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Author Topic: Top Bar Hive Questions  (Read 633 times)

Offline TALittle

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Top Bar Hive Questions
« on: May 24, 2016, 06:25:19 pm »
I've been doing my research on Top Bar hives. The intent is to build several to put on my property (12 acres).

Note: Due to the location I would only be able to get out to them every week or two.

I planned to build the movable backer board, set it so that the available interior volume is between 30l and 40l then bait the hive and wait. Ok I simplified that a lot, there is a lot of location and available resources that went into where I plan to put them as well.

What I am wondering is, should a swarm move in and set up house, how should you go about moving the backer board to expand the available space for them?

My intent was to give it a week or two then pull the board back to 1/2 the hive, then after they draw comb almost to the board to move it back again to give them the full hive. I have seen suggestions that once they move in you give them the whole hive and others that talk about moving 1 or 2 bars at a time into the existing build to get them to expand and draw straight comb.  Just not sure if there is a right / wrong way or if it is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

The other question is how common is it for bees in a KTBH to cross comb and not follow the guides?


Offline gww

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Re: Top Bar Hive Questions
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2016, 08:33:02 pm »
ta
I don't know the answer but would think in part good comb would depend on spacing and comb guides and how level the hive is.  I watch lots of you tube for ideals good and bad.

I am foundationless in a lang.  My first hive and so far so great.
gww

Offline bobsim

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Re: Top Bar Hive Questions
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2016, 12:48:31 am »
  I think the moveable board is a non issue if you can get to the hives every two weeks. I'm thinking comb management and feeding will be the big issues. I have the triangular starter on the bottom of mine and the brood comb is not a problem but have to manage the honeycombs now and then. Sometimes they can go through a quart of syrup in 2or 3 days.

  Have you thought about foundation starter strips? May help keep the combs straight, I have no experience with them.

 

Offline TALittle

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Re: Top Bar Hive Questions
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2016, 09:12:16 am »
Bob, I was not going to feed. It will be a wild swarm and based on the area there is little reason to feed them. Dont get me wrong, I would not let them starve I just dont think they will need to be fed out there.

My design is to make the top bars with chamfer molding as the guide, like yours. From my research there are several different ways to build guides and it is the one I decided to go with for no other reason that I liked it. lol
I have not seen anything that suggests one type works better than any other type.

How often do you have to correct the honey comb and are all your bars the same or do you have 1-1/4 for brood and 1-3/8 for honey?

Offline bobsim

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Re: Top Bar Hive Questions
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2016, 11:58:39 am »
  "How often do you have to correct the honey comb and are all your bars the same or do you have 1-1/4 for brood and 1-3/8 for honey?"

  Actually I have all that and a bunch of shims! Old drone comb on 1-1/4" has a way of turning into honey stores and 1-3/8" honey bars get filled out wider than the bar, if it's causing attachment or deformation to the adjacent bars I'll add a shim and/or move the bar to the back or harvest it.

  Last spring I built my third hive and just did all the bars 1-1/4 and use shims where needed. This works better for me than managing different width bars.

  I also learned to allow 1/2" for expansion of the bars length if your design is going to encase the ends.

  hth, Bob.