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Author Topic: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?  (Read 685 times)

Offline maggie_lee

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Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« on: February 16, 2020, 07:17:06 pm »
Hi all is there any book or blog or you tuber etc you?d recommend for learning about top bar hive beekeeping? Am about to start my first year keeping bees ! And in a top bar hive.

Or is there any advice you?d tell me, anything you wish you had known at the beginning?

(I?m in Atlanta but my site is in the middle of a few unmaintained acres with a pond so I think I have a little less to worry about from angry neighbors or pesticides Directly than if I were in a subdivision. And another guy already has 2 hives there)

Thanks!

Offline Kwalt

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 07:39:14 pm »
Let me start by saying that I don?t have bees in a top bar hive. I have a little experience with horizontal long langstroth hives and horizontal Layens hives.  I have used foundationless frames in both.

I have a copy of ?Top Bar Beekeeping? by Les Crowder. It?s a good read and a guide through all seasons.

There are a lot of different ways to keep bees so don?t get too wound up about everything the internet tells you.

My one tip for top bars or any frames without foundation is to keep the comb straight and aligned with the top bars. Once they start going wrong it doesn?t get better.

Kevin



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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2020, 11:35:26 pm »
Maggie. I also only have experience with horizontal langstroth beekeeping, which I like very much. I can't recommend any books, but the websites and YouTube videos of the two following men have given me a wealth of information about horizontal hives, and beekeeping in general. They are clear and simple in their delivery, and are among the best.
Michael Bush at www.bushfarms.com
Dr. Leo Sharashkin at www.horizontal hive.com

Offline bobsim

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2020, 06:40:01 pm »
  Hi Maggie,

  All good advise so far and I thought I'd chime in and mention I wish I had started out with local bees only. I began with a local nuc and a package from a commercial supplier. The nuc was a chore to install but they thrived whereas the package didn't. If you know another top bar keeper maybe they could do a split for you. ?

Offline Joe D

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2020, 10:54:30 pm »
Hi Maggie,
I started off with a top bar I built.  I had built it and then got a cut out, so I made the rest of a frame to help tie the comb to.  The bees I had in it were very gentle.  As for the top I made the bars to fit the space front to back of hive, very little space, the I fixed a cover over the bars, kind of an arched deal that fit over the frames.  Once you get your TBH done how are you going to extract your honey.  And a TBH is heavy to move, if you have to.  I have thought for years about building a long hive using Lanford frames, probably mediums for the ease of extracting.  You would just get a frame or two out at a time inspect and take out another and replace it leaving a gap to work from.
I did love my TBH I had a window down one side with a cover over it.  Could raise the cover and watch the bees do their thing for hours.  Oh, I also put a wire mesh #8 hardwire in the bottom of the hive with a tray with oil at first, then I switched to water with a cheap dish washing liquid in it.  It was closed where the bees couldn't get in it.  Maybe this will help a little, I did go to Mr. Bush site and others on u tube.

Good luck to you and your bees,

Joe D

Offline crmauch

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2020, 04:38:15 pm »
'Top-Bar Beekeeping: Wisdom & Pleasure Combined' by Wyatt A Mangum, PhD.  Author at one point had a small commercial operation w/ 400 top-bar gives.  Book is pricey, I read it through interlibrary loan. My hive design is his with one change.  My long boards are on the outside of the end boards.
Chris

Offline Robo

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2020, 08:12:21 pm »
Hi all is there any book or blog or you tuber etc you?d recommend for learning about top bar hive beekeeping?

Best top bar hive book in my opinion is "Beekeeping for Everyone"  by Abbe Warre and it is free -> bit.ly/warre

Can I ask why you decided to go top bar hive?
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline maggie_lee

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 10:27:48 am »
Thanks to everyone for the advice!!!

I think my next hive is going to be a Wyatt Magnum design; I like the idea of having a kind of "tray" underneath with a sticky pad to catch mites & beetles.

Robo: I chose top bar hive like this:  I had decided I wanted to try beekeeping and I went to this introductory one-day class that the metro atlanta beekeepers association puts on every winter.  They introduced the different kinds of hives ... and honestly I thought the langstroth hives looked confusing and a lot of trouble with a lot of fiddly little parts .  I was like "well I don't understand a stack of boxes but I can understand a trough."  Also they said that top bars are cheaper because you can build it yourself easily out of miscellaneous wood (cough, cough or get your stepdad to, which I did.)  And I'm a backyard beekeeper, I don't need to move my hive so I don't care if it's unwieldy.

The class didn't spend much time on top bars.  I don't remember if they even had one to show us or if they just showed a picture of one.

I have broken some combs on inspection but I'm learning to do it better and so far I'm happy with my decision.

Edit: I thought of one more thing: At that first class, I didn't understand that you could have frameless(?maybe) or foundationless langstroth, and if I had understood that, I might have done that.  No shade on the class, I'm sure they talked about it.  but it was a lot to take in and I didn't quite get that.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 12:27:38 pm by maggie_lee »

Offline Robo

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 03:35:12 pm »
Hi maggie_lee,


The reason I asked is because a lot of people choose top bar hives because they believe top bar hives are "more natural" and in reality they are confusing more primitive with more natural.   In nature, feral bees in a tree work in a vertical manner.   They start spring at the top and as they bring in nectar and make honey they drive the brood nest down.  Going into winter they are at the bottom with their stores all above them.   As they consume honey and move up the honey above them is preheated by the heat they give off.   This is a smooth progression upward throughout winter.  In a horizontal hive they need to break cluster and move around combs to get to additional stores as winter progresses.  This can be an issue if the temperature is cold.

That is why I recommend the Warre top bar hives as they better replicate the feral tree environment and it accounts for heat retention with the quilt box.

Hopefully your winters aren't too harsh in Atlanta and the bees can cope with the horizontal configuration.   
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline maggie_lee

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2020, 04:33:36 pm »
Nah our winters are not bad. We freak out if it stays freezing for more than 24 hours.

But yea, I've read that honey toward the back of the hive can be too far away in the cold and I'm wondering if on a warm winter day I can rotate a full frame closer to the brood.  A 70-degree-day in February isnt out of the question.

Offline Absinthe

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Re: Recommended books or blogs etc for top bar hives?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2020, 11:25:15 pm »
Nah our winters are not bad. We freak out if it stays freezing for more than 24 hours.

But yea, I've read that honey toward the back of the hive can be too far away in the cold and I'm wondering if on a warm winter day I can rotate a full frame closer to the brood.  A 70-degree-day in February isnt out of the question.

You are in GA, winter is over by late December. Once it is consistently 50 they are out flying, if it is 70? you can bet they are able to go get their own from any side of the hive, and by the time it is that warm in Feb you should already be watching for a swarm :)