Top bar design critique

Discussion in 'Top Bar & other Alternative Hives' started by darrenct83, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    As some of you know I very quickly threw together a top bar hive to house a swarm I captured. I did enough research on the subject to where I built a hive that I am comfortable will do the job, but there are some finishing touches that I am not too sure about.

    1) My hive does not have a vent. I am considering using a hole saw to make a couple holes in the bottom and screening them off. Is this important? I live in Northern Idaho and summer temperatures get in the 90's. It is cold in the winter. Does a vent need to be plugged in the winter?

    2)My top bars are 1-1/4" strips of cedar that I had readily available in that size when I made the hive. This is slightly smaller than what I see recommended. Should I space them apart from each other slightly? Do I need to make spacers to keep them apart or just set them apart slightly? I do have a lid that goes over the bars.

    3)To attract them to building a comb I used a table saw to make a slit in each top bar. Fearing this was not adequate enough I soaked some string in beeswax and stabled it to the board next to the slit still centered. I just want to make sure this is an efficient way to get them to build combs, and build them straight across the top bar.

    4)My hive is only 22" long. A lot of hives I see are much longer. Should I consider building a larger hive or just build another hive and split this one when I'm convinced that this one is full?

    Thanks for the advice
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I am not a fan of the top bar myself but do not wish to discourage you in the least.

    I have never heard of the string idea but it sounds good. I think most wold have put in a popscicle stick or thin sliver of wood in the slit you cut for them to build onto.

    Just keep an eye on them to make sure they are building the comb on the bottom of one bar and not across several bars.

    Keep us posted on how they are doing and pics are always welcome.

    Very nice swarm by the way, good job on getting them.
     

  3. rast

    rast New Member

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    I know nothing about TB hives, but if I am going to vent a hive, I want the vent to be at the top of the hive body to let hot air out. My experience has been if you screen it, they close it with propolis.
     
  4. Barry Tolson

    Barry Tolson New Member

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    Ventilation...Shouldn't require more than any other hive, especially if your entrance is at the top. Mine are all at the top and my TBH's tend to fare better over winter than my Langs.
    Bars...you may want to make some thins strips up to accommodate when the bees want to draw thicker combs. Otherwise, you might end up with comb attached to 2 bars. Not the end of the world, but inconvenient.
    String...should work as well as anything to inspire straight combs. They may still build off kilter, requiring some repair on your part. Once you get a couple of combs built straight, feed an empty bar between 2 good combs, and it, too will be straight.
    22" long...can't say without knowing the width and depth. Adequate volume is important. My TBH's are about 48" long...but the bars are only 15" wide and the depth about 12". Very easy to handle. Look around online and see what others are building to see what sizes are working.
    TBH's are lots of fun for me...different to work than my Langs. I like them a lot. Just set it up and if things work, keep doing things that way. If not...try something different. Have fun with it.