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Author Topic: Mixed Brood & Honey Question  (Read 2442 times)

Offline OhioRyan

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Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« on: June 08, 2015, 02:33:59 pm »
This is my first year with the top bar hive and I have really been enjoying it so far. I checked on the bees yesterday and noticed they are about 5-6 bars away from filling the 42" top bar hive. I checked for capped honey to see what I might be able to take soon and found that most of the comb is a mix of brood and honey (top honey, bottom brood) on a majority of the frames around the brood nest. The back of the hive does not have any only honey bars in it. I am curious what to do about this situation in the coming week/weeks. I don't want them to fill the hive and swarm, and I also don't have another top bar to do a split. Should I take the mixed honey/brood comb from the back, cut the honey out and reattach the bottom brood comb so they can continue to build on those comb? How full can the hive get before I need to really watch for swarming behavior? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 03:50:23 pm by OhioRyan »

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2015, 08:28:16 pm »
Make a 48" top bar hive?  Or maybe a 60"...
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Offline OhioRyan

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 02:16:50 pm »
I am working on building a 60" top bar hive any way for next year.... Should I transfer then this year or do a split and try to get a second hive going in the new home?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 08:45:55 am »
Now is a good time for a split... if that's what you want.  If you want honey, it may not be a good time for a split...
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Offline OhioRyan

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 03:15:07 pm »
Thanks again for the input. I am going to let them go and see what happens :) At least the bees are always an adventure!

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 03:49:45 pm »
Always an adventure!
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
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Offline shoshannama

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 05:43:13 am »
A 60" long hive? Read Les Crowders book on top bar hives.  He did many experiments to determine the ultimate size. I made a 44' hive as per his recommendation, which he states should give them plenty room for lots of brood and then enough extra for honey storage.  Especially this time of year they tend to fill the hive with so much brood.  I'm still waiting for those honey bars to fill up myself as I just did a split into this hive, so I'll report back once they've filled it up.  My 36" hives are the same as yours, except one has 3 honeycombs. 

I am wondering about how re-postioning the bars could create more honeycomb without brood in it.  We've been taught to expand the brood nest by dropping in empty bars in order to supress the swarming urge, but perhaps this creates this issue of more brood combs with only bulging honey at the top. Any thoughts on this?

I have also read about moving honeycombs to door, or in front of the brood nest.  Why would one do this?

I realize the manipulation of combs is a great advantage of top bar hives, but sometimes I'm just not entirely clear on why and where to move them, and to create what end result.  Les's book has a good chapter on it, but I'm a first year girl and still have so much to learn.

And I love every minute of it!

ShannaRose

Offline OhioRyan

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2015, 10:44:13 am »
I have Les's book and it is one of the reasons I have done the comb manipulation that I have so far. I had read that the deeper hives were good for honey collection because they would avoid issues with the swarm urge and give them room to store honey or rapidly expand the brood nest. I think the 60" top bar allows a little more wiggle room in checking the hive and using the follower board I would shrink the hive down for the winter after the honey harvest. I noticed in my last check that some of the brood have hatched and I will be interested to see she lays in these again or if they start to pack honey. To your point on honey up front I was going to do this when I went through the hive, but they had already done it on their own.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2015, 10:42:13 am »
In Brother Adam's writings and Eva Crane's writings the longest horizontal hive they saw was about five feet.  Wyatt Magnum who has experimented a lot for many years with TBHs came up with five feet as the maximum useful size.  Although most of his are four foot.  I found four foot was about the maximum size I could get them to expand horizontally without a lot of work.
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Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2015, 09:54:52 pm »
4 feet works well with 8' boards. I try to  make the quickest/ easiest use of lumber.
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Offline shoshannama

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Re: Mixed Brood & Honey Question
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2015, 11:46:44 pm »
I read somewhere that if you make them too long they will begin to bow as they get heavier.  So maybe with some extra supports in the center somehow you could go more than 4 ft.  You will need a couple followers to shrink it down when needed so they don't have too much space to defend against shb.  Ive been taught the right amount of bees will almost completely cover the combs.  §¤«£¿æ has a good idea when using followers- put an empty bar between 2 followers.  That will make hive manipulations easier if you have a queen in each side.  And don't forget that extra entrance plugged with a cork until needed- I did forget on my first one and had to drill it with the bees already in there- not ideal, but they let me.  I opened it up when the hive filled up and it's so hot now and it's nice to give them that option.