top bar hives vs. Langstroth hives

Discussion in 'Top Bar & other Alternative Hives' started by thatguy324, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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  2. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Let the battle begin:roll::lol:
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Seek out member Adam Foster Collins here on the forum if you want to know about TBH. He has them but is growing his set up with Langs.
    You can start cheaper with TBH, but there is less information and experience available, which may not be a good idea for someone just starting out.
    I've been keeping for over a decade and I am still hesitant to branch out into the outer-reaches. Trying to keep my bees alive and healthy is enough for me to worry about.
     
  4. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I had a friend who started with TBH a little before I started keeping with Lang's. In the 3 full years we've been keeping bees, he has yet have a hive produce enough honey for harvesting. He gladly accepts mine when offered but can't return the favor. We live close enough that our bees probably overlap but for some reason he's had lots of problems.
     
  5. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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    is a lang beehive a box beehive?
     
  6. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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  7. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Hi Thatguy,

    You can do a total topbar hive (has no foundation).
    Or, you can do a typical Lang. hive (with rectangular frames)- all with foundation, or with all foundationless, or with some foundation frames and some foundationless frames.

    You are living in Alabama where it's quite hot, I would say if you use foundationless Lang frames you should string some wire or fishing line in an 'X" across the empty space so that the heavy comb in a deep frame will have some support when you lift or tip it during hot weather. Medium and shallow foundationless frames do a little better without center support.

    Don't ask folks which types of hives or frames are 'better', since everyone has their own strong ideas about that. Better to simply ask what people like and why, or what their experience has been. And just so you know, most folks here know about Michael Bush's websites and articles. I like what Michael has to say but many folks don't agree with his approaches. So, when you post a link to one of his articles and ask "What about this?" ...it's like "well what ABOUT it?"- it is what it is, and some like Bush's methods and some don't. We all try various methods and we all have different beekeeping preferences. You will get 10 suggestions to try one thing, and another 10 suggestions to not bother trying it...whatever it is. Best approach is to read everything you can (here and in books), watch tons of youtube vids on beekeeping (they will present differing approaches too), get a live local mentor or two if you can, and then decide on trying one or two approaches out the first year to see how it works for you. :) Have fun with it and take all the advice you get with a grain of salt. Over time you will know the path you want and how to do things to get to your personal BKing goals.

    Why not experiment? Top bar hives are very cheap and easy to build- you could start with that if you don't have a big budget. You'll need to arrange to get some bees to start out with- usually they don't just fall out of the sky. ;)
    Good idea is to find out where your closest bee club is and join it right away. Make contacts in it and they can help you get set up and make decisions.
    When ordering or buying bees- If you have a top bar hive, it's easier to start by installing a package of bees rather than a nuc, because nucs come on Lang frames and you'd have to do a lot of messy cutting and fastening to get that comb into place in a top bar setup.
     
  8. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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    thanks for the help i think i will start out with a top bar hive that is foundationless i will try the wire thing you said now there is nothing to it but to get to it
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    The beautiful foundationless comb that is raved over might not be what you experience. Without structure and guidance the bees may show you the ultimate in free form construction of an interlocking maze. Initial research pays off. Sometimes i think my bees are trying to turn a Lang hive into a top bar creation that almost needs a bear to get the frames out of their propolis!
     
  10. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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  11. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    You will not need support wire or fishing line with a top bar hive. You'll make the bars with a ridge or angled edge so that the bees will be encouraged to build down from the hanging ridge of each bar. You will want to make the hive perfectly level to encourage them to build straight down with gravity, and you'll make sure there is correct 'bee space' between the bar ridges and everywhere else inside the hive. If you follow closely a successful topbar set of plans, it should be correctly laid out with the bee space measurements. :)
     
  12. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    I have a question about TBH. Because I am limited on my budget for this spring (have to buy a bee package yet too)...I am thinking of building a couple TBH's...as they are simple to make, and I have the wood readily available. My question is, is there a way to keep the queen isolated on one portion of the TBH...like the screen you can buy for a Lang that keeps her in the lower brood chambers??? I am thinking there must be something to keep her isolated a bit in the TBH as well, so you don't have larvae spread all through the top bars.

    Any thoughts??

    Dan
     
  13. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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    i may be new but i have read up a good bit on this tbh (topbar hives) aren't supposed to have a queen excluder you let the queen go where she wants that myth bee's left to them self will raise to many drones is a myth the bee's knows what best and how much eggs to lay and how much honey to make
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Are you confusing a queen excluder with a queen cage?

    Please take this as constructive criticism; back off on 'what you know' and ask more questions:wink:
     
  15. thatguy324

    thatguy324 New Member

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    sorry bout that i was buying some "queen cages" in a another tab at that time
     
  16. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Dan, I have not heard of the use of queen excluders in TBH's.
    I'm suspecting that in a 4 foot long TBH the brood nest will not be scattered all over the bars from one side to the other, but would likely be in a general area that might slowly move around.
    Remember that in a Lang people often take off a whole super/box of honey to extract and replace back. They have to put an entire frame in the extractor to extract the honey out of the cells. A frame having 1/4 of it filled with larvae would be typically rejected for honey extraction. In a TBH however, you'd only take one or a few selected bars of capped honey at a time, and you can cut the capped honey comb by hand right out rather than extract and replace the comb. This probably makes it easier to avoid cutting out and harvesting any sections that might have some brood in it. Just a thought. :)
     
  17. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    what comes the honey bees I would never discourage anybody from trying anything new or different with that said no matter how much you have read all that is basically meaningless until you've done it.
    of course read get the basic information and once you start keeping bees what you read will be reinforced by what you see but start on a project as difficult as top bar Hives with little or no experience in handling bees even working the standard hives 10 frame the bees seldom do you preciselg what you would anticipate. Bees when they draw out foundation unless your bee space between frames is a right you can expect a mess of cross bracin g comb..
    Barry
     
  18. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    As Omie stated, you will only be pulling and harvesting framed with honey. Bees tend to keep the brood all together near the entrance and store the honey outside the brood nest area so a queen excluder is not needed as with a Langstroth hive, which because is placed over the brood nest, the queen is more likely to move up and lay in it. When the honey is removed from a Lang, the whole super is removed so if the queen moved up you may have brood in the frames that you are trying to extract.
     
  19. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Hi guy, http://www.beekeepingforums.com/forums/82-Top-Bar-amp-other-Alternative-Hives is a great place to catch up on the topic of tbh's at least on this forum. I am sure glad I started with Langs but excited to try tbh's this year. My personal decision was based on four desires, more wax for lip balms and candles, I like some comb honey, pure experiment and I want to have few of them around in case I find a swarm or cut-out and need a fast place to put them if I have ran out of Lang equipment. I built three tbh's for this year and will most likely build a fourth before the season starts. It is so simple and affordable to put one together.
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    To both you guys..........

    Starting with anything other than Langstroth.

    Keep this thread in mind and in the summer and fall, when you are pulling your hair out trying to unravel the mess in your hive, and you find all your bees dead after the first winter, come back and read this post again.

    Top bar, warre, foundationless, ETC. are for experienced beeks. First timers will be experiencing so many catastrophes it may well convince you to leave beekeeping forever. Langs, with foundation, will give you enough of a learning curve without adding other headaches.