Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
Original KTBH - Nearly 5 Years On.

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:01 am    Post subject: Original KTBH - Nearly 5 Years On. Reply with quote

This is really just for info if anyone is interested and relates to my experiences with bees in the above hive, in my locality.

THE HIVE
A 3ft hive, home built to Phil’s spec. Double skinned flat roof with roofing felt finish.
Construction is solid wood, 25mm thick and never been treated or painted. The hive remains in good sound condition and has not needed any repairs.

POPULATED
A smallish swarm of unknown origin sugar dusted and hived July 3rd 2009. Started on 6 bars and increased to 8 bars by September which they overwintered on.

FEEDING
The swarm was not fed and the colony has never been fed at any stage over the 5 years.

INSPECTIONS
None in the strict sense. Addition of top bars as required during summer as the colony expands. Visual external monitoring as much as possible when time allows. Hive is left alone and not opened at all from Mid October – Early April.

VARROA
Years 1, 2 & 3. Forty eight hour count once every month during summer.
Years 4 & 5. No longer monitoring by monthly count.

TREATMENT
Other than the original sugar dusting of the swarm, treatment free throughout.

SWARM CONTROL
Encouraging brood nest expansion from April to August by inserting empty top bar/s as required within the brood area. That’s all.

RE-QUEENING
Left to the bees.

HONEY HARVEST
Taking on average just 2 or 3 combs each summer, yielding appx 10 x 454g jars.

CURRENT STATUS
A strong booming hive with a touch of chalk brood, which I expect will swarm within 4 weeks.


Last edited by mannanin on Fri May 09, 2014 9:28 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is fantastic, It is great to hear "news" about a thriving colony.

When you did monitor for varroa, did you ever find much or have any concerns? did you notice a rise or fall of numbers at any times? I guess I am wondering did you ever go through a stage of wondering if perhaps you should do something or if numbers were constant-ish throughout?

What kind of floor do you have? Are your entrances in the middle or at one end?

I am just starting my 2nd year and have read so much about factors for optimal colony well-being.

It is great to hear your report.

Kim
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kim,

In response,

During the three years of monitoring, the maximum count over a 48 hour period was 5 mites. I often had a zero count on the monitoring board but I generally found just 2 or 3. I didn’t use this as my reason to stop monitoring, it was just that I wanted to go away from the original detachable plastic OMF to a permanent solid floor. The solid floor did not lend itself to easy monitoring, but I am convinced the bees prefer it for a whole number of reasons. Entrances holes were made on the long sides, both centrally and at the ends. This gave me options. I initially used the central entrances but have now moved away from them. I just plug entrances not in use with corks like most people do. If I made any more hives, I would probably go more American style and put the entrance holes in the short ends and create a vestibule entrance with the first follower board.

Hope this helps.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


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

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did your colony swarm every year? Im asking becausebrood break can be a great way of managing varroa naturally.

Im happy for you! Now you have a strong colony to propagte from
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Houstonbees
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 81
Location: Houston Tx, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You posted that the bees seem to prefer a solid floor. Could you please expand on your statement and give your thoughts from what you have observed these past 5 years that would support the preference for a solid floor?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che,

2010 1st Year, Colony swarmed.
2011 2nd Year, Colony swarmed.
2012 3rd Year, No swarms
2013 4th Year, No swarms.
2014 5th Year, Not yet, but 95% sure they will.

Of course there are no guarantees on non swarming years as I rely a lot on neighbour reports when I am at work. However, I am pretty confident this info is correct.

Houston,

I guess first off, it was me that decided that I prefer solid floors. My plastic OMF was too weak to keep away a very inquisitive fox that I actually saw, destroy the mesh. No damage to the combs but it was an alarm call. However, I did observe that the bees seemed reluctant to move horizontally whilst I had an OMF. This changed once I fitted a solid floor. I think they actually prefer not to have the light coming in from underneath and they certainly did not need it for ventilation purposes in my climate. I also believe more in the need for nest warmth and general atmosphere within the closed hive. I just asked myself why I had fitted an OMF in the first place. Other than for varroa counts taken from underneath the hive, which I think are flawed anyway, I do not see any advantage to OMF.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Mannanin, That fills in the gaps for me.

By inserting empty bars into the brood area do you find that old brood comb works its way out to the edges where they are later harvested as honey?

From the wild colonies that I know of, that have no human interference, I have heard that after several years the nest is abandoned and then often re-colonised the following year (presumably some of the old comb is broken down by wax moth or other creatures during the vacancy). I was wondering if this was the bees way of dealing with really old comb, (perhaps only necessary to vacate in a small cavity). I am wondering if slowly working out old comb is a good management practice.

There seems to be lots of pros and cons for old comb.

I still have young comb in my colonies so looking ahead!

Kim
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 259
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kim,

In response,

Although I place new empty bars within the brood area, I have not been rotating old combs towards the rear. The brood is a mix of combs of all ages. I have avoided rotation because with the entrance at one end, it means moving every bar of the brood back each time. It just seems a lot of disturbance to the brood area and means constantly breaking the seal between the bars. However, I think overall it makes good sense to rotate old comb out. I like this concept and of course with the Warre’s this happens routinely with a box at a time so it’s easy. I know Barbara see’s advantages to old combs and she has some that are 10 years old. I have been mulling over this issue of old combs for a while but for me, the jury is still out and I remain unsure as to how best to proceed. Normally when I am undecided, I just leave alone until something sways me to do otherwise. The other option of a shook swarm every 5 years just seem a bit brutal. However, I gave someone else a hand with this on a KTBH as a result of crossed comb. I have to say it worked like a dream, ended up with nice new straight comb which helps fight chalk brood and the brood break has benefits for fighting varroa.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Carl and Petra
Guard Bee


Joined: 29 Jun 2011
Posts: 74
Location: Blandford. Dorset. England

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mannanin,

I am reading with interest, I am new to this top bar hive management now only having the bees in since June 2012.

I am still pondering the solid / mesh floor. I have fitted stainless steel mesh and also made a board that I can clip in place to form a solid flood.

I run the hive with out the board in place but am conscious that should it be cold it may well be an idea.
During the winter of 2012 it was not massively cold but not wanting the bees to chill too much I applied the board when it was freezing. I found that when I fitted the board at temperatures higher than this there would be a noticeable amount of water forming on the board . I understand that condensation can be a big problem in a hive and suspect that here in Dorset I may not need the board that much. One to keep an eye on over the years.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Original KTBH - Nearly 5 Years On. - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum