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I'm not so sure that honey bees make an less honey in a TBH. It is just that these hives (TBH) aren't set-up, by design, to extract honey via of a commercial extractor. Rather, TBH offers either crushing and straining or raw cut cumb harvesting.
 

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Also in the areas where the TBH was design for (Africa) the wax harvest was just as important as the honey harvest.
 

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I for one would like to change the perception that people who keep bees in topbars are not particularly interested in honey production. I hesitate to go into much detail because I know it will draw fire.

I am somewhat new to keeping so I have no point of reference but I have designed my hive to have almost the same interior volume as a lang hive with 2 deep brood boxes and 2 honey supers. I got 5 gallons of honey this year from one hive. Is that good? I also got about 3 pounds of wax.

Curtis
 

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There are a number of people who are honey producers in top bar hives. I don't think it fair to say it can't be done, only that it isn't 'typical.

Les Crowder is probably one of the greater examples of getting good honey production out of horizontal top bar hives.

Much of it is how the hive is managed and monitored. It takes a bit more work to get the kind of yields from a tbh that a lang will produce with less attention to it.

Personally, for my honey production, I am using Warre hives, which are vertical top bar hives, leaving my horizontal hives for multi-nucs and splits, etc... I just happen to find horizontal tbh's ideal for that.


Big Bear
 

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I have two KTBH's, one started this year, another in its second year. They are both 45" long and hold about 33 bars. The bars measure 16" long, and 10" deep. The one started this year was made by taking 5 frames of brood, honey, and bees from my first TBH and letting them raise their own queen, I did that this spring. So, even with making a split from them, my original TBH has recently yielded 7 completely capped bars of honey, about 28-35 lbs. I think I will be able to pull out 2-3 more filled bars shortly, and this is all before the fall honey flow, although I will likely leave the majority if not all fall honey on the hives for the winter. I know this doesn't come close to what most commercial beekeepers average with Lang hives, but I think my TBH's are doing quite well in a semi-city setting. John
 

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Something else to consider is how many hobbyist beekeepers want honey, but are really only looking for enough for themselves, the neighbor, the brother maybe.

If they get 2 or 3 hives that happen to have a boom year, they could be looking at a possible 100-150 pounds of honey. That's more than they really needed or wanted and now beekeeping is a chore.

Having a top bar hive with moderate management, in the same year might get them about 50 to 100 pounds of honey from 2 or 3 tbh's. more manageable, less of a 'chore'

not hauling heavy boxes, only really need to pull a few bars every now and then, leaving more for the bees. The calm, careful handling required to hold the top bars with comb keeps the bees at ease, keeping the beek less stressed, making everyone happier.

With more assertive management, the tbh's might make more honey, with more passive management, they might make less. All in all, if the management style and more 'relaxed' approach of using a tbh helps keep beekeeping 'fun' for some folks, they will be more likely to continue with the hobby, keeping more honey bees alive, more enthusiastic and experienced beekeepers around.

At least, that's how I look at it.

Big Bear
 

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I have a 40 inch long TBH, and it's about 3/4 full of honey and brood- probably 1/2 of the hive is honey. Right now, they are building a frame of comb in about 3-4 days. Oh yeah, I'm in southwest Kansas. As far as the numeric yield, I'm unsure, but I'd say so far I've probably got about 20 or more pounds.
 

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If they get 2 or 3 hives that happen to have a boom year, they could be looking at a possible 100-150 pounds of honey. That's more than they really needed or wanted and now beekeeping is a chore.

Having a top bar hive with moderate management, in the same year might get them about 50 to 100 pounds of honey from 2 or 3 tbh's. more manageable, less of a 'chore'
I honestly don't know how you guys do it. In two years with three surviving TBHs, I must have only pulled 3 pounds of honey - all comb. I'm in upstate New York in pristine watershed.

I'm converting to all Langs next year and selling 4 of my six remaining TBHs. (See my post in the "For Sale" section.) I also have two Warres that I will be installing packages in.
 

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Yeah, I saw your ad.

To me, it boils down to this...

I have seen people get into the 'traditional' lang hives and treatment methods like 'everyone else' and fail miserably. They get little to no honey, hive die outs, and overall, it's just a horrible experience for them.

I have heard some folks say the same about top bar hives.

I have seen with my own eyes and experience top bar hives be successful and I have seen and talked to people who failed with langs only to be far more successful and happy with tbh's.

vice versa.

I really am getting tired of people trying to talk tbh's down just because they didn't have a good experience with them. If it doesn't work for you, try a hive and method that does. It's a big beekeeping world and there are as many methods and hives as there are beekeepers.

Just because one didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for others.

This blanket labeling is getting ridiculous and is harming beekeeping in general. instead of helping people to find methods and hives they will be successful with, it's just accomplishing ticking people off and isolating folks because they don't do it the same way as a bunch of other folks do.

hogwash.

If you don't like the method, don't use it, simple as that. No need to knock something and put down a whole group of beekeepers and hives just because it wasn't for you.

good grief.

Big Bear
 

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Something else to consider is how many hobbyist beekeepers want honey, but are really only looking for enough for themselves, the neighbor, the brother maybe.

If they get 2 or 3 hives that happen to have a boom year, they could be looking at a possible 100-150 pounds of honey. That's more than they really needed or wanted and now beekeeping is a chore.
amen. I'm a 1st year bk (had it about a month) and don't know what i'll do if my bees make 100lbs+ of honey next year. Currently in a lang, but i'm planning to split it to a TTBH/long hive next year.

I may have a go at maximum honey production just to see what's possible, but in general i'd prefer to get enough for personal use and a little to share. I really don't want the hassle of selling it, storing it, etc etc.

Another bk in my area has got 70lbs or so this year and has probably 60lbs more to extract. http://www.beesource.com/forums/showpost.php?p=574911&postcount=8

I would have absolutely no idea what to do with 300+lbs of honey a year.

-tmk
 

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I really am getting tired of people trying to talk tbh's down just because they didn't have a good experience with them. If it doesn't work for you, try a hive and method that does. It's a big beekeeping world and there are as many methods and hives as there are beekeepers.

Just because one didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for others.


Bigbearomaha, I agree with you completely. That's why I'm going with Langs and Warres.

If you look at my post again, it's very clear that there was no "talking down" - as you put it - at all. This is totally your inference.
 

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Just because one didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for others.
It seems to me that location plays a role in what type hive and management works well in any given part of the country/ies. Considering main nectar flow durations, time of flow/s etc. Just guessing here but it may be difficult for a TBH to get a descent honey crop in a location that has a very early flow with a dearth then a fall flow. I've heard many times how the TBH bees use up all their spring stores to get through the summer dearth then putting the fall flow away for winter stores.

Maybe a long hive with frames so they can be extracted and reused would be a better choice in this kind of area too get a honey crop.
I don't know. What do you all think?

My location has a long light flow for colony buildup which allows the TBH bees to build a very good amount of comb and population of bees before the main flow. I have harvested a descent amount of honey every year that I have had my TBH's.
 

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Oldtimer, I wasn't talking about stone, I'm talking about you in this particular situation.

Yes, he is switching to langs, I hope he is more successful with them, we need beekeepers to continue to be beekeepers and to be successful, regardless of the hive type they choose to use.

You have made many comments however in this thread and others being very negative towards tbh's, the methods associated with them and those who use them.

And yes, it is his opinion and your opinion and it is my opinion that you are not being helpful to beekeeping by putting down a method just because it didn't work for you.

This forum is full of first hand experiences of successful tbh users yet you have continued to try to blanket the whole usage of tbh and associated methods in a negative light.

How are you helping beekeepers or beekeeping by spreading such negativity.

Go ahead, keep spouting your "opinion" you can, and I will keep responding with my opinion in return.

I don't ask you to love tbh's or even like them. you don't have to, but it seems that you and a few others have an agenda to discourage others against using them as well and that is what I find un-becoming.

Big Bear
 

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that's obviously your opinion. one I disagree with.

first of all, the idea of a tbh is lower honey production and taking less honey anyway, leaving it for the bees. you mis represent the purpose of a tbh to make it sound like a "bad" thing" but in fact, over a season, I have seen people get at least that much (75 lbs) out of one hive. Again, it's all dependent on environment and management.

you have made comments about the effect or usefulness of the hive and natural methods against pests and winter where again, you might not be successful in those area with tbh''s, but others have been and are successful. to lump all tbh's and methods of using tbh's as "bad" when there are so many first hand accounts in this section alone by people who are successful with them, is just plain spitefulness and trying to cast those hives and those who use them in a negative light.

Fine, if you don't think they produce enough honey for your wants, good, great. But they do fine for those who want what they have to offer.

I've said stuff that is in support of good beekeeping practises.
no, you've said stuff that you "think" is good beekeeping practices based on the methods you prefer, then try to make it sound like they are the universal only "good" methods, which is obviously not true and just your opinion.


If you don't like the 'natural' oriented methods of management related to tbh's, fine, wonderful and great again, your opinion is to use methods that are different.

but what is the point of someone who doesn't like tbh's nor the methods to keep posting in a section where people are wanting support and assistance in getting tbh's to be successful?

it's counter productive.

and that is my opinion.

Big Bear
 

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don't get me wrong old timer. If it seems 'personal' it's not meant to be.

I don't think you're a bad guy at all.

But, I see a lot of generalizations about top bars hives and methods and I think that a lot of people who are having success with tbh's are getting shafted a bit by people running around saying the tbh's aren't successful, when in many cases, they are.

It can be a bit discouraging and intimidating to folks taking up something new like beekeeping or a different type of beekeeping when they see such generalizations, especially by folks that are seen as mentors and role models.

I don't want to see folks get discouraged from doing something that might be successful and enjoyable to them simply because their interactions with others was negative. They'll get discouraged enough just dealing with things like die outs, dearths, pests and other fun things that come with beekeeping.

it's one thing to say "TBH's don't make enough honey" and something else to say "I think TBH's don't make enough honey."

The first expression is a generalization, blanketing the spectrum of tbh's and can be misleading. The other is an isolated opinion of one person.

I don't begrudge anyone having their own opinion of things. None of us will ever agree on everything and that's fine. but to just make blanket generalizations is disingenuous I think and doesn't communicate the specificity that is going on behind the expression.

Especially in this particular section of this forum. this is not a general section but one dedicated to people getting help and assistance to be successful using these kinds of hives, not to be told that their choice is no good. Arguing over people's preferred hives and methods can fit into a lot of other general areas, but I think is not helpful in specific sections like this one.

yet again, that is just my opinion.

Big Bear
 

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Hey Oldtimer,

Nice photos. Looks like your TBH is a straight side and you leave a space between bars like a Langstroth. Is that correct?

I was thinking of running foundationless Langs but I've been told by extremely knowledgeable people (formerly commercial/organic) that the bees would take much longer to draw comb this way and would slow things down.

What has been your experience?
 
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