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Top Bar Hive in the mountains

 
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Simona
New Bee


Joined: 29 Sep 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Caspoggio - Italy

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject: Top Bar Hive in the mountains Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I’m a new beekeeper in the Italian Alps, so please excuse my English and if my questions might be stupid! I have three TBH from June and I would love to make beekeeping my job in the future. I’ve read somewhere (I’ve read so much on the internet and on books that I don’t remember where) that the amount of honey produced with a TBH is apprx. 30% less than with a “normal” hive. Is this true? If so it means that every 3 and a half hive I need one more to produce the same amount of honey, right? Consider that if possible I don’t want to feed them during the cold season, but I want to leave them enough honey to pass the winter.
One more question: I live at 1.200 meters above the sea level (3.900 feet), it happends that the temperature goes down to -20°C (-4°F). This is not a problem where I have my TBH now because there is plenty of sun. But I would build some other hives and put them in a place where there won’t be the sun for 3 months (from Dec. to the end of Feb.). Is this gonna be a big problem? I know of beekeepers in Alaska, and that’s a lot colder lol but I’m still worried! What do you think? Before you ask: no, I can’t put my new hives with the three that I already have because the land does not belong to me and three hives are enough for the landlord!
Thank you in advance for your precious help!
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Simona and welcome. Your English is amazingly good, so please don't feel the need to apologise for that or asking "stupid" questions..... the only stupid question is the one that is left unasked, so fire away with whatever comes to mind.

I would say 30% less honey than a conventional hive is probably an optimistic estimate but it will depend on how you manage them. If you are not going to take steps to prevent swarming, then you will be lucky to get any honey harvest.... maybe just a few kgs here and there. Most conventional beekeepers harvest the honey and then feed the bees syrup to over winter on. If you plan to leave them with honey.... which I strongly recommend.... then that is even less honey to harvest.
I don't know how much forage there is up in the mountains, so it's difficult for me to estimate harvest, but I would imagine the foraging is more widespread rather than having intensive pockets of plants that are attractive to bees like there are in more lowland areas.

As regards over wintering, insulation has to be the key in a cold climate. Plenty of insulation in the roof space and you might also find strapping insulation to the sides of the hive will help too. Shelter from the wind is probably more important than sunshine, so provide a windbreak from the prevailing winter winds if there is no natural shelter. If you have mesh floors, make sure the bottom board is fitted.

If you are looking to make a living from your hives at some point in the future then you may find a Warre style hive is a better option and I would strongly recommend you check out our member, Zaunreiter's posts..... if you haven't already.... as he is extremely knowledgeable as regards managing bees for maximum honey production (actually he's just extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of beekeeping and many other subjects too), as oppose to the majority of us here on the forum, who keep bees at a hobby level and just hope for a little honey to share with family and friends.

Best wishes to you and your bees for the winter.

Regards

Barbara
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Simona
New Bee


Joined: 29 Sep 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Caspoggio - Italy

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Barbara for your reply! A beekeeper in my area told me that I can get the same amount of honey from a TBH and from a "regular" hive, but it sounded strange to me!!! Smile I'll check Zaunreiter's posts as you suggested so that I can get more informations.

Thank you again and have a nice day!
Simona
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