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Adding SPACERS between bars on Top Bar Hive

 
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beeswax4000
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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Adding SPACERS between bars on Top Bar Hive Reply with quote

Have searched and read and read but can't find information about placement of spacers between top bar hive bars.

Hope someone will share answer or direct me to proper section.

Details:
Bees in top bar hive for just one month.
6 comb drawn

from front hive entrance:

7 bars - NO spacers - Six of these bars have comb on them.

next 6 bars - WITH spacers (spacers are lying flat side down - ~1/2 in
spacers - Added today)

3 bars - NO spacers

and in back
Divider board (which until recently was about mid way)

I remember reading that brood bars and honey bars should be spaced differently but I can't find information now that I need it.

Please advise...And Thank you to all who contribute so generously on this site.
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robinast
Guard Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 59
Location: Estonia

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in Estonia we use 25 mm wide frames with 8mmX11mm spacers and I also use this principle (25 mm + 8mm/11mm) in my TBH. This way, one can establish 32 or 36 mm between the centers of combs. Maybe this helps...
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Harri
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been using 5mm x 10mm shims between by top bars for several seasons now. The bars are 30mm wide and the shims are the same length as the bars. This allows bars to be either at either 35mm or 40mm centres depending on the way the spacer/shim is set. I have not yet tried 32mm spacing but the set up I use works very well. I allow the bees to tell me when they have enough brood area - they will start making noticeably wider store combs.

Also the use of shims allows much easier closing up of the bars after an inspection. Just push the bars together until they are a spacer width apart and then carefully ease the spacer/shim down into the gap between the bars. Any little heads are pushed gently back in to the hive and no one gets squashed. Smile
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DaveP
House Bee


Joined: 24 Feb 2010
Posts: 13
Location: USA, Maryland

PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea, thanks!

I made all my top bars roughly 1 3/8" wide (nominally less), and had decided to make a few wider ones.
I'll just rip some spacers tomorrow and insert them the next time I add more bars. (3 weeks in and the bees are filling it up FAST! Last peek, there was comb on 11 already)

Glad to see another Marylander here- I'm WAY down in St Mary's county.
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beeswax4000
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestions. I guess there is no harm in a little extra room between bars except I will run out of space a bit faster with regard to comb building.

Best,
Jenn
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
when do you think that I should add spacers? It is 16 days now that I have bees, and they have built in one hive 12 combs, and in the other one 9. I still see a lot of mixed combs (both brood and the honey), but I don't know when is the right time to add them and where to?
My bars are 35mm wide, and I can add 3mm strips of wood. Should I add it between honey stores?
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

agapetos wrote:

My bars are 35mm wide, and I can add 3mm strips of wood. Should I add it between honey stores?


If they have 9-12 combs of brood, you can add spacers outside of that. You could use 8-10mm spacers and they will make fat honeycombs.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
when do you think that I should add spacers?


As soon you notice bees making fat comb which is overlapping the top bar. Usually this happens in the honey storage area at the back of the brood nest.

Quote:
I still see a lot of mixed combs (both brood and the honey)


A good queen will keep the brood nest connected. I have never seen in my horizontal Top bar hives brood nest which was divided by honey combs. Im almost sure this is not happening in your hives but rather your bees are storing honey above the brood on the same comb.

Alternative would be they are back-filling the broodnest because of a strong nectar flow and this might initiate swarming which is not a bad thing but can be put on hold by adding empty top bars on each side of the brood nest to create more empty comb cells once bees start building them.

Quote:
My bars are 35mm wide, and I can add 3mm strips of wood. Should I add it between honey stores?


3mm shims/strips/spacers are not wide enough. You will need (as Phil already suggested) wider spacers to get the desired 44mm top bar in the honey area. You start with spacers when bees start overlapping onto the next top bar clearly showing that they intend to build wider (honey) combs.

All that said I do not use spacers anymore simply because I am lazy to rip them Smile What I do is simply take one of the straight honey combs and move it to the end so it stands infront of the fat overlapping comb. This way I have observed less tendency to build wide/fat comb. This also ensures the bees building straight comb.

In the future try to rip your top bars 38mm instead of 35mm. And rip a few 6mm shims for the honey area to be spaced when needed.
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R Payne
Foraging Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2011
Posts: 123
Location: USA, Kansas, Wichita

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided to stop using spacers once I realized that everywhere I put a spacer, my bees would cross comb. Even in the honey combs, they seem happy with the 35 mm bars, building straight comb so long as there are no spacers but cross comb on every bar with a spacer next to it.
Your bees may vary, just my limited experience.

ron
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm... so it is not 35mm for brood / 38mm for the honey? Guess I did not have the right information. Than I will add some 9mm strips so that they will have some space.
About the "mixed" brood and honey. Today I am again going to do a check-up, but as I recall, they were mostly filled with brood, but on the upper outskirts of the comb I think there was some honey (not a lot). I am still learning to recognize honey stores from capped brood, so... I have maybe also mistaken.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

agapetos wrote:
I am still learning to recognize honey stores from capped brood, so... I have maybe also mistaken.


the cappings are different colours, honey = white capping, brood = very light tan capping
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

agapetos,

you did have the right info Smile what I mean to say is that even Phil wrote in his first book Barefoot Beekeeper that top bars are to be (if I remember correctly) 34mm in the brood and 38mm in the honey area.

Since then his experience showed him that this was too narrow so he changed it to 38mm and 44mm and things started to look better. I didnt read Phil's new book but Im sure he now recommends the wider top bar width.

I tried the 34 mm and I had bees overlapping the combs even in the brood area. So I changed to 38mm and now things look much brighter Smile

But as I mentioned before some folk in USA use 32mm I think and they get no issues with overlapping of comb. So it does depend on the sort of bee kept I guess as well.
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if it means anything, but I have bought the bees from the guy that kept them in a normal LR hive - maybe they have gotten used to that size. I don't know what is the size there.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are not used to conventional frames Very Happy In conventional hives they are forced to build that way and have no other option thanks to foundation. In top bar hives they actually show what they prefer Smile
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today I did put some spacers. What I have noticed that they built 2-3 combs closest to the entrance a bit wider and after 9th or 10th bar - which is where I've placed my spacers. I've found some leftover wood from construction of the hive which was 5-10mm wide. I've just sawed it to a measure and placed them on those places.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy me, I simply cut all the bars to one size ... I think it was 1-1/2" ... and kept all the leftover pieces of wood, which became spacers to be used as needed.

The guides are popsicle sticks, glued into shallow kerfs. The only "innovation" in my design is that there's also a single kerf running perpendicular to the bar, on one end only, in which the edge of the hive-side board neatly "clicks," allowing the bars to be easily aligned and to help them stay in place.

And, generally speaking, what seems to happen is that the combs generally turn out straight without my assistance. Sometimes two bars will wind up being glued-together. I don't know quite how you would distinguish "brood bars" from "honey bars" in a TBH anyway, because the brood area is in the center of the hive but it seems to move and to expand.

So, perhaps I'm "just lucky, I guess," but it seems to have always worked out just fine on its own.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know quite how you would distinguish "brood bars" from "honey bars" in a TBH anyway,


Very easy actually Smile Entrances on my hives are at the end so its natural for the bees to build the brood nest closer to the entrance (in horizontal hives that is). So, honey comb always at the back of the brood nest/combs
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meant2bee
Nurse Bee


Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 27
Location: Hawai'i, Kaua'i, Lawai

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:46 am    Post subject: Timing on adding spacers for Honey Bars Reply with quote

My plan has been to leave new Top Bars for honey at their default 1 1/4 inch width to begin with, thinking that starting with less space will tend to keep them from wandering too much (starting them between straight comb); when they get too wide I would add spacers to give them more room to grow. What I've found is that the bees are already capping off some of the honey that is on 1 1/4 in. centers... If I give them more space now will they uncap it and extend the cells? Should I have added spacers sooner? Started them that way?

As always, this new-bee appreciates your insight and experience~
Mahalo~
~Collin
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