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Top v bottom bee space

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drex 

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I am just starting my first year of beekeeping. On recommendation from experienced beeks I went for national hives, and got 2 Thorne's budget hives which went together well, and made a good project in the cold weather. However now that I have read more ( including here), it sounds like top space has big advantages over bottom. Having made up the hives to instruction they are bottom space.

Anybody any ideas of easy conversion of Thorne's budget Nationals, to top space. The glue will have well gone off now, so I cannot easily de-construct.
Suggestions please.
 

Finman 

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between inner cover and frames Maximum is 20 mm and minimum 10 mm.
I suggest 20 mm which is standard.


Between bottom board and frames minimum 20 mm and maximum ... there are variations, 5-10 cm.
And slanting boards too.
.
 
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hedgerow pete 

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get some rips of timber , i think its 10mmhigh and 20 wide and stick them on to the tops of you boxs will produce a top bee space , the issue with this is that easy is not best because i have just produced a bigger gap than needed and as so brace comb becomes an issue so you would have to trim the surpless of the bottoms of the hive boxs,but may i suggest that before we start swaing into perfectly good hives we try a season with a bottom be space and see if it is alright for your bee,s

all my hives are bottom bee sppace
 

MrB 

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As you have bottom bee space why not give it a try first instead of modifying your hives.
Who knows, you might like it.
 

rourkie 

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hi Im not sure what the advantages or dis advantages are ,i have kept bee with top and bottom bee space, if you want to change take off frame runners and use a plunge router and fence to take out 6mm deep from the rebate ,you will need to use a chisel in the corners. there should be no nails in the way regards rourkie
 

Poly Hive 

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Top beespace is deff better. It saves time and is easier on the bees.

PH
 

wilderness 

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I modified my National brood boxes to top bee space. I used a router to take 8mm off the rebates. I haven't bothered with the supers
 

drex 

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Thanks all,

I am reassured. I will follow advice and see how it goes, but at least know how to make the change if I do decide further down the road. Good to hear of experienced keepers preferring bottom space, as I was under the impression it was most certainly inferior - no pun intended.
 

oliver90owner 

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Hi drex,

Neither is inferior. it is a matter of preference. Most Nationals are bottom bee space and if bought as top space are usually a bit more expensive (manufacturing numbers game). Langstroths were top bee space as the norm.

Like everyone else (at least nearly everyone else) I started with bottom bee space with Nationals and WBCs, but was soon aware of the alternative option, so apart from my first flat pack hive super which was nailed together all the rest of my boxes were screwed, which allowed a fairly easy change over. After I tried a brood with the top bee space I converted all mine to that format.

The frames are that few mm lower in the box to get them out, but, as you will find out, when putting the boxes back together the bees on the top of the frame bars would be relatively safe from being decapitated with a top space but are not with bottom space.

The crownboard only needs to be a flat sheet (I have put battens on one side of some to prevent warpage) so that is a simplification also.

Routing out the top does not fill in the space at the bottom, but that may be a minor detail.

I dont use castellations in any hive, which might have a bearing on which is preferable. Yes, I tried them and discarded them. I can (instantly) choose frame spacing in supers to suit me and I found removing frames to be so much easier without them.

A lot is preference and experience. I have tried a few different formats in my Nationals over the last 10 years. I am now reasonably settled on 14 x 12, top space and with OMFs. Reasons are space (and swarming), ease of operation and dry wintering (without worrying about too much, or too little, ventilation). Fits in with the Dartingtons as well.

Regards, RAB
 

Onge 

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I have tried Top and Bottom space, for me Top is far superior.

Everything seems simpler with top space. As RAB notes about crown boards putting boxes back on etc.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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I am less experienced than most and have to admit to only ever having bottom bee space but despite trying to understand one advantage over the other I am unable to see one you still have a bee space either at the top or bottom, I am of the conclusion that it is personal choice.
Has it ever being tryed that you have half a bee space both top and bottom and the result of say two supers providing a full beespace?
 

Onge 

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Tom half a bee space would muck up the space on the excluder and the crown board you would have brace comb everywhere.
 

Poly Hive 

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No tom it's snot about personal choice its about bees being below the mating surfaces and so its quicker to operate top bee space as the bees are to a greater extent out the way.

Top is just faster and so the pros prefer it.

PH
 

victor meldrew 

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No tom it's snot about personal choice its about bees being below the mating surfaces and so its quicker to operate top bee space as the bees are to a greater extent out the way.

Top is just faster and so the pros prefer it.

PH
Placing the first super onto the queen excluder of a top bee space hive can trap an awful lot of bees, there being zero bee space between QX and super frame bottoms ??

John Wilkinson (slotted steel qx's in particular)
 

MrB 

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I am less experienced than most and have to admit to only ever having bottom bee space but despite trying to understand one advantage over the other I am unable to see one you still have a bee space either at the top or bottom, I am of the conclusion that it is personal choice.
:iagree:
 

Poly Hive 

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When the newer folks have seen for them selves the difference it becomes obvious.

However as most only see BBS Nats that "seeing" can take a while.

Its like handling short lugged frames, initially it feels very awkward and after a wee while it feels much easier than long lugs.

Each to their own though.

PH
 

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