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query regarding hive dimensions

 
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shearno
House Bee


Joined: 23 Jul 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:37 am    Post subject: query regarding hive dimensions Reply with quote

Hello all,
This is my first post, I am looking at building a top bar hive. I work in metric and am making the followers and end boards from 300mm deep plywood as Philip Chandler plans, but as a sloping side is longer than a straight side, I think i need to make the side panels 325x1100x25 because if they were 300mm deep the follower boards would project lower.
Sorry, i probably haven't made this too clear but any help most appreciated.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The side boards do not reach the bottom of the end boards. This intentional, as it allows the hive to be stood on a flat surface and have floor level ventilation through a mesh floor, if that's what you choose to use.

The side boards are 300mm long, 280mm vertical height on the slope.
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shearno
House Bee


Joined: 23 Jul 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I see, so the follower boards are 280 also?
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. You can make them a bit deeper if you prefer, especially if you are using the eco-floor, as this provides for a good seal at the bottom and gives the bees a little more vertical space to play with.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It also is possible to simplify those plans, if you are not a great woodworker. For instance, my hives sit on ... cinder blocks, with wood shim-boards to keep them level in both dimensions. (There are no "legs.") The square end-boards are a few inches longer and a few inches wider than the sides; the top sits over the sides. (A couple of bricks on top.) A light exterior-only coat of Thompson's Water Seal has made them proof against the weather for years now.

I did pay close attention to the stated dimensions and angle of the side-boards and of the (solid) bottom, and made sure that the followers fit snugly. Two metal handles, one on each end, allow the hives to be easily lifted and moved. The entrance holes (3) are wine-cork size. Those handles, the water-seal, and a box of screws are the only things that I purchased. (It was all "found wood.")

Where I live (Northwest GA, USA), wintertime temperatures are ordinarily fairly mild most of the year. The hives sit underneath a grove of hardwood trees in the middle of a pasture.

It's absolutely nothing to look-at, I'd say, but perfectly sturdy and functional, and the bees have loved it for several seasons now. That's what I love about the hTBH hives. Do pay attention to the inside of the box, but the outside is very much up to you. If you are not a fantastic carpenter, you can still make your own beehives successfully by loosely following the plans.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing that I would add is that it is important to make sure the hive body is bee and wasp tight other than the entrance.
I have just spent a lot of time requeening a friend's colony that had laying workers. I advised her to feed them because the adult bees are coming to the end of their lives and there are no young bees to take over for another 4-5 weeks. Unfortunately, the feeding provoked robbing by wasps, because the hive has lots of little gaps and holes, which my friend thought were too small for anything to get in and whilst I had advised her to reduce the entrance I was unaware of these other gaps. To my experienced eye, 5 mins of watching them showed me numerous places that they were easily accessing the hive but it is now too late and the colony has very sadly been overrun in the week since the new queen was accepted. There are very few bees left and no hope of survival.
In my experience, it doesn't matter so much if the follower boards are not bee/wasp proof but make sure the hive body with all top bars in place is.... apart from the entrance of course.
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you absolutely need to make sure that the hive is "tight," and that it remains that way, no matter what the ever-changing humidity might do. For instance, there are two square boards securing the side and bottom boards in my hives, with wood-screws going into these from two directions, in addition to (clamped while it dried) wood-glue. And the boards themselves, as aforementioned, are "found wood" that has been out-in-the-weather around here ... for various and sundry purposes (fence, barns) ... for several decades.

The sides are made up of two boards which were generously glued together and clamped. Then, that construction was set against the square boards previously mentioned, and screwed in place, with (counter-sunk) screws going through each of them. (Verdict: "It ain't goin' anywhere.")

The square-board was water-sealed on all four sides; the others on all of the sides except the one that faces the bees. (And, I daresay, it could just-as-well have been that one, too, judging by the way that they happily land on the outside.) So, it was pretty safe to say that they would never warp ... and, of course, so far they never did.

The box should be sturdy and tight. And, the top-bars (thanks to those spacers ...) should create a tight, contiguous roof. The only way in-or-out should be the (three ...) (wine-cork sized ...) openings that the guard-bees can easily defend.

You might wish that the bees won't find a way around the follower-boards; that they won't create combs and so-forth "over there," but-t-t... well, "girls will be girls." Be very sure that the entire top-bar span is tight and secure, on both sides of the follower. (This is why those "leftover" scraps-of-wood of various widths are so useful. Keep them all, and be sure to add a "click" kerf-line to all of them.) The totality of the top-bar line, on both sides of all followers, must represent "an invader-proof roof" across the top of the hive.
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shearno
House Bee


Joined: 23 Jul 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the information, my TBH is now built will post some photos in the photo section

Regards
Shearno
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MikeRobinson
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incidentally: one good (and flexible, i.e. "adjustable in the face of humidity") way to provide an adequate(?) seal around follower-boards is to make them a little bit loose, set them in place, then place some thin saw-scraps of wood tight against the hive-box edges. Mark their location, then tack them lightly into place, using just-a-couple of easily removed tacks.

The odds of "success" (according to the Poor Human ...) are, of course, mixed: if one of "the girls" wants to get to the other side of that board, she'll find a way. ("So there!") Still, this usually provides an adequate barrier, and in any case it's something that you can adjust if midsummer turns out to be noticeably more/less humid than early spring. (Which is usually XXX always the case, in favor of "more," in this neck of the planet.) You won't find that the follower is impossible to move.

In any case: be sure that the "roof" provided by the top-bars (and the spacers ...) is tight, on both sides of the followers. If the girls decide to "expand their living quarters, with or without you," they still shouldn't be able to get out. (And(!!) bad-insects should not be able to get in!)
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