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

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  • mo
    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
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 20, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      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
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Scot Mc Pherson
      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
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 20, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        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
      • mo
        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,
        Message 3 of 16 , Nov 21, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          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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