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What does the top rest on?

 
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GRMercier
New Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 8
Location: USA, NY, Otsego County

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:48 am    Post subject: What does the top rest on? Reply with quote

I totally new to beekeeping, though my dad has been doing it for a decade. I am building a top bar hive, having never seen one before except on the internet. I am wondering what the top rests on. I watched the building video by PJ Chandler and read the plans, but I still cannot get the idea into my head. It looks like there is a gap around the edges under the top. If there is a gap, and if bees can get onto the top of the topbars, couldn't this be used as an entry way? Or maybe it rests on the actual edges of the topbars? That doesn't make sense, so I know I need some help here. Thanks.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The roof rests on the legs. The legs are made of thick wood and provide a nice ledge at either end of the hive. Since the legs are at an angle, you need to cut the top of the legs at an angle to provide a flat ledge.

Not having the roof bee tight doesn't matter. The bee tight container is formed by the top bars themselves, the sides and bottom of the hive, and the follower boards. As far as the bees themselves are concerned, their roof is the bottom side of the top bars, and they usually propolise any gaps in it.

Some of us have had the experience of the roof blowing off ( a problem which can be solved by putting luggage straps over the roof ). This is not disastrous, precisely because the roof is not part of the bee tight container.

You can put extra insulation on top of the top bars under the roof, particularly in the winter. I keep my on all year.

Adam.
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GRMercier
New Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 8
Location: USA, NY, Otsego County

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:32 pm    Post subject: Thanks and f/u with top bar spacing. Reply with quote

Thank you Adam. That was a big help!

So the top bars make the seal, brilliant! What do you do with the extra space at the end where the last top bar will not fit. Do you make a small sliver of a top bar to seal up the space?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, yes, it is actually really important that the body of the hive is bee tight, more from the point of view of preventing robbing than anything else. You may find as you are using the hive that in fact having several "slivers" of top bars of varying widths is helpful.
A really thin one just under a quarter of an inch is useful to help close the bars back up during an inspection. The idea is that you close the bars up so that there is just more than a quarter inch gap that the bees can get through, drop the lath into the gap to push their heads down, close the top bars up snug and then remove the lath so that the gap that is left is no longer big enough for them to get through and you can then push the top bar the rest of the way up snug without squashing any bees.

Also you may find, as bees start producing honey that they make the comb thicker and it starts to overlap onto the next bar. Adding a thin top bar sliver in that scenario can help get the comb back into a central position on the next bar.

And finally as you realise, having narrow bars to plug any space at the end of the hive is required too.

Unfortunately bees are not always as uniform with their building work as we would like and you have to be prepared to cater to that.

I sit my roof on the top of the vertical end panels which are about two inches higher the top bars but then my legs are attached differently and don't come up to the top of the hive.

Regards

Barbara
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GRMercier
New Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 8
Location: USA, NY, Otsego County

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: Thank You Reply with quote

Thank you Barbara.
That information was very helpful.

I will start building in the next few days.
Bees arrive in 3 weeks!
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks and f/u with top bar spacing. Reply with quote

GRMercier wrote:
What do you do with the extra space at the end where the last top bar will not fit.


On this specific question - I don't think it matters. From the bees point of view, the end of their home is the follower board. As the colony expands, you will move the follower board and add more bars to the roof of their home, making sure everything is bee tight.

You can store the excess bars in the hive if you want, or you can store them elsewhere. That's just a matter of your convenience, the bees won't care one way or the other. As Barbara says, as the colony expands and starts making honey comb or otherwise ignores our hopes for straight, evenly spaced comb, you may want a whole plethora of different spacer bars as well as the basic bars.

I never like to fill the hive all the way to the end anyway. It makes getting the follower out and doing any kind of inspection quite difficult. I like to leave a bar or two's space between the follower and the end of the hive. If you have a colony that close to the end, you have a very healthy colony which can probably stand you taking a bar or two of honey.

Adam.
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GRMercier
New Bee


Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 8
Location: USA, NY, Otsego County

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Adam.

Using the follower board as the end of the hive makes perfect sense why the websites did not address this question directly; this is assumed. Now I feel silly for even asking... One thing is for sure, there is a learning curve for beekeeping! Thanks again.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to leave a gap in the top bars behind the follower, as Adam suggests, make sure that your follower is bee and wasp tight. I find wasps can get in smaller gaps than bees and they can slip in the back of the hive where the honey is without guards at the entrance noticing them. If the colony is not strong, they can overrun it in short time and wipe it out like that, so I like to ensure that the top of the hive is completely covered with bars and slivers/spacers as necessary so that I know nothing can get in. But then my follower boards are anything but a good fit!

I have seen a friend's hive overrun in this manner just because the saw kerf in her top bars extended right to the end of the bars and wasps were getting in through that tiny gap.
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasps hang around the main entrance but as far I know I haven't had trouble with them getting in past the follower board. I have had bumble bees nest in the insulation on top of the top bars though. They must have thought "hmm, this is nice and warm, and just the right size" !
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Trip
Foraging Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2010
Posts: 127
Location: USA, New York, Westchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If my hives are not filled with top bars without gaps I find that's how the mice get in to wreck their mayhem.
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mal
Nurse Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 44
Location: Rutland, Leicestershire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi - I have only had tbh since last summer and both have been built to Phils spec.
My only advice would be to think now about how (if) you wish to feed the bees over the winter, and how thick your insulation over the top bars is going to be. I hit problems due to the roof design being too close to the top bars themselves and also a support bar halfway down blocking space.

(I think I use a 75mill frame for the roof, whereas next time I would up it by 50mm or so)
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