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Managing my TBBHs

 
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Managing my TBBHs Reply with quote

I am a more novice beekeeper. I have been beekeeping more or less successful for three years. this year it looks very good. What I did is that I have three TBBHs and all are doing very well. I used to have a mentor but not any more so I always can use some help which I don't get much here in Arlington VA. People are too busy here. When I first got my one TBBH I was told by my mentor that he doesn't use the follower boards or the queen separator or whatever that is called. So I have been following his approach. Two of my TBBHs have entrances (three holes ) in the middle with the holes being 2 inch in diameter. That is where I started to hang my queen from a Top bar in the middle of the hive. Now those two TBBHs have expanded to both sides and are almost full. what can I do, do I need to move some bars around and harvest. How should I move them around for those two hives which started in the middle. The other question is for the TBBH which has three entrance holes on the top of the hive at the beginning of the hive. But I also hung the queen from the middle bar in the hive and now its almost full around. I still haven't understood how to move bars around or do I have too. I thought the bees take care of it by them selves. I see so many reportages about bees where they build their combs in the nature for example in closets and chimney so I thought they are not making so much fuzz about it as we do, by moving things around. For example in the first TBBH which I bought they ate a hole through a corner which had a knob because I didn't open more entrances fast enough for them. So I think they take care of themselves pretty much. The third question is. Do bees know or understand who their beekeeper is or they don't care? maybe a stupid question.

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Uwe
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Trip
Foraging Bee


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

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uwe,

Congratulations on your success this year. It looks like a good year up here in NY too.

I never really rearrange my bars, I figure that's the way the way the bees wanted them so I let them do their thing. The exceptions are early in a new hive and sometimes in older hives I move empty bars between straight comb that are near the edges of the brood nest. This is done to encourage more straight comb building, but that's the extent of my rearranging.

On the question of harvesting or not I would ask for more detail like the number of brood comb vs the number of capped honey comb. You want to make sure you don't harvest too much in case the fall is a bust or the summer dearth is particularly hard. I usually just take 1 or 2 at a time and if the bees continue to refill I will dip into the hive and harvest another 1 or 2.

Trip
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1569
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Uwe

I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding some of what you are saying.

Firstly, do you mean Top Bar Hive ie TBH or is TBBH something else?

Assuming they are Kenyan style TBHs with sloping sides, how long are they?
Do they have solid floors or mesh? 2 inch diameter holes are rather large and may need to be reduced in winter.

Are these colonies 3 years old or just new this year?

Have you inspected them at all?

Follower boards are beneficial to help prevent the hive from getting cross combed. By allowing the bees just a limited space initially and then adding extra bars as they need them, you have more chance of each comb being attached to just one bar, rather than overlapping onto two or even 3 bars. Cross combing makes the hive difficult and disruptive to inspect and can result in comb breakage and potential injury to the queen, so best avoided if possible
Queen excluders should not be used by novice beekeepers in my opinion and are not really necessary to a hobby beekeeper, especially in a TBH.

If you live in a reasonably mild winter climate then rearranging the honey combs may not be necessary with centre entrances but if you get long cold winters, then it is advisable.

The way a feral colony builds it's nest may be quite different from how your colonies have been set up, for the simple reason that you have hung the queen in a cage. That anchors the cluster of bees with her and the first combs they build to that location. They will therefore create their brood nest around the bar where you hung the queen. This may not be the most advantageous place for them but they have no choice. By doing this, you have already had an unnatural influence on the way they set up house and therefore you cannot then assume that they will be able to manage themselves like a feral colony.

If the hive has plenty of honey then it may be safe to harvest some, but you need to be aware of how much they have, what they need and what nectar sources are still to come for them to replace what you take if they need to. If you harvest honey now and then there is a drought and no nectar for a month, then the bees could starve or need feeding. This is where local knowledge of conditions and forage is really important.

Honey is only worth harvesting if it is mostly capped and a whole comb of it, rather than half honey and half brood. If they are running out of space and have lots of combs of capped honey then it should be safe to take a couple.

My gut feeling is that my bees do recognise me in some way(probably smell... horsey smell usually!), but then I spend 5-10 mins almost every day(sometimes twice a day) watching the activity at the entrance of each hive. When I have visitors to my apiary, there will often be one or two bees that come and check out the visitors and fly back and forth in front of their faces, eyeballing them, whilst ignoring me Interestingly they are also less tolerant of men than women.

I hope that answers your questions.

Regards

Barbara
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:18 pm    Post subject: My Top Bar Bee Hives TBBH Reply with quote

Thank you.
yes I meant Top Bar Bee Hive with a V-Shape box of 42 inch length.
I built them myself. I do wood working as a hobby.
I live in Arlington and we have plenty of flowers and other food for the bees until October. Living in the suburbs where you have plenty of flower gardens and trees helps.
I made a mistake by telling you the size of the entrance holes.
I meant 2 cm. Because my entire holes I drilled with a 1 inch drill.
That should be fine, when I close them down to one in the winter.
I use corks to close them.
I dnt have a mesh on the ground. What I did is I drilled 6 holes in the floor and covered them with mesh from the inside and closed them with a cork from the outside.
So when the weather changes to be too hot, I open them all up and close them when it gets cold in October. I also have the same in the roof gable on each side so the roof is ventilated inside. On each end I have a hole with mesh on the inside and a cork on the outside so I can open them up as well.
Sorry for my English but it is my second language.

best
Uwe
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:37 pm    Post subject: Queen Reply with quote

Where from should I have hung the Queen bee.
Oh and I had those hives since August this year.
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Tavascarow
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Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 962
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the hive is getting full & there will be forage till October I would definitely take a harvest & make some space or divide to increase.
One if you want honey & two if you want more bees.
Very Happy
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:04 pm    Post subject: My Hives Reply with quote

What do you mean by divide?
And where would you hang your bee queen from if the holes are in the middle of the hive?
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Uwe in USA
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 May 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Arlington, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:55 pm    Post subject: My Hives Reply with quote

Sorry I meant April this year.
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