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Der Alte Fritz 

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The main construction of TBH has been done by DIYers but we are starting to see some suppliers produce them as well. Can we produce a list of companies that produce hive and/or components? Some of us are no so gifted in the wood working department or are time poor but would still like to have a go.

Thornes offer a TBH.

Heather Bell Cornish Honey Bees offer three types of TBH and you can buy ready made top bars with a triangular wax guide.

Several sellers on e-Bay: bee-keeping-the-naturalway, seems to do both TBH and TBH nucs and Warre hives
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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Just found two other suppliers in Kent (which is near me which is good):)

Major Bee Hives TBH (3' footers with and without observation windows) TBH Nucs, Warre Hives

Teynham Bees, TBH , TBH Nucs, Warre and Skeps
 

Brosville 

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Personally, I wouldn't bother with 3-footers, a good swarm will pack out a 4-footer in the course of a season..........
 

oliver90owner 

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With wooden spoon hat on, I was under the impression that one of the main criteria, after keeping bees 'naturally' (an oxymoron in my book in this context) was the simplicity and adaptability of the beetainer. Any old box with some bars across the top should do to get you going!

Regards, RAB
 

RoofTops 

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Any old box with some bars across the top should do to get you going!
Sides need to be sloping so a simple box is not really any good unless you are going to use frames - but then it becomes a Dartington.

Wooden spoon? I've got one of those too.
 

susbees 

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With wooden spoon hat on, I was under the impression that one of the main criteria, after keeping bees 'naturally' (an oxymoron in my book in this context) was the simplicity and adaptability of the beetainer. Any old box with some bars across the top should do to get you going!

Regards, RAB
Maybe an adaptation of this one? Should keep the flies off. I do partially agree...I use "sustainably". And sloping sides are essential.

 

drstitson 

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TBH - Deal, Kent

Major Beehives and bee-keeping-the-naturalway (ebay) are one and the same. Great young chap in Deal.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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With wooden spoon hat on, I was under the impression that one of the main criteria, after keeping bees 'naturally' (an oxymoron in my book in this context) was the simplicity and adaptability of the beetainer. Any old box with some bars across the top should do to get you going!

Regards, RAB
I am of the same opinion as RAB that (in my view) buying a TBH goes against the gain of its whole ethos, and that they should be made out of previously used /scrap materials.

And I know RAB knows that sides need to be sloping in a TBH, he just referred to "any old box" in a simplistic term.
 

susbees 

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And I know RAB knows that sides need to be sloping in a TBH, he just referred to "any old box" in a simplistic term.
As should any old box with some frames in ;).

The TBH made of local/recycled materials is just one example of a sustainable mindset. There will be lots of very hard lessons to learn in the "developed" world and finding the time and the skills to do something like this is a great start.....and get those winter greens in while you're about it :).
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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I am sorry but I think you are conflating two issues.:bigear: (I love using that word)

My understanding is that the primary reason for using TBH is that they are designed and managed to reduce the stress on honeybees and to improve bee health. If that case, the it should not matter if the hives is hand made from bits from a skip or bought from Harrods.

If you want to live your life sustainably then you should build all your hives from reclaimed wood, not just TBH ones. But the reality is that the majority of people, don't build their own hives, steer away from reclaimed ply hives and plump for ones built from cedar and bought from a supplier. A great many use poly hives which are not in the least sustainable.

Reality is, if TBH are to be more widely used and bees feel less stressed then hives are going to have to be made and supplied ready built to the average beek like me.

At least they are a quarter of the price of a conventional National and made of wood! :party:
 
T

Tom Bick 

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No reason why the beekeeper with a TBH has to be the one to make it. If a chap down the road makes it for the beekeeper then perhaps in an ideal world a barter or trade can take place and failing this then £.

My main point for jumping on the thread is why does the sides have to be sloping on a TBH it seems to me that bees given the choice will set up home in a multitude of shapes if they so fancy.
I am thinking its something to do with restricting the comb to a size and shape so on the few occasions you inspect the comb it is manageable and less likely to fall from the bar.
This is not meant as a side swipe at TBH I am genuinely interested and will try one in due course.
 

Brosville 

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If left to their own devices, bees build comb in a catenary curve, the shape given to the hive by the sloping sides of a Kenyan top bar hive approximate to that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catenary

 
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T

Tom Bick 

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So what is the result Brosville if someone made a TBH with straight sides as apposed to angled. Will the bees still create the curve as in your photo and the resulting gap be a loss of heat or will the bees eventually fill the space and then the comb be to heavy and a risk to handle.
 

Brosville 

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I honestly don't know - it's not something I've tried...... I gather some people favour a "Tanzanian" top bar hive with straight sides - the reasons for the sloped sides I've seen mooted are -
1. Comb is easier to handle and less liable to breaking off
2. The entrance is more protected from rain*
3. There is less 'dead air' around combs
4. Better fit for natural comb
5. Fewer attachments

* in my experience, not to be underestimated as an advantage - with the overhanging roof and sloped-in (out?) "front" it's very well protected - and with central entrances, it'd also take a very good mountaineering mouse to get in too!
 
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RoofTops 

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A top bar enthusiast I know used straight sides initially. The bees stuck comb to it and inspections needed a large knife.

The Kieler mini-mating hive uses top bars and sloping sides and this year on mine the bees only stuck comb to the sides once and then only at one small point. Mini-hives with vertical sides like the Apidea use frames with side bars though usually not bottom bars.

It would be the same with a conventional hive. Use top bars alone and see what fun you would have. Side bars were not invented to use up surplus wood.
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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I think it is to do with the 'bee space'.
The bees build downwards to the 'floor' and when their backs touch the floor they stop. In the case of straight sided hives, they regard the walls as 'not floor' and attach comb to it. In the case of the Kenyan TBH they are building downwards and bump into the sloped walls and think they are 'floor' and so leave a bee space all round the comb. Of course there is always one bee who does not know her up from down and so attaches a bit of comb but I am told this is far less than with the straight sides Top Bar types.
 

oliver90owner 

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And I thought TBH referred to it having top bars as the suspension method for the comb. Don't see anything else which stipulates the actual shape of a tbh. A warre is in effect a 'top bar' hive in that sense but is not really thought of in the context - at least not as a 'natural' response to mention of a tbh.

RAB
 

Brosville 

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A rose by any other name........
My understanding is that (as you say) any hive that uses a top bar instead of frames is in fact a top-bar hive (including Warrés) - general usage tends to refer to a "Kenyan top bar hive" (the sloping sides one) as a "top bar hive" as it's up to now been the most popular of them, certainly in this country.
I suppose that taking it to it's logical extreme, you could refer to any hive just using top bars as one........
 

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