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  • mo
    Thanks for link had some good info! What is the typical growth of a TB Hive? Can you get them to draw out 20-30 TB s in a season? I love comb honey and and it
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 6, 2006
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      Thanks for link had some good info!
      What is the typical growth of a TB
      Hive? Can you get them to draw out 20-30
      TB's in a season? I love comb honey and
      and it seems like a cool hive to keep!
    • girl mark
      Yes, if things are inclined that way (ie I ve had some weak hives and strong hives, probably identical to Langstroth, and some locations seem better than
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 7, 2006
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        Yes, if things are inclined that way (ie I've had some weak hives and
        strong hives, probably identical to Langstroth, and some locations seem
        better than others, including morning sun exposure so your bees can
        start to forage earlier in the day, and of course climate is in my favor
        being in California and all).

        My current TBH, which started from a swarm this spring, has about 20
        bars left after a full round of harvesting and 8-10 combs taken away for
        a split. They would have over flowed the box several times if we weren't
        harvesting. I of course don't use any foundation or starter foundation
        strips so they drew all this out with no previous help from preexisting
        combs or foundation. I've also had TBH's that didn't seem to go anywhere
        for one reason or another. I don't think any of the rate of productivity
        has anything to do with TBH versus Langs- we had some Langs for a while
        also populated with diverse captured swarms, and, averaging over several
        colonies and their differences it didn't seem to us that there was a
        really big difference in the rate at which they drew out and filled combs.

        Maybe an experienced commercial Lang beekeeper with proper manipulations
        and syrup feeding would get them to produce substantially more honey or
        draw out more combs than comparable intensive manipulations to a TBH,
        but in our hobbyist case, the TBH's didn't do any less than our Langs
        with the same "lazy hobbyist" (or too-busy hobbyist) practices applied
        to both.

        Mark



        mo wrote:

        >Thanks for link had some good info!
        >What is the typical growth of a TB
        >Hive? Can you get them to draw out 20-30
        >TB's in a season? I love comb honey and
        >and it seems like a cool hive to keep!
        >
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        >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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      • Carolyn Chaney
        Last year my bees didn t produce enough honey even for themselves for the winter...so I am feeding and hoping that they can forage some on sunny days (I live
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 10, 2006
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          Last year my bees didn't produce enough honey even for themselves for the
          winter...so I am feeding and hoping that they can forage some on sunny
          days (I live in No. Cal.).

          But I hope for honey next year. What ways have you-all found to be the
          best (and least messy) for harvesting honey from top bars?

          Carolyn forom Emerald Hills


          "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
          --Mary Oliver
        • girl mark
          I brush the bees off a honey comb with a bee brush or a swatch of grass (note: paintbrushes, even if thinned out, don t work- the bees grab onto natural
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 10, 2006
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            I brush the bees off a honey comb with a bee brush or a swatch of grass
            (note: paintbrushes, even if thinned out, don't work- the bees grab onto
            natural bristles and try furiously to sting them, whereas the yellow
            synthetic bee brushes from Dadant etc dont' have this problem). Then I
            cut most of the comb off onto a baking pan- I tend to bring a couple of
            long kitchen knives and a cookie sheet or big brownie pan with me when I
            go out to the hive even if I"m not planning a harvest, as sometimes
            crooked combs break when Im trying to work the hive when they're
            building the structure initially. If I"m 'actually' planning to harvest
            in the fall, Ill bring a big bucket with a solid lid to keep bees out
            while I"m harvesting.

            Then it becomes a fight to keep other bees from getting into the pan
            and drowning in the honey- a piece of cloth to cover the comb in between
            cuttings helps, and probalby cuts down on 'robbing behavior' (my
            understanding from reading aobut it somewhere, is that once they're in
            a robbing frenzy they might excite other colonies and make them
            defensive even if the robbing started over the harvested honey). I like
            to leave an inch of comb on the top bar and immediately put it back in
            the hive for them to clean up. The reason for leaving some comb is so
            that they'll build 'straight' from it (if I"m harvesting a very crooked
            comb I'll scrape the remnants off the bar fairly thoroughly before
            returning it to the bees so they dont' try and reproduce the horsehoe shape)

            As for actually "extracting" honey, I crush it up (this is the point of
            not having dead bees in the pan!) and then drip it through either a
            large mesh strainer or a nylon painters' paint strainer bag. If it sits
            and drips for a few days (I stand the whole thing in a Rubbermade tub
            full of water to keep ants out), most of the honey falls out and I dont
            get all that much on further pressing. But that entails just small
            amounts at a time. If doing a larger harvest, I've used a simple press
            to squeeze the rest of the honey. my last press was two maple boards, a
            cloth bag that the wax goes into, and a pair of C-clamps (and a bucket
            that this all suspends over). The c-clamps clamp the two boards against
            the bag of wax. You get very dry wax at the end.

            Then, to render wax, I put it, in a paint strainer bag, into a dedicated
            pot with water. The water gets heated and melts the wax, and the slumgum
            and other 'stuff' stays in the bag. I think I've heard somewhere that
            you're not supposed to let it get too hot but I haven't paid attention
            to this. WHen the water and wax cools, the wax can be pulled out of the
            pot, air-dried to get the last watery stuff out (or it can mold if honey
            residue was on the surface), and can be re-melted into smaller shapes
            (it always starts out as a huge thin disk the way my large pot is).

            Im sure there are more elegant ways to do all this!

            I was given a set of Langstroth hives one year, and the mess and
            trouble of using a hand-cranked extractor and handling all hte frames
            seemed like more work with less yield than our 'drip' system.


            Mark


            Carolyn Chaney wrote:

            >Last year my bees didn't produce enough honey even for themselves for the
            >winter...so I am feeding and hoping that they can forage some on sunny
            >days (I live in No. Cal.).
            >
            >But I hope for honey next year. What ways have you-all found to be the
            >best (and least messy) for harvesting honey from top bars?
            >
            >Carolyn forom Emerald Hills
            >
            >
            >"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
            > --Mary Oliver
            >
            >
            >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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