honeybound?

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by Diane Scanzaroli Blackett, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Diane Scanzaroli Blackett

    Diane Scanzaroli Blackett New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I have a TBH in Denver, I am staring my second year. The bees have been very successful here. Istarted them last April and by June they filled the hive. The hive was very full these last several weeks with many bees bearding even through cold nights. They finally swarmed Monday. I have harvested the last bar of capped honey twice this year (they keep attaching to the back board) and now I am noting mixed brood comb farther toward the back, where it used to be just honey. Are they starting to get honey bound? Could that be why they had such a huge swarm? I have heard never to change the position of the bars, but I have also heard to move the bars next to the brood comb to the back to prevent them from becoming honey bound.
    Help!
    Diane
    http://citygardenbliss.blogspot.com/
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    It sounds as thought the hive was very succesful and did indeed become honeybound. When a hive gets congested (conditions you allude to, heavy bearding) they often start to fill their brood chamber with incoming nectar, thereby reducing the area in which the queen can lay eggs. This will often result in a hive throwing a swarm. Keep an eye on your hive, seeing if it decides to throw any afterswarms. With the queen now departed there will be a lull in broodrearing and you may find even more brood frames (bars) being filled with nectar. Once this hive has requeened itself succesfully, you will want to examine and possibly rearrange some bars and add a few where necessary.
    I wish I could help more but I am not overly familiar with Top Bars.
     

  3. Diane Scanzaroli Blackett

    Diane Scanzaroli Blackett New Member

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  4. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    I'm in traditional box hives. I have read with interest about TBH's. In my area we have several new beekeepers who have started with TBH's.

    I have my doubts about the size of TBH's. If you browse this forum and look at the beekeeping books, you often find that a colony fills 2 Langstroth broods and ? supers. The space involved is much more than the space in a TBH. When asked about this, I was told that the beekeeper was not in it for the honey but rather to help/understand the bees.

    My thoughts on this were that the space in a TBH was not sufficient for a colony to go to its normal size. :???:

    .
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Hi Diane :hi:
    I missed your first post, but don't want to miss the opportunity to say "Hello" and welcome you to the forum.
    I have absolutely no experience with TBHs, but, just from whatever knowledge I have of bees, it is difficult for me to understand why the TBH combs should not be moved from one position to another. If they werern't supposed to be moved, why should the bees be encouraged to build on moveable bars? A TBH isn't supposed to be an alternative to a bee tree and should allow the beek the benefit of managing, not just observing the hive. Once you start manipulating and not just "leaving alone", you should be able to solve the problems of overcrowding and swarming (at least to some extent). :wink:
     
  6. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    You can also put Langstroth supers on top of your TBH during a flow to alleviate crowding and prevent getting honeybound.
    The photo below is from mistressbeek.com
    supered-TBH.jpg
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Now that's something you don't see everyday. :thumbsup:
    How do the bees move up into those deeps, do you leave a gap for them somewhere?
     
  8. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Yeah, on that one they show a photo on that page of the spacers they put between the top bars...
     
  9. melrose

    melrose New Member

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    Looks like she just sat the boxes right on top of the TBH bars. With no bottom on the box they move freely up and down. :confused:
     
  10. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Yeah, exactly, but you still need space between the top bars. Otherwise most folks that do TBH don't have space between them, they push bars tight together and the entrance is just bee space between the edge of the hive and the first bar, like in this pic:
    LongHive1.jpg
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Puzzled? If you leave spaces between the top bars to allow the bees to move up into the supers, wouldn't that affect the bee space between the combs in the TBH? Would the bees tend to draw out the existing comb any further?
    One of these days I'm gonna have to check out one of those TBH's firsthand. :lol:
     
  12. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    You would need to know before hand that you were making top bars that are going to have space between them. You wouldn't want to take the wide boards like in the above photo and just add space between them if they were originally meant to be tight together. It's the space between the centers that is important. 1.25 inches on center for brood, 1.5 inches for honey, or 1 3/8 inches if they are all made the same.

    I make mine so they are 1 and 3/8 inches from center to center. I rip a groove down the center and glue in big popsicle sticks. I super them, so I need space between the bars. The easiest way I learned to achieve this was push pin thumb tacks. The kind with the plastic knob thingy....I just push them into the wood so the plastic knob from one side touches the next wooden bar. I also experimented with drilling small holes in the ends just big enough to accommodate a piece of dowel rod to encourage them to draw straight down and not attach anything to the sides of the box. I only would do the dowel rods when I'm using either Tanzanian-style TBH or if I'm putting the bars in a Lang box. You know what, let me and my oldest son suit up and go open a box up and take a picture.....................

    top-bar-4-29-12a.jpg

    OK, we are back inside now. The pic above shows the two popsicle sticks that are the center guides, and the two thumb tacks in the wooden bar. Notice the circular hole in the comb between the popsicle sticks. You'll see the bees leave holes at the top like that if they can, they travel back and forth through there. In the above pic I put one dowel rod in on one end but not the other, and they still drew it about the same either way, but without a guide, if they do attach to the sides, it can be tricky to do hive inspections, but a long bread knife type thing helps to unattach it.

    top-bar-4-29-12b.jpg

    In the above photo I didn't use thumbtacks, I just spaced it by eye....maybe I ran out of tacks, who knows...Also only one piece of dowel rod in this one, but they drew the other side straight. There is mostly brood on these frames, so they don't need to attach comb to the sides of the hive, but when they store honey in them, they know it needs to support more weight, and they can attach more comb to the sides.

    That's why it's an idea to have all top bars in the actual TBH, then put honey supers on top with frames that you can extract and not fight heavy slabs filled with honey that are all attached to everything in sight. I'm still trying new things with top bar designs this year so I want to wait until extraction time and see what worked and what I won't try again.
     
  13. Diane Scanzaroli Blackett

    Diane Scanzaroli Blackett New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome Efmesh.


    "My thoughts on this were that the space in a TBH was not sufficient for a colony to go to its normal size."
    IMGP2450 - Copy.jpg

    The top bar does indeed have the capacity as a Lang. This is my recent swarm, and my hive is still very full. The frames are smaller since there is no foundation, but they usually have many more frames. I have 16 or so bars all filled. The objective of the top bar hive is to allow bees to swarm to increase genetic diversity and strength of bee genetics. I will get less honey because I did not try and stop my bees from swarming. Of course I'd like them not to swarm again.
     
  14. Diane Scanzaroli Blackett

    Diane Scanzaroli Blackett New Member

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    I took your advice Perrybee and went in to the TBH today and took out 4 bars to open the brood area. I did rearrange comb and straighten some very wonky comb. The new queen seems to be laying so I am hoping they will fill this new area with brood.
    Thanks for the advice.

    citygardenbliss@blogspot.com
     
  15. Diane Scanzaroli Blackett

    Diane Scanzaroli Blackett New Member

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    Drbuzz,
    I love your supers over your top bar. What a great idea!
     
  16. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I'm experimenting with a version of something called a "honey cow" which is just a plastic barrel cut in half lengthwise and used as a TBH. I'll super that with Langstroths, but I haven't done it yet and that photo of the TBH with supers on is from someone else's site. I've also seen upright log hives that just had supers on top to capture the surplus honey...I kind of like the idea...make whatever weird thing you like to keep bees in and super it with stuff that's standardized and easily extractable. The top bars that I have, like in the two pics above, I just mostly have in Lang boxes...
     
  17. vermillion

    vermillion New Member

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    >>insert bowing smiley here<<<

    This is wonderful.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I'm experimenting with a version of something called a "honey cow" which is just a plastic barrel cut in half lengthwise and used as a TBH.

    tecumseh:
    one of the first top bar hives I remember reading about in a very dated ABJ article was about a similarly made hive. the article I think was written by a peace corp fellow who used the idea in africa. somewhat later he did a conversion from this half barrel hive to a lang.
     
  19. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Dr. Buzz:

    Love those pictures of your top bars. Picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks! :thumbsup:
     
  20. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Yes, from what I understand the Tanzanian and Kenyan TBH designs were developed by Western nations based off the ancient Greek TBH and given to Africans by various aid agencies in the hopes that they would be able to learn to keep bees and not keep killing entire feral colonies to steal honey.
    I don't know how well that's working, but, having lived in Africa myself, I have a pretty good guess.