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Chris B 

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There are plenty of variables that contribute to the good/bad behaviour of a colony. In no particular order (a la X Factor):

Genetics
Weather
Nectar flow
Queenless/queenright
Colony size
Beekeeper handling skills
Smells
Robbing

But bottom = hive type. I suppose you could argue a TBH beekeeper needs to handle combs delicately or else they break, so perhaps there is an indirect skill element.
 

Poly Hive 

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Personally I would not even list hive type at all. Not unless it was seriously exotic say concrete, and yes it has been tried, and failed as did fibre glass.

PH
 

thurrock bees 

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i run nationals but was given a TBH , lets just say a sold it within 3 months of having it. I didnt like it but feel for people who want the bees more than honey is great.
 

victor meldrew 

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Not all conventional bee keepers are after the honey!

My old friend , never once fed his bees sugar syrup ,he always made sure the bees had enough stores of their own manufacture and always kept a stock of honey for emergencies :).

Yes he kept his bees in an Eastern European styled national hive.
Yes he sold surplus honey .
No his prime objective was the bees not honey sales.
TBH enthusiasts don't have a monopoly on feelings for bees!

John Wilkinson
 

leftofcentre2010 

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If 'difficult' bees worry you...think twice as bees are never guaranteed to be placid and easy...
Oh i have and will keep an open mind until spring. See my other post
"Newbie been put off"


Thanks for all the input folks. Interesting stuff and i like to read comments from both sides.
 

richardbees 

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leftofcentre,

My first thought is not to be so naive.......you don't know how many vids were taken before that one - where they got stung to buggery!

On a perfect June day with a good honey flow I've opened my bees wearing nothing but a pair of shorts... . however we also have to open them in less clement weather when they might not be so good tempered..

Richard
 

TBRNoTB 

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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.


Regards, RAB
Sorry Rab
I knew I should have run my reply past you before posting! But I was only more or less saying hello and that more experienced beeks would be along shortly. What I didn't mention was the Thinking Bee Keeper would be along so quickly to put everyone in their place. Slapped my own wrists to save you the trouble.Rab you need to :chillpill: :chillpill: :chillpill:
Regards, from a contrite
TBRNoTB
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I have been reading up about Top Bar Hives ...
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.
In my view all hives are desinged for the beekeeper, not the bees.

And as for more natural, any hive can be as natural as you want, likewise you can dose a TBH with as many chemicals as you wish..does not make it green.

Find someone local to show you their bees and let that influence you.

And on a final note, I would avoid most non UK type beekeeping advice!
 

leftofcentre2010 

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leftofcentre,

My first thought is not to be so naive.......
A bit harsh mate??

I only commented on the video which clearly shows folks with thier kids unprotected.

Didnt say i was going to take a stroll in my Y-Fronts through my nearest Apiary :willy_nilly:
 

Hombre 

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. . . I only commented on the video which clearly shows folks with thier kids unprotected.

Didnt say i was going to take a stroll in my Y-Fronts through my nearest Apiary :willy_nilly:
I should think not . . . Apart from scaring the bees, have you seen the state of the weather out there just now. Temperature, being temperature, you might crack up the bees with the size of your tackle unless your Y-fronts are thermal lined. :)

I wouldn't be too fast to uncover in the spring. Try no gloves - just for a laugh - as it will break you in relatively safely if you have it wrong. Keep your face covered as being blind to the risks isn't half as bad as being blind from a wayward sting in the eye.

Gain experience before trying to push the standard envelope, so that you know where it's likely to have a bit of give in it. :)

I saw a black and white dog near an apiary suddenly get set upon by bees. Getting it to safety was a bit of a bind as it was keen to hide under the vehicle and wasn't getting much protection from it.
 

nonstandard 

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I wouldn't be too fast to uncover in the spring. Try no gloves - just for a laugh - as it will break you in relatively safely if you have it wrong. Keep your face covered as being blind to the risks isn't half as bad as being blind from a wayward sting in the eye.
One technique someone suggested for gloveless acclimatisation was to use marigolds or surgical gloves and cut say the little fingers off (the gloves ;)) at one inspection and then the third fingers off at the next and so on.

I just tried it one day and took my gloves off, I survived unscathed but took a hit the next time, but I put that down to brewing bad weather. It also teaches you to move your hands more slowly.
 

eric 

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Hi left&centre

Best Thing, which a lot of people have said do a course then do your thing
stop asking which what etc till you do a course then ask.

Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee

:beatdeadhorse5:
 

victor meldrew 

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I just tried it one day and took my gloves off, I survived unscathed but took a hit the next time, but I put that down to brewing bad weather. It also teaches you to move your hands more slowly.
Mistake most people make isn't lifting/replacing frames too quickly , it's reaching across frames too quickly when reaching for another one!.
Quick movements alert the bees whether or not one has anything in ones hands !

John wilkinson
 

madasafish 

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I started using mechanics' clear plastic gloves and then went gloveless. I found I only received about 5 stings all season from my own bees, about 20 from our association's apiary ( some on legs.. now socks over jeans job),

and a few from wasps...

Do nothing in a hurry with bees and when handling the furthest end of a top bar - where you cannot see underneath - be VERY careful. I was stung most in the tips of my fingers by bees I had inadvertently tried to squash...:-(
 

peteinwilts 

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I run nationals and 14x12's. From my limited experience, both have advantages, both have disadvantages.

I will be toying with a couple of TBH's this year.

I have one hive that completely refused to move into a super. Even with no QX and the super sprayed with syrup, they refused to move up, but they were happy to draw foundation or fill blank frames at either end of the hive.

A very aggresive swarm (covered in depth in previous threads), refused to draw foundation and would fill the swarm boxes with comb. They would not stay in a hive (they are someone elses problem now!)

a third hive that I still have would rather chew holes in foundation and build their own comb between the frames than draw the existing.(another ex-swarm) Working with that hive is awful, although the bees are very chilled out!

In my mind, all of the above bees may have prefered a TBH (rather than re-queening). Next year I am setting up a TBH, but also have one or two on standby in case I get other bees that may suit them more...
 

aberreef 

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I've had a TBH and a national for one summer so not the most experienced beek here. However, in my very limited experience the TBH is WAY easier to manage, mainly because the vast majority of the bees are sealed away on their combs so less take to the air. Also far less squished bees on the TBH (clumsy noob).

Both of my hives are pretty chilled but on one miserable day (not the best for inspections I know), I got one sting from the TBH and 6 from the national before I gave up.

I have found that using a clean propolis screen to cover the frames not being manipulated keeps the national hive way calmer.

My honey crop this year was poor. None from the TBH and 3 lbs from the national. Still, they were both building up so didn't expect much until next year.

HTH

Huw
 

victor meldrew 

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Also far less squished bees on the TBH (clumsy noob).Huw
I would have imagined greater potential for "squishing" in a tbh as top bars have no bee space . I have seen photos' of a topbar with cut outs, but thought at the time ,this defeated the whole object ?

John Wilkinson
 

aberreef 

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I would have imagined greater potential for "squishing" in a tbh as top bars have no bee space . I have seen photos' of a topbar with cut outs, but thought at the time ,this defeated the whole object ?

John Wilkinson

When I inspect the TBH I remove one of the empty bars then move them all back as I inspect, that way I'm never trying to fit the comb back through a narrow gap. I can see where the bees are and gently tease them back into the hive (very few leave the comb in any case). When I'm done It's a simple task to slide the whole lot back into place 4-5 bars at a time.

As for bee space to the sides of the comb, the angle of the hive sides coupled with lifting the comb straight up means the bees never come into contact with the walls.

They do tend to make some brace comb onto the hive walls during a good flow but it's easy to cut out of the way (tasty chewing gum, beeks treat:drool5:)
 

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