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leftofcentre2010 

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I have been reading up about Top Bar Hives and ive also watched a few (American) vids on youtube about them.

In my opinion they seem to be a bit more natural and interesting than Standard type Hives. The bees dont seem to get half as aggitated, they are easier to build, nice looking etc.


Anybody any thoughts and/or comments on Top Bar Hives?

Are they suitable in this country? I have read they are more suited to warmer climates.

Cheers

Newbie Andy
 
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Welcome! Not having used top-bar yet, I cannot say really. I had intended to go for one last summer, but read that they weren't ideal for a newbee, Hopefully will try one in the next season...
 

PaleoPerson 

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I had to look after a top bar hive this summer whilst its owner was on holiday.

The TBH requires a different approach to the way you handle the bees and I would recommend to anyone who is considering a TBH (or any other hive come to think of it) is to find someone who is willing to let you have access to one and then make your own mind up.

The TBH is not for me, but could quite as easily be 'your cup of tea'.
 

TBRNoTB 

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TBH or National?

I have been reading up about Top Bar Hives and ive also watched a few (American) vids on youtube about them.

In my opinion they seem to be a bit more natural and interesting than Standard type Hives. The bees dont seem to get half as aggitated, they are easier to build, nice looking etc.


Anybody any thoughts and/or comments on Top Bar Hives?

Are they suitable in this country? I have read they are more suited to warmer climates.

Cheers

Newbie Andy
Hi Andy
In June I hived two swarms, one in a Kenyan Top Bar Hive the other in a standard National brood box. The KTBH eventually built twelve combs, lots of brood, stores etc; the combs they built were very straight allowing easy inspections (I ensured the hive was level length and width ways, using a spirit level) they went into Winter with lots of stores so hoping they will be okay in Spring. The National didn't do as well, very late in drawing out foundation (they were fed as soon as they were hived) eventually drew out foundation and filled with brood and stores. This hive never seemed as 'busy' as the KTBH and is now felling a bit 'light' (fondant already on!) I'm a very new Beek started course's Oct '09 acquired bee's June '10, still doing course's. Undoubtedly many Beeks along shortly who have had TBH's a long time with lots of good advice, for my two pence worth TBH's are 'different' especially if you build in a window, fascinating, as long as your not in it just for the honey.I'm afraid it's horses for courses, lovely clean wax and honey or all the accoutrements of the boxes.:D
Best Regards
TBHRNoTB (Top Bar Hive Or No Top Bar?)
 
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rae 

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It's a box to keep bees in, they won't really care.
 

leftofcentre2010 

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Hmmn. Thanks for all your input

The vids i watched on utube gave me the impression the bees are no way as hostile when it come to inspections etc as you dont have to tear open thier nest so badly. Indeed the utube vids had folks opening up the TBH without any protective gear on. One even had his 3 young kids and the misses with him!!

The Honey aspect isnt so important to me, more the interest, goodness for the environment etc.

Ive already purchased an e b a y-special 2nd hand Standard National but i may put that to one side for a spare whilst i construct a TBH over winter.

All very interesting stuff!
 

xwb 

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I put a large prime swarm in one earlier this year having had my experience entirely in nationals. The TBH did nothing but drive me insane, crossed comb, had to interfere with the bees way more than with the national. But maybe it's because I'm just a disorganised 16-year old... It seems to work for many, but I shall be doing a shook swarm into a national in the spring.

Happy Beekeeping
 
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The vids i watched on utube gave me the impression the bees are no way as hostile when it come to inspections etc as you dont have to tear open thier nest so badly. Indeed the utube vids had folks opening up the TBH without any protective gear on. One even had his 3 young kids and the misses with him!!

True, you can have inspections like that in a National/WBC too...then the next one can be the inspection from hell. NO INSPECTION can be certain to be safe and easy - bees pick up on things we wouldn't even think about! If 'difficult' bees worry you...think twice as bees are never guaranteed to be placid and easy...
 

psafloyd 

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Probably about 5/6 at the moment
The vids i watched on utube gave me the impression the bees are no way as hostile !
Really depends on how you behave from what I understand. If you mess them about, they get annoyed, just like you and me.

How is it the same dog can go for one person yet I can walk up to it and it wants to play. No special powers, just a difference of demeanour and by all accounts that makes a huge difference to temperament, with a caveat for the usual exceptions.

Indeed the utube vids had folks opening up the TBH without any protective gear on.
See the German video of the woman working the poly langs. Amazing.
 

johna 

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Beware the american vids,they're probably working carnolians - dont be tempted to work bees in this country without protection-even carnolians bite in the british climate.
 

oliver90owner 

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Clearly they do care

Let's get this in context. One beekeeper, one year, only two colonies.

I do not have a TBH, but I do run a couple of Dartingtons and maybe a beehaus (next year). They are a half-way house, you might say, between the normal tiered hive and the TBH. Some of my colonies do much better than others. I know that, and I know why.

Yes, manipulations are less intrusive with a single tier hive. The tiered hived bees sometimes do not want their brood nest/hive organisation disturbed, or indeed split in half horizontally. Depends on the strain of bees to a large extent.

The thing is, managed colonies (TBHs or framed hives) are more likely to suffer diseases than natural, or feral, colonies due to the closer neighbouring colonies, and the framed versions are better for checking, although some TBHers will say their system has fewer instances of disease. They may well be the ones with only a couple of hives.

Virtually all colonies are infested with the parasite varroa and a lot/most need treatments/intervention to ensure their survival. Most feral colonies have been killed off by the mite.

Swarming is another issue that some can forget to consider.

Honey surplus can be far greater from tiered hives (Dartingtons are arranged as tiered for just part of the season and could be organised as virtually horizontal hives, if one wanted).

Usually, the beekeeper is a tiered and framed hive beekeeper or a TBH beekeeper. The TBHers tend to claim their ways are superior and often shout loudly about it.

Personally, I subscribe to rae's view. Bees look for a box to live in. Some fare better than others. I like to keep bees and get some return to offset my costs - I certainly don't make any profit from them. I may well try a TBH sometime - not so much different than my Dartingtons, but I might.

The two systems are different, not better or worse, than the other.

Regards, RAB
 

Brosville 

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English video, taken not 20 miles from here........ [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUTyYdCoRSM"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUTyYdCoRSM[/ame]

As for the "national or TBH" question, it's a complex subject that I could rattle on about for pages, but as a TBH user, I'd summarise it as being a choice best made with how you feel about beekeeping - if you aren't out for maximum honey yield, and want a more "laid back" style of beekeeping, then go for the TBH - if you want to go the "conventional route" with loads of inspections, smoke, manipulations and "control" of every aspect, then a national will probably suit you best...

I think that one of the reasons people perceive TBHs as problematical is that they assume it's a "conventional hive", and try to apply similar management techniques - it's different, and needs to be managed differently!
 

jezd 

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bizarre video that, half the bees left in the skep
 

Teebeeaitch 

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Brosville has summed it up really. Its all about the individuals own perspective. I also think that TBH fans generally see the honey yield as way down their list of priorities, and I think this is where the two camps differences start.
 

TBRNoTB 

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It's a box to keep bees in, they won't really care.
Exactly! I was referring to all the baggage that comes with the box type hive's, well most boxes!:)
Regards
TBRNoTB
 

Poly Hive 

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If you believe that the hive type affects the temperament of the bees then you are in for a very nasty shock.

Yet again I say beware beware the North American vids and advice, their climate is totally different to ours and the bees love the high temperatures they enjoy.

It just aint the same situation at all.

PH
 

Brosville 

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from experience go for 4 feet or not far off, bung a good prime swarm in one and they'll fill a 3-footer in no time flat!
 

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