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Author Topic: 1 inch top bars  (Read 2484 times)

Offline starbits

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1 inch top bars
« on: January 05, 2011, 01:43:59 am »
For my first post let me ask a question.  I have read that spacing on the top bars suggests a 1 1/4" TB for brood and 1 3/8" for honey bars.  I have also seen beeks putting supers on TBH and providing transit spaces by moving bars farther apart or by notching the bar in a capital  "I" shape.  In the case of notching you would pretty much have to plan ahead.

So as I prepare to make my first TBH (first hive period) I wondered why not make the bars 1 inch wide.  Full length spacers of 1/4" and 3/8" could be put between the TBs to provide the proper spacing.  If you decided to add a super (or top feed) it would be easy to pull out a spacer and add a 1 inch long spacer at each end which would give the bees a transit space in the middle.  The 1 inch long spacer could have a piece of coke can stapled to the top forming a "T" so it wouldn't fall into the hive.  To close the space back up just pull out the short spacers and put back a full length one.  You could even adjust spacing on the fly if your bees haven't read the book on proper spacing.

So the question is am I overlooking something?  It seems too simple an idea not to have been tried before, but I haven't seen it suggested in any of the reading I have done.  The only disadvantage I can see is having a TB and spacer instead of just a TB.  However since I have never had a hive before I could be totally clueless.

Warm regards.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: 1 inch top bars
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 02:07:33 am »
If you want to be able to make gaps and adjust spacing, I'd make a lot of 3/4" wide top bars (just because 3/4" is simple) with comb guides (you could make these one piece easily enough) and 1/2" spacers.  Ideally I suppose you want 7/8" top bars and 3/8" spacers, but that is more cuts.  Then you can add more or less spacers or pull them out to make a gap.  You could even get by with 1" bars and 1/4" spacers with the advantage that you can throw in an extra spacer when needed for honey combs that get fat.

Basically the  brood combs are going to be between 1 1/8" and 1 3/8" on center.  The honey will run more like 1 1/2" or more on center.
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Offline BjornBee

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Re: 1 inch top bars
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 08:19:36 am »
When TBH first got their big push a number of years ago, they were promoted as cheap, used natural or foundationless comb, and the idea was too cut off the honey comb from the actual TBH combs. Not many planned for extracting extra supers.

And while I understand the desire to super, (easier to extract, etc.) why not consider something other than a traditional TBH with solid bars, and then playing around with multiple sized bars?

Natural comb or foundationless systems can be used in any type hive. And some of them use the same concepts as a traditional TBH, yet allow one to super also, without any problems.

*You can build your TBH using standard frame tops, providing the required space to allow the bees into any placed supers. The you can use a quilt or other covering on the bars (like a Warre hive) before you place the top.

*You can also build a trench or long box hive, allowing you to super just like a traditional hive and yet have foundationless comb

Honestly, if you want a TBH, foundationless comb, and will build it yourself, there are several options that would not require splitting comb, spacers, etc. Splitting comb with spacers is easy. Putting them back together is another story.

Here is a trench style...  http://www.bjornapiaries.com/uniquebeekeeping.html

Here is a little on TBH's.... http://www.bjornapiaries.com/topbarbeekeeping.html

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Northern States Queen Breeders Assoc.  www.nsqba.com

Offline starbits

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Re: 1 inch top bars
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 12:58:36 pm »
Thanks for the replys guys.  I had planned to just make a couple traditional KTBH with no plans for supering.  However since I have never done any of this before and after reading a number of threads on supering I thought it would be better to be prepared.  Hacking notches in the bars not only had to be done before the bees, but also seemed such an inelegant solution. 

Starbits - back in read-only mode

Offline ineclipse

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Re: 1 inch top bars
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2011, 01:54:51 am »
Hi Starbits,
Excellent questions. I also plan to try supers on my TBHs. The key benefits I can see are allowing me to not disturb the body of the hive as much, and I can leave all those nice big fat combs full of honey to the bees for overwintering. After losses to starvation this winter, I believe I'll have better luck if I can just leave everything within the body of the TBH to the bees, and feel happy/lucky if I can take one super of honey for myself in the spring flow. I don't keep bees for mass honey production and the ease of harvesting honey from a super is just a bonus to me (not that crushing and straining was difficult). And as mentioned above, all the same principles used in the TBH can be applied to the super as well.

More direct to your question about bar sizing and bee access to the super... I'll be using 1-1/4" brood bars and 1-1/2" honey bars - I planned to simply remove a bar and leave a full bar space (1-1/4") empty for bee access to the super (using similar 1" or 2" plugs like you mentioned to fill the gaps on the ends) ...and that empty bar space would be located just before the follower board so there is no comb beyond the super access. After the super is full from the spring flow (wishful thinking!), I will simply replace the frames with a feeder and resume shifting the follower along as summer comb gets built - or remove the super completely and just replace the empty bar.

So can supering a TBH not just be as simple as this?  And can the access space given not just simply be that of a single tb? (Eliminating the need for spacers and odd-sized top bars.)

Oh also, in my limited experience, TBH honey combs almost always seem to get fatter than 1-3/8", so using 1-1/2" honey bars should eliminate the need for spacers there as well.

I agree that sometimes some of this seems so intuitive that it couldn't possibly be a fresh point of conversation on a forum like this.
I also agree that you don't realize how totally clueless you are until you start asking questions and someone sets you straight! 
So I'm hoping will set me straight before I start building! :)
It's all good.