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1599Re: [TopHive] Top Bar Hives and the State of Florida

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  • Michael Vanecek
    Apr 9, 2009
      TTBH hives are often made wide and deep enough to take a deep frame.
      They'll work fine with just top-bars. BUT, they're too short. 10 frames
      will fill up in no time and suddenly you've got swarming and no honey.
      The best way to go with that is a long-hive of about 50 top-bars and a
      follower-board. That way the hive can expand as it needs. A mature and
      healthy hive can fill 5 deeps easily after a couple of years, especially
      down south. Up north it may be different tho - so your mileage may vary.
      Also, give Warre a consideration, especially if further north. It's a
      vertical TBH and has the benefit of allowing the mass to move up and
      down in the hive with temperature changes and food availability, where a
      long hive restricts the bees to a narrower horizontal range that has
      little temperature latitude. Not a critical thing for the most part tho
      - plenty of Northerners keeping long hives just fine. In Africa, long
      hives are popular for yet another reason - it's easy to hang them from a
      thick branch of a tree and hoist them up at night to keep hippos from
      knocking them over. Also - for some reason, African bees seem to be
      better suited to long hives (TBH or framed) than Langstroth and also out
      of the blaring tropical sun. More room makes a big difference in a bee's
      temperament and African bees can be harvested without tampering with
      their brood at all too using a long hive. Well, an unlimited broodnest
      Langstroth would be similar, I guess - so long as you don't take off
      boxes down to their broodnest and stick to the honey boxes.

      I think a Lang can easily be managed like Warre and has one convenience
      a DIY hive doesn't - easy access to interchangeable hardware you don't
      have to make yourself. You can nail lift-blocks on the sides of each
      box, run everything on deeps, and lift a converted Lang hive up just as
      easily as you can a DIY Warre. I've considered doing that myself. I use
      wired-frames in my standardized deep Langs but with no foundation. The
      only difference, really, is where the boxes are added. Langs or other
      hives don't have to be constantly opened up after all. Twice a year is
      fine. The only reason to break down into the broodnest is to do a split
      or if you discern a problem you need to troubleshoot. You can even
      fashion one of those dental mirrors to peek in thru the entrance to see
      how far down the comb is to tell if you're ready to add another box - no
      popping off the lid needed. Or go high tech with a fiber-optic camera.
      Nothing like geeking out old tech. That would be cool!

      Wiring the frames is great for adding strength to the wax. The bees
      build right over it and incorporate the wire into the wax. No foundation
      needed. Still, pay attention to the age of the wax and the temperature
      of the day - if the wax is young or the day is really hot, it'll sag
      some even if it's built over wires. Hit it early in the morning and take
      care with fresh comb and you should be fine. Without wires or just
      top-bars, it's just a matter of making sure you avoid hold the wax so
      that it can bend or sag sideways. Rotate the top-bar around long ways
      instead. That's easy enough to get used to.

      Be well,

      Zone 8, Texas
      http://www.taroandti.com/ Exotic Plant Info and More...

      jeff hartman wrote:
      > John Missing wrote:
      >> My questions are: 1) Can I use the Langstroth boxes, but use top
      >> bars instead of frames?
      > ****************************
      > i don't think just using top bars would work in such a wide box, but
      > they do sell foundationless frames
      > ***********************
      > 2) If I am doing that, can I manage them like a
      >> Warre hive, adding boxes to the bottom rather than the top?
      > ************************
      > yes you could, but why not just build some warre hives. they can be made
      > legal in the united states by use of frames, or just do what i am doing
      > and not register them. they really are the most natural and bee friendly
      > hive there is
      > *************************
      > 3) Will the
      >> State of Florida let me not use a queen excluder?
      > **********************
      > no state can tell you you have to use a queen excluder
      > ************************
      > 4) How can I
      >> strengthen the comb on a top bar in order that they can be handled for
      >> inspection?
      > *************************
      > using the lang boxes i would think you would need to use full
      > foundationless frames, with warres you can use half frames or stainless
      > steel wire like in roger delons warre hives
      > <http://warre.biobees.com/delon.htm>.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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