Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that the TBH has been around for a long, long time. However, there does seem to be a rising interest in them.

From your perspective, when did this new surge of interest begin? Why? And how popular do you believe the TBH will become in modern beekeeping?

Adam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
The Peace Corps started the resurgence to bring apiculture to Africa. I have the Peace Corps Manual somewhere in my resources if there is interest. Many African beekeepers have gone back to the Langstroth hive because they make more honey for the same resources. It was thought the TBH would allow novices with minimal training and equipment to make a living. In poor countries I go to we make Langstroth hives from available material with less resources than the TBH. I am assuming Kenyan TBH because there is no advantage to Tanzanian TBH. I am going to Honduras Saturday. I will know if anything has changed over the years.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
I built one based on the "greek basket hive" mentioned in L.L. Langsroths original "Hive and the Honey Bee" back in the 70's and saw a horizontal one in ABJ in about the early 80s. But I don't remember a lot of them until about the early part of the last decade (2001 on)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I know that the TBH has been around for a long, long time.
"long, long time"? If you call 25 or 30 years a long time in beekeeping history.

I've wondered about some of these other questions for a while now. perhaps the reason for the recent surge in TBH interest is that it is sort of a revolution against the status quo, the established methods of beekeeping.

Time will tell about it's popularity and longevity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
And how popular do you believe the TBH will become in modern beekeeping?

Adam
A really interesting question, and I've wondered the same myself. Locally there's a group of folks who are convinced that TBH are the way to go, despite none of them having kept bees before.

I agree with one of the other posters that this is a backlash against a traditionality that is seen as unsustainable.

I would be really interested in hearing from any of the older TBH keepers what their influences were... was it a particular book? A particular keeper they liked to follow?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
840 Posts
Actually, there are some notably respected beekeepers who have been using top bar hives for a considerable number of years.

Les Crowder in New Mexico would be one of these. From recent interviews and biographies, he started over 30 years ago with Lang hives and after about 15 years he converted entirely to top bar hives, having only tbh's now for about 15 years.. As a matter of fact, he makes his living with his bee business based on top bar hives. more info on that can be found here

Obviously, we all know Micheal Bush on these very forums has been using top bar hives among other with success for many years.

As noted on Wikipedia and other sources, top bar beekeeping has it's history tracing back over 1600 years to the baskets and other types of containers with sticks, branches and bars placed over said containers.

I find it amusing to note that so many people refer to Langstroth hives and methods as "traditional" when in terms of time in practice, it is a relative newcomer.

Yes, many people are convinced that new ways are somehow always automatically better because they take advantage of new "science" and technology.

For many people, new ways are not always the best ways. what they add in terms of ease and convenience for some, are seen by others as removing the involvement and respect for these creatures.

Beekeeping, dismaying as it may be to some, isn't always about making as much money as possible off the backs of bees though. For many beekeepers, it is as much a way of life and part of their philosophy on life as it is about paying the bills.

in my opinion, no one need justify to anyone else why or how they keep bees. it is a personal and individual practice for every beekeeper and as long as the laws are met, if you don't like something, then don't do it. No one is forcing people to adopt top bar hives as a de facto standard.

That's just my two cent

Big Bear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,548 Posts
Why does it have to be against the status quo just because it is different. Langs are status quo, BUT if you read the opinion of MB and which hive produced more, with fatherly skills, he has found they are about the same in production with management. I have "L" hives right now and am really interested in a TBH because it looks like fun. Its different...just why not try, may learn something.......They are well respected and maybe thats the reasoning behind the resurgence........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Hi All!

I am going to be new to the beekeeping life this spring. I just wanted to give my reason for going with the TBH. It appeared be a hive that works naturally with the bees. They have a simple place to build their hive the way they wish to with out conforming to a rectagular frame/foundation. It is waist high and there will not be much in the way of heavy lifting. I love the idea of an observation window. It will give me an opportunity to watch or peek with out disturbing them. The final reason is, my husband could build me two for about a hundred bucks! :)The biggest concern I have about working it is, keeping the comb on the bar. Hubby has made beveled bars so hopefully they will be able to build good anchor and I won't any collapsed comb. I also want him to build me a stand to hold the bar so I can inspect it with out breaking the comb off and so I can snap a few pix of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Interesting reasons... but not exclusive to TBH. I'm starting out on the Langroute. I will be trying to keep my bees naturally (Without medicating), and I will be building an observation hive for about $50.

I'm not sure what makes you think that building comb in a horizontal trough is more in line with the "wishes" of a bee than building in a rectangular box. I'm not sure that anyone can say what the desires of bees are.

I'm not here to advocate one VS the other, but I think it's important to note that the advantages you cite are not exclusive to TBH - This is just something the TBH community believes.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
578 Posts
Jim Satterfield began posting about top bar hives on BEE-L back in 1995.

There is lots more in the archives there at
http://community.lsoft.com/scripts/...-L&X=65A6A7068F2E409334&[email protected]

Search with "Satterfield " as a key.

There were others, too.

Here is the first post I found.
---
I'm going into my first winter with nine 20-frame TBH's and two 5-frame
TBH nucs. I had a poor honeyflow in the spring in this area, about 40 mi
N of Atlanta, GA , SE USA, but the goldenrod flow seemed to be good. I
also fed the 9 TBH's each 1/2 gal of 50/50 sucrose. Weather in the
winter at this location often gives some days when the bees may fly
briefly; some periods of daily highs in the 30'sF. Lows often will be in
the teensF but rarely below 0F. We may have some snow on the ground for
a few days, but not much of significance.

In some correspondence with Paul Magnuson, to whom I am eternally
indebted for starting me in TBH's, he said that he had put a newspaper
curtain in the hive to reduce the volume and piled pesticide-free cloth
sacks on top of the bars. If any of you reading this note are
overwintering TBH's in any climate similar to mine, I'd enjoy hearing
from you.

I have tried a protocol with my hives which goes from doing nothing to
the extreme of closing entrance holes (normally seven 1 inch holes in one
end) to three holes, putting a paper curtain in to cut the volume by
about 1/3, then putting a 1/2 inch sheet of insulating foam on top. Most
of the hives have 1 inch thick wood sides and 1/4 inch hardboard bottoms.
In the winter, the hives will be sunlit on sunny days...ie, not shielded
by evergreens, etc., but will be exposed to prevailing winds. I don't
have enough hives (yet!) to really do the experimentation that I would like.

My "gut" feeling is to simply do nothing and to let the hives cool down
as they will which would probably result in less food consumption and
less of a problem with moisture inside the hive.

If you have any suggestions, I would be happy to get them. You can send
them to me directly if you wish to avoid clutter for some BEE-L members;
however, if your response should be of interest to others...post to all,
of course.

Many thanks for all of your help in the past.

Cordially yours,

Jim
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
My motivation back in the 70s was that I was a carpenter and had access to lots of scrap lumber and I was poor and did not have access to a lot of cash. I also didn't have the kind of equipment necessary to build frames accurately and safely. I could build a top bar hive for free. I had to buy the Langstroths. Of course part of the appeal was well was to get to see what they would do. I also had a box hive back then for the purpose of seeing how hard it was to manage one. It wasn't nearly what it had been made out to be. But, of course, you couldn't inspect every comb. You could, though, harvest back to the brood and get a view of some of the brood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
I am going to get started with a top bar hive this year. I had a few reasons for doing such.

1) I"m not a woodworker, but the plans I saw for a TBH managed to convince me I could make one. I have serious doubts that I could make a lang hive that would fit standard frames, I have even more doubts that I could make frames myself. Thus, making a top bar hive is cheaper for me then buying a lang setup.

2) lack of equipment to store. My parents where kind enough to let me move back into their home while I slowly work twards getting my teaching certificate. I do not think they would appriciate me trying to store unused wooden wear in their garage that is already pretty packed with all the stuff from my apartment. No suppers to store with a top bar hive is a big plus for me

3) the top bar hive community is into natural methods. I know that this would work with a lang too, but its not the same.

5) I'm interested in bees for bees sake. I don't need high honey production, although some extra for the kitchen is a welcome thing.

4) I like to be different.

I imagine when I get my own house I will start up some lang hives too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
I think a more appropriate term for the Langstroth hive is "the modern removable frame hive".

I have used the word "traditional" to refer to the Langstoth hive before and I have since come to the understanding that "traditional" can mean anything depending on a person's view of what a hive is.

Logs, skeps, large baskets, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Mrspock wrote:
I'm not here to advocate one VS the other, but I think it's important to note that the advantages you cite are not exclusive to TBH - This is just something the TBH community believes.


I can appreciate you pointing out my reasons as not being "exclusive" to TBH. However, when I choose this particular method of keeping bees they were MY reasons. I do not speak for the TBH community. I did not even know there was one until recently.

I just thought it would be nice for others to know why someone with zero experience and knowledge might be drawn to this hive style. I did not know at the time when I saw this hive at the Greenfestival in D.C. that there were so many different hive styles and ways of keeping bees. I showed it to my husband and said, "I think I could do this, wouldn't it be fun"! He said, " I could build that for a whole lot less". So we did . My past remembrance was of a Langstroth hive when I was younger. My girlfriend's dad had one and it was very interesting but looked complicated to my young mind. This impression apparently stayed with me. When I saw the TBH at the festival I was drawn in by its simplicity.

I tend to jump into things with both feet and learn as I go, having at times a bit of overconfidence in myself to be able to do and succeed at whatever I set out on trying. Keeps life interesting for me!

I do like the Warre hives and the foundation-less framed hives. I will stand by my feelings that the bees should be able to build the comb as "they wish". I am not sure of all their wishes either, but am thankful for their adaptability.


I may try the Warre's in the future.

I have really enjoyed this forum and am thankful for all the info and experience that others are so willing to share.

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
From Wikipedia:

"Top-bar hives have a long history as the concept is believed to be several thousand years old. The earliest hives are believed to be baskets with sticks lain across the top as bars."
Don't believe everything you read. Yeah, i know you are reading this.

I thought that you were refering to KTBH unto the present, i didn't know you meant ancient history unto the present. By that criteria you were right to say what you did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I'm not sure that anyone can say what the desires of bees are.
Given a certain cavity to live in bees do have certain tendencies, usch as building comb in a fashion similar to holding a string in both hands and letting the middle dangle. Bees don't attatch comb to the wall of a cavity, such as a hollow log or skep basket, all of the way down to the bottom. This is the reason TBHs are constructed like a trapezoid w/ the wide side up, so the bees won't attatch the comb to the slanted walls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
I know that the TBH has been around for a long, long time. However, there does seem to be a rising interest in them.

From your perspective, when did this new surge of interest begin? Why? And how popular do you believe the TBH will become in modern beekeeping?

Adam
Check out this site http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/main.htm IMO James Satterfeild is the Grandfather of the movement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I'm not sure what your point in mentioning this is here, Mark. Is it that you feel that the top bar type hive has not been around for as long as I am reading?

Adam
Isn't wikipedia editede by individuals from outside wikipedia? I don't necassarily believe evrything that is written in wiki just because it is written there. I am speaking from what I learned back in college in 1985 and 6.

As I said before, I thought you were talking about TBHs in their present form. I didn't know that you were talking about hives w/ only top bars in general. I didn't know that you were talking about the TBH Wave that startede in aught 8. My bad.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top