable.
KTBH creates more issues than it solves things.
Consider that you can just have TTHB-style box that that takes Lang frames, open frames or just top bars - all at once.
And none of the compatibility issues.

Open frames take only marginally more work/material than top bars.
Can be done from scraps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The 10 day forecast for St. Louis shows temps to be at or slightly above the 60's. Wondering if this would be a good time to begin the transfer of our TBH bees into the Langstroth?
Thoughts?
Thank You
Jeff
 
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