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Finally decided to build a topbar hive

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  • Jancie
    Well this year has been tumoltous at best. My promised 6 additional hours a week at work never came thru, so I could not purchase any beekeeping equipment
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 3, 2009
      Well this year has been tumoltous at best. My promised 6 additional hours a week at work never came thru, so I could not purchase any beekeeping equipment this year. Was really bummed till a person in the local beekeepers association (here in NE TN) sent me a link to a recent article in Mother Earth news about top bar hives. I read it and downloaded the free plans. I certainly have the lumber needed, and can use basic wood working tools, so I decided why not.

      Of course It will be next year before I get any bees for the hive, but I am building it as I email. The glue for 1 side is setting up and the boards for that side are clamped. Tomorrow I will do the other long side. I decided on a 3' long tb hive. When it is all said and done, I will probably have spent about $20 for the wood for the hive, the legs, the frames, roof and top. I will have spent about 2 hours cutting various boards to dimmensions I need to make this work and a few dollars for beeswax to help get them started.

      I am once again excited about beekeeping because here is a way I can afford to get back into it. I will put my name on the local agriculture department list for swarm removal or perhaps get a package or attempt to lure a swarm. So the only real expense I will have is for the suit, hat, gloves etc. I already have a hive tool and will also need a smoker of course.

      The other nice thing about building ones own hive is that I can put a window in it to see what the bees are doing without having to open the hove box to inspect. What I mean is that I can see how many frames they are on and have drawn comb to. I can see if they need the follower boards moved to allow for more expansion. I am also wondering if I could build one of the follower boards with a queen excluder into it so that the workers could draw it out, fill it with honey and I would not have to worry about killing baby bee eggs when harvesting off the hive.

      Ah the beauties of trying to design something that will work for both me and the bees.

      Hope everyones harvest was a good one.
    • Randy Eckert
      could you post that link ... please. ... From: Jancie Subject: [Beekeeping] Finally decided to build a topbar hive To:
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 3, 2009

        could you post that link ... please.


        --- On Sat, 10/3/09, Jancie <janice_hamilton@...> wrote:

        From: Jancie <janice_hamilton@...>
        Subject: [Beekeeping] Finally decided to build a topbar hive
        To: Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009, 6:43 PM

         

        Well this year has been tumoltous at best. My promised 6 additional hours a week at work never came thru, so I could not purchase any beekeeping equipment this year. Was really bummed till a person in the local beekeepers association (here in NE TN) sent me a link to a recent article in Mother Earth news about top bar hives. I read it and downloaded the free plans. I certainly have the lumber needed, and can use basic wood working tools, so I decided why not.

        Of course It will be next year before I get any bees for the hive, but I am building it as I email. The glue for 1 side is setting up and the boards for that side are clamped. Tomorrow I will do the other long side. I decided on a 3' long tb hive. When it is all said and done, I will probably have spent about $20 for the wood for the hive, the legs, the frames, roof and top. I will have spent about 2 hours cutting various boards to dimmensions I need to make this work and a few dollars for beeswax to help get them started.

        I am once again excited about beekeeping because here is a way I can afford to get back into it. I will put my name on the local agriculture department list for swarm removal or perhaps get a package or attempt to lure a swarm. So the only real expense I will have is for the suit, hat, gloves etc. I already have a hive tool and will also need a smoker of course.

        The other nice thing about building ones own hive is that I can put a window in it to see what the bees are doing without having to open the hove box to inspect. What I mean is that I can see how many frames they are on and have drawn comb to. I can see if they need the follower boards moved to allow for more expansion. I am also wondering if I could build one of the follower boards with a queen excluder into it so that the workers could draw it out, fill it with honey and I would not have to worry about killing baby bee eggs when harvesting off the hive.

        Ah the beauties of trying to design something that will work for both me and the bees.

        Hope everyones harvest was a good one.

      • Jancie
        This appeared in the latest edition of www.motherearthnews.com or you can also get it by going directly to www.biobees.com The printout is about 40 pages long,
        Message 3 of 10 , Oct 3, 2009
          This appeared in the latest edition of www.motherearthnews.com or you can also get it by going directly to www.biobees.com

          The printout is about 40 pages long, but the photos are great and the text is pretty darn clear on how to do it. The only things I still question is exactly why you need follower boards. Yes I know the stock answer will be to open or close up the amount of hive space available to the bees. But after they have drawn the comb and filled it with whatever-larva, honey they need access to it. And if they have honey on it they will need access to it for winter food. So the only benefit I see is when getting them first hived in the darn thing. I guess this is one of those "wait and see". One of the local beekeepers here in NE Tenn. built one earlier this year, and has told me to expect way lower honey production and more in the way of wax to recycle-because when you harvest the honey the comb is too fragile to put in a extractor, so you must crush and strain it, leaving all that wax to be remelted for future use.

          The thing I was not sure of till I looked at these plans was if the bars were removeable. Where I live there are mandatory apiary inspections, so you must keep bees in a hive with removeable bars, which top bar does have.

          The other thing with a topbar hive as I have come to find out is you can build it out of anything you have lying around. Have drum barrels, make one from that by cutting it in half. As long as you can close off certain areas (to restrict the size of the hive) it will work. Just how you build the hive or "follower boards" is up to you. I also notice some people put roofs on theirs, others don't. The top bars can double as roofing as well.

          Good luck with your project.

          --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Randy Eckert <redearthbonsai@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > could you post that link ... please.
          >
          >
          > --- On Sat, 10/3/09, Jancie <janice_hamilton@...> wrote:
          >
          > From: Jancie <janice_hamilton@...>
          > Subject: [Beekeeping] Finally decided to build a topbar hive
          > To: Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com
          > Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009, 6:43 PM
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >  
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Well this year has been tumoltous at best. My promised 6 additional hours a week at work never came thru, so I could not purchase any beekeeping equipment this year. Was really bummed till a person in the local beekeepers association (here in NE TN) sent me a link to a recent article in Mother Earth news about top bar hives. I read it and downloaded the free plans. I certainly have the lumber needed, and can use basic wood working tools, so I decided why not.
          >
          >
          >
          > Of course It will be next year before I get any bees for the hive, but I am building it as I email. The glue for 1 side is setting up and the boards for that side are clamped. Tomorrow I will do the other long side. I decided on a 3' long tb hive. When it is all said and done, I will probably have spent about $20 for the wood for the hive, the legs, the frames, roof and top. I will have spent about 2 hours cutting various boards to dimmensions I need to make this work and a few dollars for beeswax to help get them started.
          >
          >
          >
          > I am once again excited about beekeeping because here is a way I can afford to get back into it. I will put my name on the local agriculture department list for swarm removal or perhaps get a package or attempt to lure a swarm. So the only real expense I will have is for the suit, hat, gloves etc. I already have a hive tool and will also need a smoker of course.
          >
          >
          >
          > The other nice thing about building ones own hive is that I can put a window in it to see what the bees are doing without having to open the hove box to inspect. What I mean is that I can see how many frames they are on and have drawn comb to. I can see if they need the follower boards moved to allow for more expansion. I am also wondering if I could build one of the follower boards with a queen excluder into it so that the workers could draw it out, fill it with honey and I would not have to worry about killing baby bee eggs when harvesting off the hive.
          >
          >
          >
          > Ah the beauties of trying to design something that will work for both me and the bees.
          >
          >
          >
          > Hope everyones harvest was a good one.
          >
        • Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
          ... Is it to close off excess area during the winter so the bees don t have to keep it warm? I was watching a YouTube video last night with a guy doing his
          Message 4 of 10 , Oct 3, 2009
            Jancie:
            >The only things I still question is exactly
            >why you need follower boards. Yes I know the stock answer will be to open or
            >close up the amount of hive space available to the bees. But after they have
            >drawn the comb and filled it with whatever-larva, honey they need
            >access to it.
            >And if they have honey on it they will need access to it for winter
            >food. So the
            >only benefit I see is when getting them first hived in the darn thing.

            Is it to close off excess area during the winter so the bees don't
            have to keep it warm? I was watching a YouTube video last night
            with a guy doing his "Spring inspection" (in February, in TX) of his
            TBH and the bees had only built up about 10 of the 25 or so bars.



            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
            Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
            elsietee AT foothill DOT net
            Repotted english person in the Sierra foothills, CA
            * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
          • tomzboxathotmaildotcom
            ... Yeah, I have 3 thriving kTBHs and 3 struggling Warres as of this weekend. All were populated with captured swarms between April and June. In my kTBHs the
            Message 5 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
              --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Lucy Chaplin Trumbull <elsietee@...> wrote:

              > Is it to close off excess area during the winter so the bees don't
              > have to keep it warm? I was watching a YouTube video last night
              > with a guy doing his "Spring inspection" (in February, in TX) of his
              > TBH and the bees had only built up about 10 of the 25 or so bars.


              Yeah, I have 3 thriving kTBHs and 3 struggling Warres as of this weekend. All were populated with captured swarms between April and June. In my kTBHs the bees have to date generally occupied about 1/2 to 2/3 of the top bars, which I'm thinking is pretty good for new occupants who started from scratch. I'm carefully monitoring right now to see if I'm going to have to resort to winter feeding.

              I've used the follower boards for a lot of things. I built a feeder slot in some of them so I can keep the feeders inside the hive and still access it without disturbing the bees too much. I used the follower board to isolate some top bars for a day while I corrected crooked combs and rearranged things. I used it to initially combine two small swarms. (although that effort didn't work well for other reasons) I'm planing to use follower boards next year to produce splits should my colonies finally fill the hives. And of course, I'm just about to start reducing the volume inside the hive for winter.

              Hey, there is a pretty good Yahoo group dedicated to top bar hives: <http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive/> You probably don't even have to join the group to see the links to several very good sites with lots of TBH info.

              best,
              Tom Warren
              Pleasant Hill, OR
            • tomzboxathotmaildotcom
              What the heck, while I m filling up you guy s bandwidth, I might as well post my meager collection of Top Bar Hive links:
              Message 6 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
                What the heck, while I'm filling up you guy's bandwidth, I might as well post my meager collection of Top Bar Hive links:

                <http://www.outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/index.htm> â€" comprehensive, major source
                <http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/tromp/> - info & construction
                <http://www.top-bar-hive.com/> --- Info, construction, blog & links
                <http://www.top-bar-hive.com/my-beehive/searching-for-the-right-top-bar-hive-design/> -- designs
                <http://www.cornwallhoney.com/beekeeping-supplies.htm> =-- Cornwall TBH, supplies, info
                <http://topbarbees.wordpress.com/> -- TBH blog, plans, etc.
                <http://beeanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/01/building-tbh.html> â€" TBH construction, plans, blog
                <http://www.pcela.co.yu/tbhrusty1.htm> â€" Interesting Yugo TBH plans
                <http://www.bwrangler.com/> -- TBH and other hives, Bee Wrangler
                <http://anarchyapiaries.org/> - Anarchy home page, lotsa TBH stuff
                <http://anarchyapiaries.org/hivetools/> - article
                <http://hirschbachapiary.com/default.aspx> â€" philosophy, general info and how tos, link to forum
                <http://top-bar-beekeeping.wikidot.com/start> â€" sustainable beekeeping wiki
                <http://thecommunityvoice.com/articles/2008/06/06/home_and_garden/doc4848552a37cd2406892009.prt> â€" the Melissa Garden, not a TBH but interesting anyway
                <http://www.themelissagarden.com/beekeeping.htm> â€" Golden Hive, holistic beekeeping, Melissa Garden Home

                hope you all find them useful. If not, the delete button is right up there <g>

                best,
                tom
              • Peggy Willenberg
                There is a nice article about top bar hives in this month s Mother Earth News. ... From: tomzboxathotmaildotcom To:
                Message 7 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
                  There is a nice article about top bar hives in this month's Mother Earth
                  News.
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "tomzboxathotmaildotcom" <tomzbox@...>
                  To: <Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2009 12:19 PM
                  Subject: [Beekeeping] Re: link for top bar beehive plans


                  What the heck, while I'm filling up you guy's bandwidth, I might as well
                  post my meager collection of Top Bar Hive links:

                  <http://www.outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/index.htm> â?" comprehensive, major
                  source
                  <http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/tromp/> - info & construction
                  <http://www.top-bar-hive.com/> --- Info, construction, blog & links
                  <http://www.top-bar-hive.com/my-beehive/searching-for-the-right-top-bar-hive-design/>
                  -- designs
                  <http://www.cornwallhoney.com/beekeeping-supplies.htm> =-- Cornwall TBH,
                  supplies, info
                  <http://topbarbees.wordpress.com/> -- TBH blog, plans, etc.
                  <http://beeanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/01/building-tbh.html> â?" TBH
                  construction, plans, blog
                  <http://www.pcela.co.yu/tbhrusty1.htm> â?" Interesting Yugo TBH plans
                  <http://www.bwrangler.com/> -- TBH and other hives, Bee Wrangler
                  <http://anarchyapiaries.org/> - Anarchy home page, lotsa TBH stuff
                  <http://anarchyapiaries.org/hivetools/> - article
                  <http://hirschbachapiary.com/default.aspx> â?" philosophy, general info and
                  how tos, link to forum
                  <http://top-bar-beekeeping.wikidot.com/start> â?" sustainable beekeeping
                  wiki
                  <http://thecommunityvoice.com/articles/2008/06/06/home_and_garden/doc4848552a37cd2406892009.prt>
                  â?" the Melissa Garden, not a TBH but interesting anyway
                  <http://www.themelissagarden.com/beekeeping.htm> â?" Golden Hive, holistic
                  beekeeping, Melissa Garden Home

                  hope you all find them useful. If not, the delete button is right up there
                  <g>

                  best,
                  tom




                  ------------------------------------

                  Yahoo! Groups Links
                • terraview2
                  ... WHy d you think the Warre s are struggling? is the location just not as good as the TBHs? or...? ... There s a thread over on Beemaster.com where just this
                  Message 8 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
                    "tomzboxathotmaildotcom" <tomzbox@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Yeah, I have 3 thriving kTBHs and 3 struggling Warres
                    > as of this weekend.

                    WHy d'you think the Warre's are struggling? is the
                    location just not as good as the TBHs? or...?

                    > I've used the follower boards for a lot of things...

                    There's a thread over on Beemaster.com where just
                    this was discussed: closing off the hive for warmth,
                    to use a feeder inside the hive, to allow for top
                    bar expansion and contraction while still keeping
                    everything tight...


                    > to isolate some top bars for a day while I corrected
                    > crooked combs...

                    how did you correct the crooked combs?

                    >> Hey, there is a pretty good Yahoo group dedicated to top bar hives: <http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive/>...<<

                    Thanks for this, and also the list of links.

                    --
                    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
                    Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
                    elsietee AT foothill DOT net
                    Repotted english person in the Sierra foothills, CA
                    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
                  • OOWONBS@Netscape.net
                    Here is a stacked top bar list and a more typical trapezoidal/kenyan list. And both have plans in files. My list is under construction. BillSF9c
                    Message 9 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
                      Here is a stacked top bar list and a more typical trapezoidal/kenyan list.
                      And both have plans in files.

                      My list is under construction.

                      BillSF9c

                      http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/warrebeekeeping

                      http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/warrebeekeeping/files/Plans/



                      http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive/

                      http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive/files/


                    • tomzboxathotmaildotcom
                      ... It s all Newbeek inexperience and ignorance on my part. I messed with the Warres alot more, moving them, restacking the boxes, opening them up and taking
                      Message 10 of 10 , Oct 4, 2009
                        --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, "terraview2" <elsietee@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > WHy d'you think the Warre's are struggling? is the
                        > location just not as good as the TBHs? or...?

                        It's all Newbeek inexperience and ignorance on my part. I 'messed' with the Warres alot more, moving them, restacking the boxes, opening them up and taking stuff out. One set o' bees absconded, the other two kinda were slow to settle in and start building combs; they spent a long time just clustered against one wall of the hive. I was more adept with my earlier kTBHs, leaving them well enough alone as much as possible. (observation windows helped)

                        >
                        > how did you correct the crooked combs?

                        Took 'em out, brushed bees back into hive, then sliced the twisted parts of the comb away from the top bars and straightened out what I could, tied them back to the top bars with some twine.

                        > Thanks for this, and also the list of links.
                        Sure. You're welcome.

                        best,
                        tom
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