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What happens when your top bar hive is full?

 
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jsallington
Nurse Bee


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 31
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:54 pm    Post subject: What happens when your top bar hive is full? Reply with quote

This is my 3rd year of keeping bees and I haven't had this problem yet but I can see it coming. There is not much more space in the hives for them to build, I've only collected 1 frame of honey from each a year. Does this mean I get to collect more this year?
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


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

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being ram full and having nowhere to put incoming stores is one of the signals to start swarm preparations.

You can either let them swarm or do a split at that stage.

There is some evidence to say that smaller hives whose colonies swarm earlier have better survival rates, because they both have a brood break and have time to build up for winter after swarming.

Having said that, "full" is a slightly elastic concept. Simply building comb is one thing, filling it up with brood and honey is another. And bees can get quite inventive when humans might think there is no more room in the hive.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1569
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the hive is full and there are several combs of capped honey as well as plenty of nectar coming in, then yes, now would be a good time to harvest some.
How big is the hive? I believe the "Golden Hive" which is available in The States is quite a bit smaller than our standard 4 foot hive and is probably designed to be harvested little and often. There is a good chance the bees will swarm once the hive is full. Keep a look out for queen cells and of course a swarm emerging usually between 12 and 2pm.

It sounds like they are thriving though so congratulations on getting them this far.
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