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Climbing The Learning Curve

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New Bee

Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: USA, Washington, Monroe

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:53 pm    Post subject: Climbing The Learning Curve Reply with quote

Greetings ~ I am looking at the Top Bar Hive Plan (page 51 in our copy) in the Barefoot Beekeeper book. The end view of this diagram shows something under the lid labeled Condenser Box Or Feeder. This seems to be the only place that this is mentioned. How can I get more details of what this looks like? Thank you!
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome

To be honest I don't think many of us who have made and use horizontal TBHs have a quilt/condenser. As regards a feeder, there are numerous options and ideas of varying simplicity or complexity of construction depending on your level of skill and enthusiasm for DIY. In general, once a colony is up and running and through their first year, there is usually not any real need to feed them in subsequent years unless there are extreme weather conditions, so I just cobble something together if and when I need one. Most recently I have used empty plastic food jars which I have pricked holes in the lid of and inverted and placed on a board with a hole just smaller than the jar lid above a second board with thin runners on it, creating a 1/4 inch gap between the two boards for the bees to get underneath the jar and access the syrup. I place this either next to the colony enclosed by the follower board or behind the follower board with a hole cut in it, so that they can get through.
In the autumn I place insulation over the top bars but this can range from a straw filled pillow case to old feather pillows, to an old wool blanket or anything that will insulate, breath and absorb a bit of moisture. Actually the insulation could stay on right through the year, particularly if you get hot summers, to help prevent the colony getting too hot and suffering comb collapse.
I don't know if Phil has created specific plans for a quilt for his hive but all I'm saying is that it isn't necessary and not to worry about it as it is not essential.


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Site Admin

Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1063
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Barbara said, it was an idea some people played with, and while it works as well as insulation as a condenser, old pillows, blankets, straw, etc all work just as well.

The impoertant thing is to keep heat IN in winter and OUT in summer.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

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See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
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