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TBH vs. Langsroth hives

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  • jefffrancom
    Things are slow round here! This spring I plan on adding a TBH or 2 to my yard. (So far I have 2 Langs and plan on 2 more this spring, plus any TBHs I add.) I
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 20, 2004
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      Things are slow 'round here!

      This spring I plan on adding a TBH or 2 to my yard. (So far I have 2
      Langs and plan on 2 more this spring, plus any TBHs I add.)

      I was wondering how folks with some experience would compare TBH with
      Langs. The reports I read give somewhat conflicting accounts. So I
      read one account and get excited about it, then I read another and
      consider dropping the whole idea!

      I am especially interested in the ease / difficulty of the two, plus
      the productivity. After all, if a TB cost half as much and was half
      as productive and only took half the time... it still looks pretty
      good!

      I know... The best way to know is to try it out, but in the mean
      time, since it is winter, and so little traffic here - I thought I
      would ask for your experience, now that some time has passed and more
      experince gained.

      Thanks,
      Jeffery Francom
      Malad, ID
    • jože šimec
      ... Hello Jeffery; yes this is very slow group. But is not important. I dont have the TBH in this time, in sprig will have too. In the past tense -about 70
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 20, 2004
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        jefffrancom wrote:

        > Things are slow 'round here!
        >
        > This spring I plan on adding a TBH or 2 to my yard. (So far I have 2
        > Langs and plan on 2 more this spring, plus any TBHs I add.)
        >
        > I was wondering how folks with some experience would compare TBH with
        > Langs. The reports I read give somewhat conflicting accounts. So I
        > read one account and get excited about it, then I read another and
        > consider dropping the whole idea!
        >
        > I am especially interested in the ease / difficulty of the two, plus
        > the productivity. After all, if a TB cost half as much and was half
        > as productive and only took half the time... it still looks pretty
        > good!
        >
        > I know... The best way to know is to try it out, but in the mean
        > time, since it is winter, and so little traffic here - I thought I
        > would ask for your experience, now that some time has passed and more
        > experince gained.
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Jeffery Francom
        > Malad, ID
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        Hello Jeffery;
        yes this is very slow group. But is not important. I dont have the TBH
        in this time, in sprig will have too. In the past tense -about 70 years
        ago we have a lot of small hives and we have problems with swarming but
        we have good bees. You can have a small or big hives varoa is problem
        No.1 in both. I think about this will be very important in future,
        because we dont need the wax foundation.
        best wishes
        Jo�e �imec, Slovenija
        P.S.: you can see on the Attach. one hive for example-GLAVAR"s hive


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Gina Covina
        I d also love to hear more comparisons of the pros and cons of Langstroth and TBHs. Here s my very limited experience: I ve had one TBH for 2 years -- my first
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 20, 2004
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          I'd also love to hear more comparisons of the pros and cons of
          Langstroth and TBHs. Here's my very limited experience:

          I've had one TBH for 2 years -- my first beekeeping experience. In
          the plans I used, no mention was made of providing some sort of guide
          for the bees to get them to build straight comb centered on the bars,
          so at first they built curving comb, which meant that when I lifted
          up top bars the bars just ripped away from the comb. Eventually I
          replaced all the curving comb with top bars to which I attached
          strips of foundation. Still, when I lift out a section of comb on a
          top bar, it almost always breaks off across the middle, partly
          because the bees tend to attach it along the sides and partly because
          it's so heavy. So I end up not being able to really examine the hive,
          and when I took some honey this summer I just got lucky and chose
          bars that held honey and pollen rather than brood -- no way to tell
          in advance.

          Last year I started a Langstroth hive so I could compare the two. Way
          easier to examine the bees without disturbing them. Beyond that, I
          have nothing to compare, such as honey production, because for some
          reason that remains a mystery to me, I had to re-queen the hive 3
          times, and the population never grew large enough to save honey even
          for themselves. I'm feeding them through the winter, but kind of
          doubt they'll make it.

          If anyone can speak to my problems with removing top bars, I'd appreciate tips.

          Thanks.
          Gina Covina
          Laytonville, California
        • David McDonald
          Gina, I ve got two top-bar hives, soon more. What I do, when lifting out combs, is gently cut the comb free from the sides of the hive, cutting upward, so that
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 20, 2004
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            Gina,

            I've got two top-bar hives, soon more.

            What I do, when lifting out combs, is gently cut the comb free from the
            sides of the hive, cutting upward, so that your cutting motion isn't
            pulling the comb away from the bar. I use an old hacksaw blade for
            this, because it's long and thin.

            Then I begin to pull up the bar, just a little at first, in case there
            are more attachments I haven't seen. Once I'm sure the comb is going
            to come free of the hive and the adjoining comb, I lift it out, pulling
            it upward, and away from the adjacent bar, at the same time. If you
            lift directly up, you're more likely to break the comb, and hurt bees,
            because it'll scrape against the nearest bar. I'm assuming you have a
            few bars lifted out to start with, to give you some working-room to
            remove combs. Generally I start by taking out a few bars at the back
            of the hive, and then work gradually forward.

            My bars have a wood strip embedded along their mid-line. This seems to
            work well, to help the bees build centered comb.

            Good luck,
            David


            On Tuesday, January 20, 2004, at 08:29 PM, Gina Covina wrote:

            > I'd also love to hear more comparisons of the pros and cons of
            > Langstroth and TBHs. Here's my very limited experience:
            >
            > I've had one TBH for 2 years -- my first beekeeping experience. In
            > the plans I used, no mention was made of providing some sort of guide
            > for the bees to get them to build straight comb centered on the bars,
            > so at first they built curving comb, which meant that when I lifted
            > up top bars the bars just ripped away from the comb. Eventually I
            > replaced all the curving comb with top bars to which I attached
            > strips of foundation. Still, when I lift out a section of comb on a
            > top bar, it almost always breaks off across the middle, partly
            > because the bees tend to attach it along the sides and partly because
            > it's so heavy. So I end up not being able to really examine the hive,
            > and when I took some honey this summer I just got lucky and chose
            > bars that held honey and pollen rather than brood -- no way to tell
            > in advance.
            >
            > Last year I started a Langstroth hive so I could compare the two. Way
            > easier to examine the bees without disturbing them. Beyond that, I
            > have nothing to compare, such as honey production, because for some
            > reason that remains a mystery to me, I had to re-queen the hive 3
            > times, and the population never grew large enough to save honey even
            > for themselves. I'm feeding them through the winter, but kind of
            > doubt they'll make it.
            >
            > If anyone can speak to my problems with removing top bars, I'd
            > appreciate tips.
            >
            > Thanks.
            > Gina Covina
            > Laytonville, California
            >
            > 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
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            --
            David McDonald
            Santa Fe, NM
          • zoodood71
            Wow, we are actually carrying on a discussion. I am excited!!! I have been interested in TBH s for years. I built one, as was said, with strips of wood in the
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 21, 2004
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              Wow, we are actually carrying on a discussion. I am excited!!! I have
              been interested in TBH's for years. I built one, as was said, with
              strips of wood in the TB for a "starter strip." However, I have come
              to understand that bees will attach to any irregular surface, so they
              sometimes built come from the edges of the TB's instead of the
              starter strip. This only happened until they got good comb started
              in the centers and I tore off the offending comb. I haven't used
              them yet, but my next TB's that I made were beveled so that they came
              to a ridge in the center. I hope this will deter comb on the edges.

              Another problem I had was calculating the distance to space the first
              TB from the end of the box. I had it too close, so the bees attached
              the comb to the end of the box with brace comb.

              As for practicality and contrary statements, I have read them, too.
              I have heard of some keepers who use TBH's over the top of a Lang's
              Hive- broodnest. The TBH is just for surplus honey storage that is
              harvested. With the brood in the Lang Hive, the local bee inspector
              doesn't have to fool with the TB's to inspect the hive.

              As for weak combs, i have seen pictures of TBH's that have a bowed
              strip of wood to act as a frame to keep the bees from attaching the
              comb to the walls. My idea is to just hang a wooden dowel on each
              end of the TB at a beespace from the walls. The bees can use it as a
              guide to build their comb while it gives the comb some support. While
              this is getting away from the simplicity of the TBH, I enjoy the
              woodwork and may just marriage the ideas of a framed comb using a
              starter strip. I'll let you know how that goes.

              One of the benefits often attributed to TBH's is the ease with which
              one may inspect the hive while keeping a majority of the bees
              confined within the hive. However, in my experience, and as has been
              stated by someone else, it is often necessary to remove a number of
              combs in order to work the TBH without damaging the combs or bees.
              Where then is the benefit? It is often given that this is more
              important when working Africanized bees, but the folks I have seen
              harvest honey in S.America do it 100's of feet up in a tree with no
              other protection than a peice of leather to cover their modesty and a
              smoking leaf. Again, where is the benefit? Furthermore, I prefer to
              select my bees for gentleness (no Africanized bees for me, thank
              you). And I am in it for a hobby first and honey second, so
              production really isn't an issue for me either. I just want to have
              a hobby, cheaply, and have my bees happy and workable. But I like
              trying new things, too.

              My greatest benefit from my TBH was that I was able to throw it
              together in a day and use it to collect a swarm later that day. That
              is something I couldn't have done with a Lang. I didn't have one on
              hand, so would have had to order all the parts, assemble them, fix
              and wire the foundation...... Yes, the TBH is the way to go in a
              pinch.

              Well, that's my three cents on it.
              Coyote


              >
              > If anyone can speak to my problems with removing top bars, I'd
              appreciate tips.
              >
              > Thanks.
              > Gina Covina
              > Laytonville, California
            • jefffrancom
              You know, I have seen a few designs where people added a simplified frame of some sort to their Top Bars. It seems to me that this would be helpful, but
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 21, 2004
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                You know, I have seen a few designs where people added a "simplified
                frame" of some sort to their Top Bars. It seems to me that this
                would be helpful, but also add back some of the complexity I am
                trying to avoid.

                That said, it *seems* like getting that first frame out of the box
                would be the toughest. I say that because I would think that with
                the first TB, the comb would be difficult to cut away from the side
                wall. Hard to reach because no space fout your hand / knife. Is that
                right?

                So what if you made standard TBs, *except* for the first one (maybe
                two). The first (and maybe second) would have some kind of a "frame"
                to make thier removal easy as far as comb attachments. Once the
                first one or two are removed, it would seem that you would have easy
                access to the following frames, so could easily cut the burr
                attachments with a knife.

                Thoughts?
                Jeffery
              • mcdonald@att.net
                The way I work my hives, I start at the back, and the back bars don t have comb on them. So those are easily popped out, and then there s working space to
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 21, 2004
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                  The way I work my hives, I start at the back, and the back bars don't have comb on them. So
                  those are easily popped out, and then there's working space to remove intact the fully built
                  combs as I work toward the front of the hive.

                  I'd always keep those back few bars clear, by harvesting honey as needed.

                  --
                  David McDonald
                  Santa Fe, NM
                  > You know, I have seen a few designs where people added a "simplified
                  > frame" of some sort to their Top Bars. It seems to me that this
                  > would be helpful, but also add back some of the complexity I am
                  > trying to avoid.
                  >
                  > That said, it *seems* like getting that first frame out of the box
                  > would be the toughest. I say that because I would think that with
                  > the first TB, the comb would be difficult to cut away from the side
                  > wall. Hard to reach because no space fout your hand / knife. Is that
                  > right?
                  >
                  > So what if you made standard TBs, *except* for the first one (maybe
                  > two). The first (and maybe second) would have some kind of a "frame"
                  > to make thier removal easy as far as comb attachments. Once the
                  > first one or two are removed, it would seem that you would have easy
                  > access to the following frames, so could easily cut the burr
                  > attachments with a knife.
                  >
                  > Thoughts?
                  > Jeffery
                  >
                  >
                  > 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
                  >
                  > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TopHive/
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > TopHive-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                  > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                • zoodood71
                  Jeffery, Let me compliment you on the progress of this Thread. Yeah!!! You mentioned the problem of the first comb being braced in . I have experience with
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 23, 2004
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                    Jeffery,

                    Let me compliment you on the progress of this Thread. Yeah!!!

                    You mentioned the problem of the first comb being "braced in". I
                    have experience with this.

                    I had that trouble with my one and only TBH. I worked all the combs
                    from the back of the hive with no problem as others have mentioned.
                    However, even after ripping the TB off of the first comb a number of
                    times (no I didn't learn my lesson) it never fell because it was so
                    well braced in. I didn't remove it until the end of the season when
                    I moved the bees to a Langs hive for the winter. (I trusted I could
                    winter them in a Lang, wasn't sure of myself enough to leave them in
                    the TBH). I tore off the TB (again by accident) and cut the braces
                    off of the comb essencially ruining it. I should have flipped the
                    hive upside down and cut the comb loose, keeping it attached to the
                    TB.

                    What I had gleaned from studying THB designs online is that the first
                    TB has to be "spaced" correctly from the end. I only just recently
                    began to get into this while getting ready for next season. The TBs
                    are designed to provide only half a bee space out from the comb; the
                    other half is provided by the adjacent TB. Therefore, the designs I
                    have seen call for a spacer to move the TB out far enough to produce
                    a complete (but not too large) bee space. You will see this too in
                    framed hives sometimes it the end frame is pushed completely against
                    the wall of the hive, though without the devestating effects seen in
                    a TBH where the TB comes out and the comb stays in. So I think you
                    are onto a good idea with framing. I suspect that frames came into
                    being much the same way our frustration with TBs cause us to return
                    to them.

                    I am thinking of adding some framing to my TBs. Some of the benefits
                    include the fact that the combs are better protected; they are more
                    interchangable (if you make frames for 1 or 2 TBs will you loose the
                    ability to interchange combs?); and the combs are more secure for
                    transit (in some frames). I that in ABCs and XYZs the two frames are
                    discussed. One is narrower, allows for them to be pushed together
                    for storage, and is easier to make. However, it lacks
                    the "automatic" spacing design of the one with wider endbars. No
                    problem unless, as was found by the developers of the wider endbars,
                    you move your hives. Even on a short trip from one yard to another,
                    the combs in the narrow frames would sway and break while in
                    transit.

                    I realize what you stated about framing just brings you back the the
                    complexities we are trying to avoid, but I move my hives, I don't
                    like the risk of loosing comb as much as I enjoy woodworking, and I
                    pursue beekeeping as a hobby. Fretting over new hive gadgets keeps
                    me busy in the off season.

                    Here are some frame-idea links I got from Dave:
                    http://www.rupertshoney.co.za/rh/ uses dowels for the sides and
                    bottom
                    http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm is exactly the same
                    idea I came up with on my own to elliminate the reliance on
                    foundation, but he got the fancy name and patent.... does that ever
                    happen to anyone else?

                    Yours,
                    Coyote
                    zoodood@...
                  • Keith Benson
                    ... So how does one get some of these frames. It would appear that the web site does not have a commercial aspect. Keith
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 24, 2004
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                      zoodood71 wrote:

                      >http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm is exactly the same
                      >idea I came up with on my own to elliminate the reliance on
                      >foundation, but he got the fancy name and patent.... does that ever
                      >happen to anyone else?
                      >

                      So how does one get some of these frames. It would appear that the web
                      site does not have a commercial aspect.

                      Keith

                      >
                      >
                    • zoodood71
                      Keith, I agree about the website. I do recall there being an email link to Mr. Simon. Perhaps you have to email him. It also appeared that he pretty well
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 24, 2004
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                        Keith,
                        I agree about the website. I do recall there being an email link to
                        Mr. Simon. Perhaps you have to email him. It also appeared that he
                        pretty well explained how to make your own, so maybe that was his
                        intent and he only patented it to keep someone else from making a
                        profit. From what I saw, a regular frame fitted with a beveled piece
                        on the top and bottom bars is all he did to modify a frame. With a
                        table saw and some square stock, I should be be able to turn these
                        out by the dozens and brad them to my frames.
                        Coyote

                        --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, Keith Benson <kgbenson@s...> wrote:

                        > zoodood71 wrote:
                        > >http://www.charlesmartinsimon.com/pictures.htm is exactly the
                        same idea I came up with on my own to elliminate the reliance on
                        > >foundation, but he got the fancy name and patent.... does that
                        ever happen to anyone else?
                        > >

                        > So how does one get some of these frames. It would appear that the
                        web site does not have a commercial aspect.
                        >
                        > Keith
                        >

                        > >
                      • zoodood71
                        ... the ... Keith, I stumbled blindly onto this at BeeSource http://www.beesource.com/pov/simon/index.htm Coyote
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jan 25, 2004
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                          > --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, Keith Benson <kgbenson@s...> wrote:
                          > > So how does one get some of these frames. It would appear that
                          the
                          > web site does not have a commercial aspect.
                          > >
                          > > Keith
                          > >

                          Keith, I stumbled blindly onto this at BeeSource
                          http://www.beesource.com/pov/simon/index.htm

                          Coyote
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