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peteinwilts 

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Over the last season I have had a couple of troublesome colony's that refused to use frames and would rather 'just do their own thing', and another very strong colony that just positively refused to move up into a super (even when the qx was removed!)


These colonys 'may' have been better suited to Top Bar Hives.

Does anyone have any tried and tested plans for top bar hives or can lead me to good websites? (I have found a few websites, but are not that great or do not explain themselves that well)

Also, thoughts and opinions would be very welcome.
 

Brosville 

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Well, here's the tried and tested plans - http://farmco.co.uk/tbh.pdf - the "obvious" web forum is the place to go for further help and advice - you'll find them friendly and helpful!

I've used the above plans to build 3 TBHs, and as long as you follow the suggested method, they virtually build themselves.........:coolgleamA:
 

Mike a 

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Why not just make a 10 top bars 35mm wide and place them in a brood chamber or super. Prep each bar with a starter strip of wax / foundation strip before building a full size hive or nuc for them.

Or if you want to build a TBH.



Just make the hive national sized so you can fit your national supers on top.
 

peteinwilts 

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have use used them with bees, and how did you get on??

did you use them for a 'reason' i.e. troublesome bees!

the bees that got me thinking was a swarm i caught. they ignored the comb i had left for them and built their own in the swarm box.

a couple of weeks later, I moved them over 3 miles and moved them to a hive. They immediately absconded and found their way to another of my swarm boxes...

three weeks later, I moved them over three miles and found they had again ignored the comb and just built their own again.
For my pleasure, they stung me 24 times and absconded again. (good riddens to them! :cuss:)

I have a couple of other gentler hives, one that builds wax for fun (fills in the spaces between frames rather than drawing) and another that refuses to enter a super (qx or not!)
These 'may' be good candidates for TBH's

I am sure these are not the last bees that will be troublesome, but in 2011 I want to have another trick up my sleeve...
 

Brosville 

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There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that bees kept in top bar hives are more placid. I have some top bar hives and a Warre, and chose them as part of an attempt to move closer to more natural means of keeping bees - and to avoid wherever possible the use of "chemicals".
It works for me - although I tend to have a lit smoker to hand "just in case", it stays unused, and I can accomplish all I need using either "nothing" or a water spray (gently tell 'em it's raining, rather than yelling "fire") :coolgleamA:
 

Russel 

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There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that bees kept in top bar hives are more placid. I have some top bar hives and a Warre, and chose them as part of an attempt to move closer to more natural means of keeping bees - and to avoid wherever possible the use of "chemicals".
It works for me - although I tend to have a lit smoker to hand "just in case", it stays unused, and I can accomplish all I need using either "nothing" or a water spray (gently tell 'em it's raining, rather than yelling "fire") :coolgleamA:
Although I new to this beekeeping malarkey it always seemed a bit odd that you "panic" them as a means of supposed calming.
 

bemmyboy 

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Hi Mike,
Like your top bar hive, Just built a few tbh's myself,returning to beekeeping again in the new year. Did you build it yourself?

Andy
 

Adam 

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Was the super they wouldn't move into drawn comb, or foundation or starter strips?

Adam
 
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Good for beeswax for polish I am told... and that gets more $$$ than honey!
For natural beeswax polish...
Beeswax + Turps substitute (not white spirit) boil carefully not over an incandescent (open) flame.. turpentine would be better but may make selling price prohibitive.
With a suitable incantation, alone and before midnight...........
stir for a few minutes in an anticlockwise direction( clockwise if in southern hemisphere)
and pour to set in tin, with a few drops of lavender essence... best accomplished on or before a full moon as a waining mood detracts some of the mystesism in the manufacturing process and may curdle the wax.

Oh that spell checker!!!
 

Mike a 

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Hi Mike,
Like your top bar hive, Just built a few tbh's myself,returning to beekeeping again in the new year. Did you build it yourself?

Andy
Took a few hours, sadly never used as I recycled it and made a solar wax melter with some of it. I intend to build another one but slightly different design of doors and National sized.
 

psafloyd 

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Mike a, do you have a plan of your National sized top bar hive? Looks interesting.
 

Mike a 

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Mike a, do you have a plan of your National sized top bar hive? Looks interesting.
My version is not National size as I decided to make it longer to give the colony more space and bars. I kind of made it up from memory as I built it and of course the lack of planning means I made several mistakes.

1. Internal Depth - The space beneath the bars was far to deep almost 2ft. This would of caused a major problem when trying to lift out a single bar as the natural comb would of been extremely fragile plus I would of needed a step ladder to lift the bar out completely. Most common hives are no deeper than 12" for a reason, to allow them to be easily manipulated and to keep the weight of each frame down especially if it is filled with stores plus they have support all the way round the comb. The next one will be no more than 14" deep.

2. Door - The doors had several design flaws, first of all I made mine from several planks of pine jointed together with biscuits and glue this wouldn't of been a problem normally but as it was only fixed by the hinges it warped outwards on both sides even though I treated it with linseed oil and wax. I should of made the doors out of one sheet of wood and the top edge should of been better protected from the rain and secured by more than one latch.

3. Bee Space - Even if I had built mine to National size I didn't consider using a super on it at the time, if you look at the picture I posted earlier in this thread I left a small amount of space above the bars and as a National is bottom spaced this would of left more than one space when a national super was added so the colony would of probably filled this gap with brace comb and probably honey which would of made one hell of a mess when the super needed to be removed.

Another problem I can foresee is if the colony attach a comb to the doors, if they do there is no way of knowing before you try and open the doors if they have build combs on every bar. The only way round this I can think of right now would be to use top bars with side bars matching the slope of the walls or build a straight sided version and use normal frames which kind of defeats the idea of this hive.

I'm sure I would of found more problems if I tried to use it, but as it sat out in my back garden for a year and I never got round to modifying it so I recycling it.

The idea come from another bee keeper so I can not claim any credit for its design. Here is a picture of the original hive which is National sized which I based my version on.



So when I collected a suitable swarm I ended up going with another design.
I've posted a few videos in the video section if you want see more.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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Looks like a Dr Tony Herbert idea Mike.
 
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Mike a 

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Looks like a Dr Tony Herbert idea Mike.
Yep its one of Tony's designs Pete. Should be very simple to make but mine wasn't well thought out before I built it.
 
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Fascinated by the pic of the National sized top bar hive
2 questions

how easy are they to transport ?
what goes in the super... standard frames or topbar "tops"?

I suppose 3!
do the bees move their honey stores into the super, or continue to place stores at end of main top bar hive or have no preference at all?

not trying to get my forum tally up to add credibility to my postings just actually interested. I must admit I get fed up with all out attacks from some of the postees who seem to have their own unmoveable and pigheaded views on all and sundry!
so my most sincere apologies if posting sensible questions about an interesting beek. subject offends...
they do not have to read it afterall!!!
Cheers and keep posting!!!
 

Mike a 

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Fascinated by the pic of the National sized top bar hive
2 questions

how easy are they to transport ?
what goes in the super... standard frames or topbar "tops"?

I suppose 3!
do the bees move their honey stores into the super, or continue to place stores at end of main top bar hive or have no preference at all?
Q1 I wouldn't attempt to move a colony more than a short distance, unless they were packed into a super for the trip. A single comb breaking could kill hundreds of bees and send the colony into a frenzy. If I needed to move a TBH some distance I would transfer the colony in to a travelling box first.

Q2 You could use more top bars with suitable gaps between each bar but I would want to keep it simple and use normal super frames.

Q3 Depends on the design of the hive. If they have plenty of space to expand sideways there is no point putting a super on what ever hive you've using and the chances are they will ignore it anyway. Once the colony has filled the chamber with combs they will expand into a super and start to store the excess in it. I always try to keep all my colonies condensed into a space just a little bit bigger than they need at the time to help them with keeping the space suitably heated. Dummy boards and follower boards are a vital piece of kit and well worth learning how to use them properly to help your colonies.
 

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