543Re: so, how did you get started in top bar beekeeping?
- Nov 21, 2006Wow!
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!
--- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "Scot Mc Pherson" <scot.mcpherson@...>
> 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
> . ` , ` '
> .,';`,. ``. '.
> _/^\_ :;.,';`'.,` `., ' '`,
> /_____\ .:.,"'`
> /\_____/\ .,:`'"
> -----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
> 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
> --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "scot.mcpherson" <scot.mcpherson@>
> > </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: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
> > >Subject: [TopHive] so, how did you get started in top bar
> > >
> > >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
> > >
> > >roup archive and other pages can be accessed at
> > >
> > >
> > >Yahoo! Groups Links
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> The group archive and other pages can be accessed at
> roup archive and other pages can be accessed at
> Yahoo! Groups Links
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