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543Re: so, how did you get started in top bar beekeeping?

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  • mo
    Nov 21, 2006
      Wow!

      I'll bet you were busy! shifting all the bars about and
      checking on them regularly. I thought TBH's were easier to
      manage, but I guess like any hive, weather and other factors
      make it important to still check them regularly.

      I can see how tropical areas are ideal for TBH beekeepers, where
      you have a constant flow and they are always looking to expand.
      Having bad weather or a early bad dearth, I guess could really slow
      down things. Do you think a colony could could fill a TBH in a year
      with no assistance?

      I am going to try a few next year and will try your model!

      mo


      --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "Scot Mc Pherson" <scot.mcpherson@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Yes I have some thoughts.
      >
      > That's a lot of freaking beehives, no matter what style. I had a
      > hardship during my installation season. When I went an picked up my bees
      > (a literal van full) it was nice and warm. Cool, but warm enough. It
      > took me 3 days to install all the bees working from morning until late
      > night. On the 3rd day, the weather took a turn for the colder, and some
      > of the clusters in their packages were too chilled to install, but I had
      > no choice and installed them. I lost a lot of packages between
      > installation and when the weather warmed up enough for them to break
      > cluster. At the end of the installation, I was down to 380 living
      > colonies (some good others weak), and going into winter I am down to 320
      > colonies and think I will come out of winter with about half of that if
      > I am lucky, and I will feel very lucky indeed for having those, because
      > a mature colony coming out of winter builds up fast. The weak colonies
      > coming out of winter I will combine all but 1 comb into the strong to
      > aid in buildup, then split them back out to the weak again for building
      > up and requeening. Then I will split them back out to the original 500.
      >
      > If I can genuinely manage that, then I believe my first year to be a
      > complete success. 1st year of operation is not about generating a
      > profit, but just getting the colonies to mature through a winter. After
      > than, its much much easier. Having done this on a large scale, I would
      > recommend to new aspiring commercial beekeeprs to start smaller, and
      > just get some hives through winter. Once you have that, its easier to
      > buildup than it is to start with so many at once. Especially since I
      > have a full time job also to pay the bills while cash flow develops.
      >
      > I bought 3lb packages, but delievered they really averaged 5 lbs I
      > think. 2lbs is really a good minimum, 3 lbs is better, but more than 3
      > lbs is a waste really. Most of the bees are going to die very soon
      > anyway, and they won't buildup any faster than a 3lb package really. In
      > reality, with the 320 hives that actually made it to winter, only a few
      > filled the hive with honey, and I left it on. In fact I combined some of
      > the 60 that didn't make the cut into into the stronger because I knew
      > the stronger would use it where the weaker would just waste it or let it
      > rot when they died.
      >
      > Drawn comb always helps the queen lay more eggs faster, but its only a
      > few days worth of lead time unless you have a lot of drawn comb and they
      > can use it for honey storage also without having to burn honey to make
      > comb. Once the hive is established, many of us who have done both hive
      > type agree that the bees will produce as much honey in a tbh "on
      > average" if managed properly. That's not to say that the record breaking
      > tbh will attain the same as a record breaking lang. I think the lang
      > will break more records in honey production.
      >
      > If the bees are given room ahead of time, they can keep up. It's the
      > beekeeper who throws on the emergency super who has caused his/her bees
      > to fall behind. Whether in a tbh or in a lang, I recommend
      > foundationless systems. It aids in many things including pest control.
      >
      > Most important is to develop the brood nest. You can't just let them
      > build a 5 comb brood nest and expect them to do well, you need to
      > develop the nest by adding empty bars when its appropriate. Feed the
      > bars between the current two best combs at first until the brood nest
      > gets to be a decent size, then you start feeding empty bars into the
      > center of the brood nest, while culling combs from the outside of the
      > brood nest to maintain the size brood nest you want to manage. You don't
      > have to have a 20 frame brood nest if you don't want to, but if you can
      > get the bees to keep 20 frame filled with brood your hives will
      > outproduce any other hives. However in reality, the bees will choke
      > those down to a nest size they can manage, but you can keep developing
      > the nest until you and the bees are happy. Then when you introduce an
      > empty comb to enhance uniformity and such into the brood nest core, you
      > can let the brood emerge from the edge combs and cull it before they
      > fill it with honey and pollen. Or alternatively there is some advantage
      > to leaving some brood comb in the back of the brood nest that the bees
      > fill exclusively with honey, because if the bees all of a sudden get an
      > urge to raise more bees, you don't want them using honey comb to raise
      > combs of drone. Plus you can ensure that any honey they have gathered
      > and put into brood nest edge combs they get to keep as well as what ever
      > else you deem necessary to overwinter successfully.
      >
      > Be well,
      >
      > --
      > Scot McPherson
      > The McPherson Family Honey Farms
      > Davenport, Iowa USA
      > http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/OrganicBeekeepers/
      > mailto:scot.mcpherson@...
      >
      > . ` , ` '
      > .,';`,. ``. '.
      > _/^\_ :;.,';`'.,` `., ' '`,
      > /_____\ .:.,"'`
      > /\_____/\ .,:`'"
      > \###/.,';`
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: TopHive@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TopHive@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      > Of mo
      > Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 10:01 PM
      > To: TopHive@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [TopHive] Re: so, how did you get started in top bar
      > beekeeping?
      >
      >
      > Hi Scot
      > Do you have any thoughs after this year of with all your TBh's?
      >
      > I know when I get a 3 lb package mid April here in New England and
      > install with just foundation and have to feed it hard, I rarely get a
      > decent crop but do the next year. If I install same on 3-5 of drawn comb
      > I get a super or so. If on 20 drawn Langstroths get a decent crop. In
      > every case I have to feed but less as I go.
      >
      > So, I guess my Question is there a economic starting point as far as
      > success or a minimium point or combination with a new package say like a
      > 3lb package with the ultimate goal of filling a Standard 48" KTBH like
      > yours? Or do you think a smaller or larger package would be needed? Any
      > drawn comb added?
      >
      > I know with my bees they have a hard time keeping up with some of the
      > intense flows and ultimately swarm as they can't draw a super fast
      > enough.
      >
      > Cheers
      > mo
      >
      >
      > --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "scot.mcpherson" <scot.mcpherson@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > </blurb>I know some members are a bit tweaked that a send tbhers to
      > other lists, but quite frankly mark has just demonstrated why I do so.
      > Having said this I would like to see some discussion here and wonder why
      > if people want discussion that the membership here does just go ahead
      > and chat. </end blurb>
      > >
      > > I have been keeping bees for over 20 years now. My operation is
      > completely organic in practices. I practice zero tolerance for
      > treatments whether organic certified or otherwise. The only feeding the
      > bees get are new installations only until they can fend for themselves,
      > and that's usually only 1 or 2 lbs of sugar per hive.
      > >
      > > I got started with topbarhives after returning from military
      > service, getting married and being broke wanting to return to bees. I
      > really couldn't afford to by standard equipment and found tbhs. It took
      > an extra year to get started and so could do some research and
      > development for a whole year to come up with a perfect design. I bought
      > bees from ken at buckeye bee, and had 4 new hives going that spring. Now
      > I have been keeping bees in tbhs for 4 years, and am building 500 new
      > hives and bought 500 packages for this spring.
      > >
      > >
      > > Scot Mc Pherson
      > > McPherson Family Honey Farms
      > > Davenport, IA
      > > Bradenton, FL
      > > http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/
      > > http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org
      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/OrganicBeekeepers/
      > >
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > >From: "girl Mark" <girlmark_list_email@>
      > > >Sent: 11/11/05 2:18:22 AM
      > > >To: "tophive@yahoogroups.com" <tophive@yahoogroups.com>
      > > >Subject: [TopHive] so, how did you get started in top bar
      > beekeeping?
      > > >
      > > >To get some conversation started here, i"d like to ask folks to
      > do an
      > > >intro on how you all got started in top bar hives- or how you
      > found out
      > > >about them if you aren't doing the method yet
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >The group archive and other pages can be accessed at
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive
      > > >
      > > >roup archive and other pages can be accessed at
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > The group archive and other pages can be accessed at
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive
      >
      > roup archive and other pages can be accessed at
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
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