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Winter Preperation for a TBH

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aberreef 

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What preperations do other Top Bar Hivers carry out for winter?

So far I've not fed yet because they are still bringing in nectar and filling the brood area nicely. I'll be treating with apistan in the autumn and then oxalic arround christmas time.

I'm planning on reducing the brood area by removing any comb that the bees aren't on and closing in with the follower board. Should I insulate the empty space somehow?

The whole bottom of my hive is open mesh. Should I insulate this somehow?

Cheers

Huw
 

Teebeeaitch 

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Why feed at all. If you have not robbed them blind they wont need feeding so leave them to it. I agree with removing unused top bars and reducing the area by moving in the followers. I personally do not insulate the space between followers and hive ends, that is assuming you have solid wood construction and not ply. I have a hinged bottom board that comes up over the OMF for winter. However, I do not close off completley but leave it slightly open for low level trickle ventilation.

PS. Oh yes ...throw away the Apistan and the oxalic. (tin hat now on)
 

drstitson 

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TBH and winter

OMFs are meant to be kept open aren't they - keeps the hive well ventilated - damp cold is what does for bees.

unless anyone has any better ideas i'd fill the space behind the follower board with a bin bag full of polystyrene packing "beans".
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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Fit a bottom board on hinges that you could close up during the worst of the weather. Not too closely fitting to avoid condensation problems.
Have you done a stores check to make sure that they have enough to get them through the winter? If not you could fit an entrance feeder through an old follower board and give them some extra reserves.
 

Brosville 

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"Apistan" - Fluvalinate, the synthetic chemical to which much of the UK bee population's mites are now immune, which is also under suspicion as being part of the "perfect storm" causing CCD in the US?
Not with the proverbial ten-foot bargepole!
My suggestion would be to do some mite drop counts, and treat as appropriate using icing sugar (or if you really must, something like one of the thymol preparations - perhaps Hivemaker's recipe)
Last winter, no feeding, my TBH had one prophylactic dusting with icing sugar in early autumn, I removed any empty top bars, tied the roof down in case of storms, closed the cover over the open mesh floor, and walked away.......
They sailed through last winter, and produced a splendid prime swarm earlier in the year, which is now housed in the TBH's twin...........
 

aberreef 

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Thanks for all the quick replies:hurray:

Why feed at all. If you have not robbed them blind they wont need feeding so leave them to it. I agree with removing unused top bars and reducing the area by moving in the followers. I personally do not insulate the space between followers and hive ends, that is assuming you have solid wood construction and not ply. I have a hinged bottom board that comes up over the OMF for winter. However, I do not close off completley but leave it slightly open for low level trickle ventilation.

PS. Oh yes ...throw away the Apistan and the oxalic. (tin hat now on)
Not robbed them blind, the little horrors haven't put any honey where I can get at it, it's all either in old brood comb or above brood:banghead:. Total honey from this hive this year = 0. Nothing. Ziltch. Not one drop. :cuss:. They are storing a good amount though, the extra feed would just be a precaution I think.

This is my first year with bees so am a bit paranoid of them dying over winter. I can't see the wife letting me buy replacements if I lose the colony, not with how much I've spent this year:leaving:

"Apistan" - Fluvalinate, the synthetic chemical to which much of the UK bee population's mites are now immune, which is also under suspicion as being part of the "perfect storm" causing CCD in the US?
Not with the proverbial ten-foot bargepole!
Bugger! I went for this over thymol because it seemed so easy to apply. If immunity is well documented why have the manufacturers not changed the recipe:banghead::banghead::banghead:
 

Black Comb 

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Thanks for all the quick replies:hurray:
Apistan

Bugger! I went for this over thymol because it seemed so easy to apply. If immunity is well documented why have the manufacturers not changed the recipe:banghead::banghead::banghead:
That's why most people use Apiguard now.
 

Stiffy 

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Thanks for all the quick replies:hurray:






Bugger! I went for this over thymol because it seemed so easy to apply. If immunity is well documented why have the manufacturers not changed the recipe:banghead::banghead::banghead:
Apiguard couldnt be easier, close up hive, floor and entrance, open carton and place above brood. Change in two weeks.....done.

A beek close to me was using apistan last year and lost a lot of his hives over the winter.

Rather smuggly I was lucky enough not to lose any and just made sure they were treated in autumn, had enough stores and oxalic acid as a Christmas present. They went off really well in the spring and produced a good amount of honey.
That is apart from my Carnies they spent the year producing bees and trying to swarm. They have all now been replaced with AMM!

Cheers
S
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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I have found three methods of feeding so far
1) Station feeder a la chicken waterer
2) frame feeder type A: triangular frame filled with a mesh type B: a box with a float mounted on the side of a follower board
3) entrance feeder poked through a hole in a follower board

What is your method?
 

Polyanwood 

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I use these...

Contact Feeder.. like a bucket with mesh on top

Rapid feeder.. a doughnut shaped trough with a lid and a cup on top of the cente where the bees crawl up

Fondant ... but it from the baker... or sugar/ pollen patties like Nectapol .... put it on in plastic bags

Cappings with extracted honey.. I put it on in small batches in take away containers
 

aberreef 

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I have found three methods of feeding so far
1) Station feeder a la chicken waterer
2) frame feeder type A: triangular frame filled with a mesh type B: a box with a float mounted on the side of a follower board
3) entrance feeder poked through a hole in a follower board

What is your method?

I tie a large jam jar with holes in the lid (covered with muslin) upside down at the back of the hive. I've just bought a contact feeder so will do the same with this:coolgleamA:
 

aberreef 

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I checked on the varroa drop on my national hive yesterday following 5 days of Apistan. It's gone from 0 to about 200 so no resistance in my area thankfully:D

Not bad considering I've not seen any sign of mites in this hive since buying it
 

Finman 

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What preperations do other Top Bar Hivers carry out for winter?

So far I've not fed yet because they are still bringing in nectar and filling the brood area nicely.
I'll be treating with apistan in the autumn and then oxalic arround christmas time.

I'm planning on reducing the brood area by removing any comb that the bees aren't on and closing in with the follower board.
Should I insulate the empty space somehow?

The whole bottom of my hive is open mesh. Should I insulate this somehow?

Cheers

Huw
When you do that list it is very correct.
 

Brosville 

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From the leading exponent, supporter and user of top bar hives in England at the moment.........
 

Gardenbees 

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Top bar hives are cosy for bees and a big colony should be Ok over winter with the mesh floor uncovered. I guess feeding and treating is something you just have to make a personal decision about. I certainly wouldn't want to risk losing my bees. My new nuc does need some feeding, but I wouldn't normally if they'd had a chance to build up stores.

I used Apilife var this year, as I wasn't sure about the varroa status of my new bees (quite a few mites came off them, so it was probably worth it). I will however try to not treat next year except for icing sugar, unless there seems to be a severe varroa problem. The thymol isn't the worst treatment, but it does upset the bees and one of my colonies dwindled slightly as the queen stopped laying for several weeks. They've since picked up, but it was an anxious time for a while.

For feeding in the long (top bar) hive I built a large frame feeder out of scrap wood and polycarbonate. It fits snugly into the hive and has a beeswax coated wooden float in it to prevent the bees drowning. No dead bees so far, and it's easy to keep tabs on because the sides are transparent. They did well in August, but had demolished most of their stores during this month, so they did definitely need some food. They hoovered up four pints in two days, which is quite peckish for a small colony...
 

aberreef 

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Thanks for the replies and reassurance:hurray:

The queen in the tbh has slowed her laying considerably. There's still a nice tight area of brood but this is WAY smaller than it has been.

The national hive still has a much bigger area of sealed brood and a few unsealed larvae which is either because the queen is a few months younger or the hive gets more sun.

Both hives have some natural stores but the weather has been hit and miss lately so they have used quite a bit. Therefore I've fed 5 pints of syrup to each hive so far and will continue until each has plenty stored for winter:cheers2:
 
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