Top bar to Long Deep question

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
306
Reaction score
106
Location
Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
5
I want to convert my 2 Top bar hives to Horizontal deeps rather than cut them up for firewood before someone suggests that!
This will involve moving the colony into a 14x12 nuc (that I have converted from a TBH nuc already) whilst I modify the TBH.
I'm comfortable with the modifications to the hives but wondering how others would approach the frame change from the small triangular top bar to 14x12 frames and when to do it and how.
I've already got two 14x12 Nationals which is why I thought I should keep with this size frame. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to spin any frames as my extractor won't take them. So maybe I keep the 14x12 frames for brood and use standard national brood frames as honey frames and cut off any free comb off the bottom as chunk. Having said all this maybe they will struggle to provide any excess rather like the TBH! Just a thought.
Advice gratefully received.
 
Thanks both - standard brood frames then. Supers above might be an interesting project!
What about the change over? In the spring when flow on putting top bars in and brood frames with foundation either side and hope they extend down without creating chaos? Or maybe wait and split them them and reunite into the Long hive if that can be done?
 
maybe do it as you would with a TBH, new frames in front and the bees will move to them as they fill the combs in the back with stores - that's if you are being sensible and putting the entrance on the front panel, and not in the middle
 
My long deep hive evolved from initially a kenyan TBH which then got taken apart and remade into a Tanzanian TBH which then morphed into my 14 x 12 LDH. You will probably find it easier to just re-use the timber than try and modify the TBH. You can have three entrances - one in the middle (Which I found worked very well JBM) and then two on opposite sides at the top diagonally opposed. You then have lots of opportunities to fiddle with them and do splits if you wish.

Thye do produce honey - not as much as a conventional hive with supers but it depends what you are looking for. They will store honey in the frames at either end of the brood nest if you have the entrance in the middle ... if you can't extract 14 x 12 frames then use standard nationals as the frames for your stores and block off the space beneath them and above the floor with a block of Kingspan to stop them building free comb in the bottom of the frame. Or better still make it so you can have supers on the top like the Dartington hive.

My LDH is a double wall construction with a core of polystyrene between the inner and outer walls - it's a maassive producer of bees - there are 25 frames in it and I've had 18 frames of brood. You start out with a few frames in there and the remaining space stopped off with division boards then as they expand the brood nest and the frames of store you just move the division boards and add frames between the brood nest and the store frames ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/99514363@N06/albums/72157634865981506
 
Thanks.
I hadn't thought of a block underneath standard frames when needed.
I don't think the Queen travels any further out from the first honey frame they make so I will know when to add it. This way I've got brood reserves on 14x12 in case I need them and the standard brood frames I can spin. I will think about going upwards with supers but my hive like yours has a hinged lid - and it's really heavy!
 
I would take issue with you about the queen and moving and laying beyond the first honey frame. In my first year experience she just keeps going if she wants to!! I can say that my 14 x 12 long hive (made from pallet boards outer with a plywood inner wall) has overwintered best of all my selection and it has an insulated core of a double wall construction. I have also considered making one with a super capacity above the brood but it seems to defeat the object of not lifting supers and also means that the hive overall has to be built higher but it can be done. The best piece of advice is to keep it as simple as possible. If you want to discuss just pm me.
 
Lots of advice given but let me add.
i have run a TBH just for variety in the teaching apiary but found it a poor home for bees in our northern climate. Bees want to form a spherical brood nest to minimise heat loss - I found the TBH is too shallow and so the long shallow brood nest loses heat and so more honey is spent to produce heat and less is stored to be shared between winter stores and me as beekeeper. So if the colony has survived this difficult winter I also will transfer it to a 14x12 long hive, in my case a Dartington hive.
is it really worth reusing the timber of the TBH? Mine is a bought hive and the boards are all warped, how is yours?. A Dartington needs only 4 pieces of 18mm ply and mesh and battens for the frame supports and floor. The cover boards are just 4 pieces of 18mm ply, butted together (no joints). - and then the roof can be anything that keeps rain off - made in two parts so not heavy to take off. Four sturdy legs bolt on, so no stand. (No good for moving to crops but that is heavy labouring that not all beekeepers want to do).
I have recently come to the view that the bees want to make a nest 18 ins deep, with stores always over the brood - so the first level of supers over 14x12 combs is for the bees and not for removal for extraction. Dartington supers - honeyboxes - are half length so light to lift - and can be simply slid and stacked over the rear of the long box when the nest at the front is inspected.
To test this theory that bees do best in an 18ins deep nest, I have made or converted three long deep hives to take foundationless frames 18ins deep. So far, all three seem to have wintered better than the 12 inch deep long hives, judged by the number of flyers.
If you - or anyone else - cares to come to north Hertfordshire I have a dozen well-loved Dartington hives that can be borrowed to save having to lay out money for a trial of a long deep supered hive . And a visit gives time for explanation of the system and seeing bees in long hives using standard frames, deep frames and the new extra-deep frames. The standard frames used as ‘double brood’ provide a 18ins deep nest of course, so in fact beekeepers have been using 18in deep nests for a long time. All that is new is the full depth is available to the bees without need to bridge the topbar/bee space/bottom bar in a double brood arrangement. Just a thought for you if you are moving on from your top-bar hives.
 
Are any if your long deep hives on solid floors?
No, not since mesh floors were introduced for varroa control - now less important as varooa have reduced so much in virility - now useful as the pattern of debris sows where brood is emerging without need to invade the nest above - and important for ventilation in winter - and likely to be helpful some time in the near future as a hornet trap can be added below a mesh floor which we may find necessary when asian hornets become established
Also bees keep mesh flors absolutely clean, whereas the old solid floors had to be changed in spring as they were covered in debris stuck down by damp.
 
No, not since mesh floors were introduced for varroa control - now less important as varooa have reduced so much in virility - now useful as the pattern of debris sows where brood is emerging without need to invade the nest above - and important for ventilation in winter - and likely to be helpful some time in the near future as a hornet trap can be added below a mesh floor which we may find necessary when asian hornets become established
Also bees keep mesh flors absolutely clean, whereas the old solid floors had to be changed in spring as they were covered in debris stuck down by damp.
I run 14x12 wood and poly. Half of them are on solid floors with underfloor entrances a third of the way back and that’s not my experience at all. All the floors are clean and bone dry
 
..................... I have recently come to the view that the bees want to make a nest 18 ins deep, with stores always over the brood - so the first level of supers over 14x12 combs is for the bees and not for removal for extraction. Dartington supers - honeyboxes - are half length so light to lift - and can be simply slid and stacked over the rear of the long box when the nest at the front is inspected.
To test this theory that bees do best in an 18ins deep nest, I have made or converted three long deep hives to take foundationless frames 18ins deep. So far, all three seem to have wintered better than the 12 inch deep long hives, judged by the number of flyers.
If you - or anyone else - cares to come to north Hertfordshire I have a dozen well-loved Dartington hives that can be borrowed to save having to lay out money for a trial of a long deep supered hive . And a visit gives time for explanation of the system and seeing bees in long hives using standard frames, deep frames and the new extra-deep frames. The standard frames used as ‘double brood’ provide a 18ins deep nest of course, so in fact beekeepers have been using 18in deep nests for a long time. All that is new is the full depth is available to the bees without need to bridge the topbar/bee space/bottom bar in a double brood arrangement. Just a thought for you if you are moving on from your top-bar hives.
I run some long deep hives with 41cm/16inch deep foundationless frames but only 31cm/12inch wide (essentially dadant sized turned on end). Bees overwinter very well indeed on them - as you pointed out no need to "bridge the gap" as in double brood. I do keep them on half OMF for ventilation reasons as I only give them a small 12-15mm entrance most of the year which I can 'expand' to around 50mm when a good flow commences. So far the tendency for swarming with so much space has been a non issue,
 
Thank you, guys. I have been helping with a tbh and found that they've not been doing well. I'd always wondered about them in our cold climate because they are so shallow. The long deep seems a much better alternative.
 
Thank you, guys. I have been helping with a tbh and found that they've not been doing well. I'd always wondered about them in our cold climate because they are so shallow. The long deep seems a much better alternative.
My long hives are well insulated, 80mm celotex/kingspan sandwiched between 22mm larch.(cos thats what was in the skip)
Long hives don't generally seem to produce as much honey as vertical stacks. I experimented last year with one by mounting an standard super of foundation on top during a flow. The super was full and capped the following week. So I repeated it and had the same result but over a longer period as the main flow was ending. Of course the supers were on top of a very strong colony covering around 15 of the frames I use.
 
I'd always wondered about them in our cold climate
the 'Kenyan' top bar hive was designed by Eva Crane and Peter Paterson for use in Africa (funnily enough) and was loosely based on rudimentary traditional 'top bar' hives that Eva had seen on her travels.
 
My long hives are well insulated, 80mm celotex/kingspan sandwiched between 22mm larch.(cos thats what was in the skip)
Long hives don't generally seem to produce as much honey as vertical stacks. I experimented last year with one by mounting an standard super of foundation on top during a flow. The super was full and capped the following week. So I repeated it and had the same result but over a longer period as the main flow was ending. Of course the supers were on top of a very strong colony covering around 15 of the frames I use.
I do think that you do need to add supers to long deep hives if you want to maximise the crop from the main flow. The reason I believe is that quickly increases the acessible empty comb. The store frames in a LDH are behind the brood if the entrance is at one end - so an extra two or so would have to be drawn out say 5 frames away horizontally from the brood. Adding a super enables the extra storage space to be drawn out immediately above the brood, next to where the young bees are and within the flow of warm air rising from the brood. So in my view, two or three deep frames are fine for the minor flows in Spring, when in my locality most nectar is used to expand the brood, but the main Summer flow is best stored in supers. Bees will top up the deep frames already built out, so the supers can be harvested, leaving enough stores in deep frames for winter.
 
a myth - they do nothing for varroa control
True that OMF do not reduce vr sufficiently to be a control. but what they do do is enable monitoring the fall of varroa onto a board slid in below, which can detect when varroa numbers leap up due to robing a diseased hive elsewhere. . The lines of fallen brood cappings also show where the brood frames are - and in winter, when cappings stop being dropped, reveal when it is time to apply oxalylic acid as the control.
 
the 'Kenyan' top bar hive was designed by Eva Crane and Peter Paterson for use in Africa (funnily enough) and was loosely based on rudimentary traditional 'top bar' hives that Eva had seen on her travels.
Yes. An African hive needs to throw off excess heat. A UK hive needs to conserve heat almost all year.
I think it is a pity that TBH have been promoted so much to beginners on grounds of simplicity and low cost. Deeper long hives are also simple and easy to construct at home.
 

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