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Re: Newcomer's question about top bar hives

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  • smilodon2000
    I would hesitate to place your top bar hive in any position other than level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct. I
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 1, 2012
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      I would hesitate to place your top bar hive in any position other than level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct. I have two top bar hives and have had no problem with them overwintering but I live in the Puget Sound area and our winter temperatures average in the low 40s. The hives can be insulated. http://www.backyardhive.com/General/General/BackYardHive_Beekeeping_Shop/ will give you an idea what is available. It looks like it would be easy to do it yourself. You'll have to scroll down a ways to find the insulation. Have fun.

      --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, sidesaddle5@... wrote:
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      > I'm new on the list, and have no bees yet--just looking at possibilities and working out how to set myself up come spring.
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      > I've been quite intrigued with the idea of a top bar hive, in that it would seem to be easier to manage (rather than having to lift off one or more heavy supers).  Also, that the bees supposedly don't get as defensive since the beekeeper is only lifting one or two frames at a time, rather than pulling off a super.  So far so good...
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      > However, I've also read that in cold areas such as New England (I'm in N.H.) the vertical Langstroth hive works better with the bees' natural tendency to move upward through the hive as they consume the supply of honey, which also works with the fact that the heat rises...
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      > So my question is this.  Has anyone ever tried building a top bar hive so that it's set at an angle--say 45 degrees?  It would seem as if that might give the best of both methods--allowing the easier access for me, but giving the bees their natural preference for working upwards rather than only horizontally.
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      > Thanks for any comments about this!
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      > Rhonda
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    • Mike S
      ... level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct. It s a novel thought.  If you had the combs hanging vertically, but
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 1, 2012
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        >>> Has anyone ever tried building a top bar hive so that it's set at an angle--say 45 degrees?
        >> I would hesitate to place your top bar hive in any position other than
        level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct.

        It's a novel thought.  If you had the combs hanging vertically, but had the rests at a 45º angle that would slope the hive cavity up the  45º you were wanting.  We get progress through new ideas.  Yours is certainly new.  I think if you were able to keep the combs hanging vertically that what you are suggesting might be worth a try.  Be prepared however to have a convoluted mess on your hands, and possibly the loss of that colony of bees.  But, progress is made through new innovations.   If you can afford to loose the colony I would say to go ahead and give it a try.  The big problem I see is the frame rests and the end bars of the frames.  If you try it, do keep us up to date on what you've done and how things are proceeding.

        Mike in LA
      • sidesaddle5@yahoo.com
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 1, 2012
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          <<I would hesitate to place your top bar hive in any position other than level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct.>>
           
          I see that point... although my thought had been to have the side pieces notched so that the frames (or bars, I guess it actually is) would still hang vertically, just stair-stepped within the chamber itself.
           
          Thanks for the link--I'd seen a top bar hive in Ontario last summer (at a hotel, no less!) and thought it looked like something we could make, but hadn't worked out how to insulate!  We've actually been at above normal temps this winter, but even then we've had a few below-zero nights.
           
          Rhonda

          Sidesaddle Hall of Famer
          Five-time US National Sidesaddle Champion
          ASA Instructor
          SSA A Instructor, Panel Judge (R)
          ARIA Level III Instructor (ss, reining, riding to hounds)
          Author: The Western Sidesaddle, Encyclopaedia of the Sidesaddle, Sidesaddle's Greatest Ideas
           
          American Sidesaddle Association
          The Side Saddle Source
           
          CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message (including all attachments) is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, copying or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

        • Carrie Hardee
          Hi,   I don t understand the advantage of doing this.  It is my understanding that with the Top Bar Hive, the bars must be level.  The angle of the outer
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 1, 2012
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            Hi,
             
            I don't understand the advantage of doing this.  It is my understanding that with the Top Bar Hive, the bars must be level.  The angle of the outer shell shouldn't matter.  Therefore, the bees wouldn't be able to move up for warmth.  However, I'm a pretty new bee owner as well and that may be incorrect.    I've only had my bees for one season now and was going to start with the top bar hive.  I even built one.  However, to my surprise, my husband purchased me a Longstroth Hive, with bees included, so this is all I have currently.  I'm hoping that I can eventurally move some bees to my top bar.  I just like the natural development of the comb.
             
            Best of luck with your bees!  They are a lot of fun!
            Carrie in Florida

            --- On Wed, 2/1/12, sidesaddle5@... <sidesaddle5@...> wrote:

            From: sidesaddle5@... <sidesaddle5@...>
            Subject: Re: [Beekeeping] Re: Newcomer's question about top bar hives
            To: Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 1:00 PM

             
            <<I would hesitate to place your top bar hive in any position other than level. The bees build the combs vertically and an angle might foul up this instinct.>>
             
            I see that point... although my thought had been to have the side pieces notched so that the frames (or bars, I guess it actually is) would still hang vertically, just stair-stepped within the chamber itself.
             
            Thanks for the link--I'd seen a top bar hive in Ontario last summer (at a hotel, no less!) and thought it looked like something we could make, but hadn't worked out how to insulate!  We've actually been at above normal temps this winter, but even then we've had a few below-zero nights.
             
            Rhonda

            Sidesaddle Hall of Famer
            Five-time US National Sidesaddle Champion
            ASA Instructor
            SSA A Instructor, Panel Judge (R)
            ARIA Level III Instructor (ss, reining, riding to hounds)
            Author: The Western Sidesaddle, Encyclopaedia of the Sidesaddle, Sidesaddle's Greatest Ideas
             
            American Sidesaddle Association
            The Side Saddle Source
             
            CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message (including all attachments) is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, copying or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

          • tomzboxathotmaildotcom
            Rhonda, There s no reason to worry about the bees need to go up or down in a top bar hive. They are smart enough little critters to know that when they
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 1, 2012
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              Rhonda,

              There's no reason to worry about the bees' need to go "up" or "down" in a top bar hive. They are smart enough little critters to know that when they live in a horizontal hive they need to go "left" or "right" instead. They handle this just fine.

              The major way to use top bar hives if you desire a vertical configuration is to use Warré hives. They are cubic top bar hives that stack vertically (Yes, this is an oversimplification, OldBeeks, don't be disturbed.) Here is the very best place to learn about Warré hives: <http://www.bee-friendly.co.uk/> .

              You other question about bees being less defensive with top bars is true to some extent. However, in practice I have found with my kTBH hives that the bees stick the top bars down and anchor the combs to the walls so securely that you hardly ever can just lift a single top bar out easily. You need a top bar comb knife <http://warre.biobees.com/cutter.htm> to disengage them. This operation usually requires moving several combs, plus dislodging the top bar by using a hive tool to pry it loose. The bees can become defensive real quick unless you are a zen master beekeeper with perfect movement. <g>

              I have 5 top bars - kTBHs - at the moment and 3 Warrés, plus two Langs which I am keeping in a natural, biodynamic way. The Langs start with open frames which have starter strips along the top, allowing the bees to build to suit their purposes. I "nadir" the supers as in Warré practices, rather than stack them on top. I find that all three types of hives require just about the same amount of "management". But the horizontal TBH hives are definitely less expensive.

              Bees are pretty flexible and forgiving. My old mentor found a colony in a suitcase recently. They seemed to be doing just fine. ;-)

              good luck!

              Tom W.
              Pleasant Hill, OR
              http://awholenotherbeeblog.blogspot.com/
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