Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping  (Read 2190 times)

Offline SimonTurner

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« on: April 29, 2015, 12:16:39 pm »
We are looking at variations on design on Top Bar beehives for use in northern Uganda - My concern is having adequate ventilation more than just the entrance holes in a hot dry environment. Also the usage of a divider board to secure new colonies mitigating pest control. If anyone has experience in Top Bar beekeeping in a tropical environment it would be great to share their experiences?

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 17579
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 03:17:37 pm »
Too much ventilation is usually a bigger problem than too little.  Too much and they can't cool the hive.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline Maggiesdad

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 452
  • Gender: Male
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 11:17:48 pm »
Hello SimonTurner! Welcome to Beemaster.  :grin:

Tomas on here runs Top Bar hives in Honduras, he says his location is classified as dry tropical forest.

http://www.beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=46710.0  click on the link, not the pic to get to his blog...  I'm sure he'd be happy to answer any specific questions you might have.

Good luck to you!
Glen

Online little john

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1484
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 03:53:47 am »
Have you made contact with the University of Guelph ?  They are already operating in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi, and have extensive knowledge of Top Bar Beekeeping.

LJ

A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline SimonTurner

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2015, 12:39:37 am »
Thanks for the comments. I am looking to site a few alternating designs and try them out. LJ would you have the contacts to the University of Guelph who I may make contact with?

Online little john

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1484
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 06:32:17 am »
Sorry about the delay in replying - I've only just returned to the forum.

Contacts ? - well, not really - I'm a bit out of touch with this area of beekeeping - but as you probably know the modern TBH resulted from the work of Tredwell and Paterson in 1965, which was then introduced into Kenya by Maurice Smith and Gordon Townsend of the University of Guelph in 1971.

Gordon Townsend wrote a very interesting paper (or booklet ?) entitled "Beehive Designs for the Tropics" in 1984. There are copies floating around the internet, but if you have difficulty sourcing it - drop me a PM with your email address, and I'll swift a copy over to you.

As there has been recent interest in another thread about the feasibility of converting a TBH to take Langstroth frames, perhaps I could quickly give a small quote from Townsend's paper:

Quote
The modified African long hive with movable frames is a very useful transitional hive for use with the tropical African bee. If the frames are made with sidebars and a median cross bar or a thin cross strip of wood or bamboo, the colony can be moved and the combs handled without breakage. This hive also has all the advantages of the Kenya top bar hive, at very little extra cost. The combs can be interchanged with Langstroth frames if it is so desired.

There's nothing new under the sun  :smile:


So - although Townsend has been 'the big name' at Guelph in the world of beekeeping within developing countries, a quick tour of the Guelph website this morning turned up a couple of rather more up-to-date names:

Professor Gard Otis, School of Environmental Sciences,  gotis(at)uoguelph.ca  and
Ernesto Guzman, Professor and Head of the Honey Bee Research Centre,  guzman(at)uoguelph.ca

Hopefully one or other of those guys would be able to assist you.

Hope this helps ...

LJ
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline shoshannama

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 06:16:44 am »
I am a Hawaii bee keeper, plenty tropical here.  Small hive beetles can be the biggest problem, so I use a follower (divider) board and only give the bees 3-5 extra bars at a time until it grows very strong at which point I remove the follower.  You don't want a small number of bees to have to defend a space too big against the beetles.  They will make these propolis jails at the tops of the bars if they need to- smart creatures they are! We also have a special design modification so that the beetles or mites that fall off the combs (the bees will often push them) cannot get back in, but instead fall through the screened bottom into a sheet metal box filled with oil or diatomaceous earth that kills the pests. This box is in a long drawer the length of the hive body and built onto the bottom with latched doors on either side for cleaning.  If beetles are not a problem then you may not need this, but beetles can slime out a hive in 3 days if they get the upper hand- or so I've been told.

Although all my hives are in full sun and seem fine, I no longer use pieces of tin roofing (that got hot!)over the bars but a light plastic roofing held down by rocks and/or rope in windy areas.  No need for an extra wooden roof under that- just bars and the piece of roofing propped up with a few extra bars..  Our temperatures barely reach 90 but for higher temperatures it's best to find a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade or partial shade.  Something I have learned about the heat- don't go into the hive once the day has heated up, especially not at the end of the day.  The combs will be soft, and new comb is so soft it can fall off easily.  In summer I go into my hives by 8am following a full night of cooler temps.

For ventilation there is always another entrance hole on the other side of the hive in case I decide to house 2 hives in the one body.  That extra entrance hole can also be used for extra ventilation for a single hive once the combs start to fill it up.  I have a cork in that hole that I remove.  If they do not want/need that ventilation they will propolis it closed to exactly how they want it.  I once watched a new hive completely close up the extra hole with propolis except for 1 bee space.  As the hive grew they opened it more and more.  I love giving the bees the option for the amount of ventilation they need with that extra hole.  If you were concerned you could drill several holes and cork them and open as needed- the bees will decide how much ventilation is perfect.

If you need photos of any of this I'd be happy to help. I am passionate about tropical top bar beekeeping!
ShannaRose

Offline SimonTurner

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Tropical Top Bar beekeeping
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2015, 05:54:22 am »
Thanks for the input. I'd tried contact with the University of Guelph. From their response study was made in the 1970's with Professor Gordon Townsend and nothing since.

I like the idea of plugging so would try that. I guess it is a matter of treading the line between pest control and adequate ventilation according on the climate. Am seeing a lot of bees ventilating through the entrance as with the picture attached.



I saw some pictures of KTB hives in Zambia from the 1970's showing entrance holes all along the length of the hive. Someone professed that this aids ventilation when the entrance is aligned with the comb. Current KTB design in Uganda uses eight entrance holes at the ends. The below images show our apiary with the current KTB design. We have experimented with a low cost beehive using sticks and mud.



Thats a really good link little john I think I found the document you are talking about.
https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/members.echocommunity.org/resource/collection/E66CDFDB-0A0D-4DDE-8AB1-74D9D8C3EDD4/Beehive_Designs_for_the_Tropics.pdf
It does not speak of entrance holes and ventilation but there is an interesting comment about not having a landing board and putting entrance holes higher to inhibit hive beetles entering that is quite interesting.

Shoshannama please do share with me photos. That would be great. We are also using a divider board. First a movable one attached to a top bar but now a fix piece of ply slid into a groove halfway along the hive. This is to secure the space for a small introductory colony. Many farmers use the KTB placed up in trees to trap bees so this in effect makes it into a nuc or catcher box.

Glen I will be sure to contact Thomas in Honduras.

There is two more additional concerns. One is the method of placing them up in trees where the top bars are often being dislodged.



The other is a recent project to improve livelihoods of people living along protected forest and maintain habitat for the chimpanzees living within. Any direction or advice on these topics would be highly appreciated.

Simon
malaikahoney.com