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Teebeeaitch 

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Hello,

Just been looking at a 3-page post on this forum regarding opinions as to the use of TBH’s. However I am unable to find much info on why TBH’s might be less beneficial to the bees than a framed hive. I, m sure this question has probably been discussed previously at some length on here in the past, so I was hoping someone could show me a link to previous posts that will answer my question.

Thanks in advance.
 

jean 

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Hello,

However I am unable to find much info on why TBH’s might be less beneficial to the bees than a framed hive.

Thanks in advance.
They're not less beneficial to the bees. They're less beneficial to certain beekeepers.
 

Rosti 

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Out of interest how do you harvest from a top bar hive? Or must you always harvest complete comb? I have never investigated them as an option.
 

Poly Hive 

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Not sure if that is aimed at me or not.

I don't like the concept as it is un-natural to ask a colony to spread out horizontally, they naturally prefer to work vertically.

However some of the advocates say they are more natural than conventional hives. And debate the matter with as much humility and consideration as the Spanish Inquisition.

PH
 

jean 

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PH, if you're referring to my post, it was not aimed at anyone. Different beekeepers are looking for different things from their beekeeping, and depending on what they're after, they'll find tbh's beneficial or not. Personally, I prefer Dadant hives.
 

DulwichGnome 

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Hi Teebeeaitch, while this forum I believe shows no prejudice against TBH's there is a preference for framed hives and so you might want to have a look at http://www.biobees.com/ for information. However I think there is a lot of cross over in terms of general bee keeping and it's worth going over the topics and reading the posts.

As far as I know harvesting honey from a TBH is done be cutting the comb off the bar and crushing it. It's easier with 'wild' comb as there is not a centre plane of foundation and wire and the wax breaks up a lot finer.

Mike.
 

Brosville 

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It IS a very viable way of keeping bees - if you're all-out for honey production, it's probably not the first choice, as beekeepers using TBH are usually more concerned with other criteria. Rather than impose "our" way of doing things, (comb size) etc, it's essentially giving them a hollow log and saying "you do it your way", usually accompanied by "minimum intervention", and trying to avoid the use of "chemicals" wherever possible, and leaving them enough honey for their own needs during winter.
For some reason beyond my comprehension, some "conventional" beekeepers seem to be driven to the point of apoplexy at the very mention of TBH, and (wrongly) accuse adherents of being some kind of crazed religious nutters......
I speak as I find, and can honestly say that I have received nothing but polite and solicitous help and advice from the "tbh brigade", but have often incurred the ire of "conventional" beekeepers for "daring to be different"
So my advice would be to give it a go, and decide for yourself, the only downside being the intolerance of certain parties........:)
 

Finman 

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If you want to save the globe, top bar is a tool for it. It has everything what a good human needs to raise his ego.
And further more, you must be able to fight against biggest firms in the world. All big is ugly.


And the world's biggest companies are 2009...
1. Royal Dutch Shell
2. Exxon Mobil
3. Wal-Mart Stores
4. BP
5. Chevron
6. Total
7. ConocoPhillips
8. ING Group
9. Sinopec
10. Toyota Motor


.
 
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Brosville 

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you will note the immediate proof of the veracity of my statements!:)
 

jean 

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Rather than impose "our" way of doing things, (comb size) etc, it's essentially giving them a hollow log and saying "you do it your way", usually accompanied by "minimum intervention", and trying to avoid the use of "chemicals" wherever possible, and leaving them enough honey for their own needs during winter.
Hi Brosville. I do all these things, using conventional hives. So, perhaps the philosophy behind it is the same. BUT, what are the advantages of doing it in a TBH rather than a conventional hive? (Except the expense of course.)
Regards
 

Brosville 

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For anyone with back problems or disability, they're dead easy to work on (all at waist level), and there is no heavy lifting at all. As you've alluded, they're dirt cheap to make (and even a klutz like me can build one) - there is a post on another forum showing how to make one from pallet wood "for a dollar".
There are lots of other points, like the fact that a TBH may help natural reversion to smaller cell sizes, which is believed by some to be a good natural way of varroa control, but as you've said, you can use a conventional hive without foundation.
I'm in my first season with a TBH, and I'm extremely pleased so far, it's "doing what it said on the tin", and I've also just populated a Warre hive that is another "top bar" design that gives a "vertical hollow log", and is much more like a "conventional" hive (but may give lifting problems).
I thought long and hard before deciding to go with TBH, and am pleased I did - I'm not a commercial honey-producer, but am extremely concerned about "icides", find the "no bend" of a TBH very useful, and last but not least, so far, setting up for beekeeping has cost around £100 all-in (veil, suit, smoker, 2 home-built hives, and petrol money for local swarm man).
On the "economy" front, I do not anticipate having to invest in devices to extract honey, or any other expensive items (bucket, stick, and old pair of tights will do me........)
It suits me, it may not suit everyone, but for me, it's ideal!:)
 

OXFORDBEE 

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I've no problems with top bar hives. I just hope beekeepers can easily get the bees off the combs when checking for foul brood...
 

jean 

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So, all the benefits you mention are for the beekeeper, and not for the bees?:) Still, if you're enjoying it, that's what counts. Hope all goes well.
 

Teebeeaitch 

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Thank you all for those responses. Poly Hive, I understand that you don’t like the concept of horizontal TBH’s, but as Brosville mentioned, there are vertical TBH’s out there. (e.g. Abbe Warre). Despite not liking the concept, I will have to assume that you are of the opinion that TBH’s are not detrimental to the bees themselves.
Dulwich Gnome, thanks for the info on the Bio Bees link. I have been on that site for some time and I know that most people there are very much into frameless hives. Hence I was asking the question here to get the ‘ view from the other side’ so to speak. Brosville, I note your points regarding benefits for the hive owner and I will assume you also feel that TBH’s are good for the bee. This is pretty much my own view at the moment .I suppose what I am getting at is not so much the type of hive one has, but the way in which it is operated. I accept that many types of hives can be used without frames and foundation, which is my preference. Would anyone be prepared to take this a stage further and explain why they think frames and foundation are of benefit to the bee?
 

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