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View Full Version : TBH or Langstroth for a neophyte, to harvest chunk honey?



Bee Halo
Jan 24th 2012, 11:32 AM
I'd like to provide home(s) for honey bees and harvest comb and chunk (organic) honey in our backyard.

Can a Langstroth hive be modified for comb honey or does a TBH /Warre (sp?) hive provides a simpler, safer, home for bees and honey? :confused:

Since we have a wood fire hot tub, do we need to completely cover the chlorinated water?

Hog Wild
Jan 24th 2012, 01:01 PM
Welcome Bee Halo! You can use either, just make sure to use comb honey foundation in your supers/shallows if you decide to go that route. This will be my first year attempt at comb honey, there is definately a market for it.

I have a swimming pool and have no issues with the bee's, not sure how the chlorine levels compare. They do however frequent it regularly in the Summer months drawing alot of criticism from the wife....

Good Luck!

Iddee
Jan 24th 2012, 01:08 PM
A Langstroth hive needs no modification. Just use non-wired foundation. It will also produce more harvestable honey than a top bar hive.

tecumseh
Jan 24th 2012, 06:04 PM
as I suggest on another thread (last post matter of fact) chuck honey that you might place in a jar and then add extracted honey a medium depth frame is a better size (less cutting and less waste). I do this in the sorriest looking boxes and frames you can image. I have used thin surplus and standard foundation (thickness) with good results. since this foundation is loosely attached (I attach with liquid bees wax and use side pins) the thin surplus stuff is more likely to fail than standard foundation. bees weight + any small amount of heat will give you poor results with thin surplus foundation.

with thin surplus foundation you do get about twice as many sheet/pound. the stuff is so thin it is a bit tricky to handle when you are installing the stuff.

Omie
Jan 24th 2012, 10:04 PM
I use medium honey super frames with NO foundation, only popsicle stick guides along the top of each frame for the bees to follow on the empty frames. As you can see my (untreated) bees had no trouble making beautiful comb and chunks for me:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ewENUPIq-TA/TpSBgCl-46I/AAAAAAAADaE/VtpkPhnEeQc/s400/DSC07319.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-81kNz9xJWQ0/TpSBfVF_9jI/AAAAAAAADZ8/_R8xFIP5Sgc/s400/DSC07324.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OYkKWyxFU50/TpSBfPLUyGI/AAAAAAAADZs/Wu4jwSqvSFE/s400/DSC07327.jpg

All of it would have been ideal for chunk honey, and no commercial foundation of dubious origin was used at all. My bees were untreated and I feel as safe as can be eating my own wax along with the honey. :)

I'd say go with Langstroth- you can make beautiful natural chunk honey in a Lang!

Bee Halo
Jan 25th 2012, 12:12 AM
I use medium honey super frames with NO foundation, only popsicle stick guides along the top of each frame for the bees to follow on the empty frames. As you can see my (untreated) bees had no trouble making beautiful comb and chunks for me:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ewENUPIq-TA/TpSBgCl-46I/AAAAAAAADaE/VtpkPhnEeQc/s400/DSC07319.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-81kNz9xJWQ0/TpSBfVF_9jI/AAAAAAAADZ8/_R8xFIP5Sgc/s400/DSC07324.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OYkKWyxFU50/TpSBfPLUyGI/AAAAAAAADZs/Wu4jwSqvSFE/s400/DSC07327.jpg

All of it would have been ideal for chunk honey, and no commercial foundation of dubious origin was used at all. My bees were untreated and I feel as safe as can be eating my own wax along with the honey. :)

I'd say go with Langstroth- you can make beautiful natural chunk honey in a Lang!

Wow! :drinks: Thank you. :coolphotos:

I've read that TBH are easier and better homes for honey bees, but with enticing photos of comb honey harvests like that I want to start with a Lang' and perhaps add a TBH/Warre as the second hive, when needed.

How are your popsicle stick guides attached, please? :confused:

tecumseh
Jan 25th 2012, 06:00 AM
a tecumseh snip..
as I suggest on another thread (last post matter of fact) chuck honey that you might place in a jar and then add extracted honey a medium depth frame

tecumseh:
me bad... I should have said shallow frame and not medium depth here. medium depth and illinois depth are one and the same. a shallow frames produces a bit of chunk honey that fits nicely in a wide mouth jar and thus the 'better size'.

sorry about the inaccurate statement...

Omie
Jan 25th 2012, 01:29 PM
I've read that TBH are easier and better homes for honey bees, but with enticing photos of comb honey harvests like that I want to start with a Lang' and perhaps add a TBH/Warre as the second hive, when needed.
How are your popsicle stick guides attached, please? :confused:


I think a Warre hive is likely to be very frustrating for a new BK, because you can't really go into it as you like to see what's going on. Harder to learn that way. A TB would be a fun additional hive to try after you get comfortable working with a Lang hive. Lang has the advantage of being very easy to move things around and manipulate boxes and frames- you can really learn a lot this way, though it's easy to get carried away and do too much manipulating. That's why it's good to have two hives at first- you can fuss with inspecting one while the other hive can get a break from your intrusions. ;)

If you get 'split bottom' and 'wedge top' frames, you can either glue in some large craft-style popsicle sticks with wood glue (they will hang down about 1/4" under the top bar) OR you can simply snap out the rectangular removable wedge, turn it 90 degrees and nail it in that way so it too would hang down 1/4". Either way creates a thin ridge that encourages the bees to build down from it. No need at all to paint it with wax.
The one thing you should do is check on them every few days at first because they may start to build crazy comb and you need to cut that comb out right away and make them try again. Some folks put ONE frame with foundation in the middle to give them a 'ladder' to climb up in the super, and also it helps encourage more straight combs alongside it. Once they start building a couple of good straight combs, they tend to keep building other straight comb next to it and you're home free. When you cut the comb out to harvest, leave about 1/2" along the top to encourage them to build down from that next time.
Most folks only use the very most perfect and pristine cuts of capped white comb for 'comb honey'- sold in boxes just as is. 'Chunk honey' on the other hand, can be nice but irregular shaped capped chunks of comb that are placed into bottles of liquid honey for sale. Chuck honey doesn't have to be quite as perfect. You do want to make sure there is no brood in the comb for consumption, of course. That's why I use an excluder, which only gets added AFTER the bees have started enthusiastically building comb in the super. If added first along with the empty super, the bees tend to not want to go through the excluder into the super to work.

My photos from last Fall by the way were of my very first honey harvest- a late Fall harvest of only 5 medium frames from a new foundationless 10-frame super placed on one hive during mid summer. I did not use any of it as 'chunk/comb honey' though- i wanted liquid honey. So i used the crush&strain method of home harvesting small amounts, and I wound up with about 1 gallon of pure honey and 1/2 lb of beautiful wax. Hoping to get much more next year. I have 5 colonies still alive right now, will see what Spring brings in terms of survivors. (knock on wax)

Barbarian
Jan 25th 2012, 02:03 PM
Some points you might like to view.
Given a choice bees will work drawn comb rather than the foundation you have provided for comb honey.
For acceptance, foundation should be 'fresh' and recently put in the frames.
To avoid mis-shaped comb alternate a full sheet of thin un-wired foundation with a starter strip of un-wired foundation.
To avoid under weight packs of comb, space the frames at 9 in a Langstroth..... thicker comb.
A comb honey super should go on a strong hive during a nectar flow.
Either the comb super should be the only one on the hive or with full normal supers.
With full normal supers, the comb super should be directly above the excluder on the brood box.
To avoid surface staining, the comb super should be removed as soon as it is satisfactorily capped.
Some hives can be slow to cap cells full of honey.
To avoid granulation, store un-labeled packs of comb in a freezer --- labels don't freeze well.
Comb is less dense than honey. To avoid under-weight jars of chunk honey top up with a dense honey.