I have two Warre hives (but no bees - long story) but was on a course where they had a Kenyan style TBH. Does anyone have one of these in areas where the winter is cold? I'm interested to know how the Kenyan style fares with honey being stored on two sides of the bees - in winter when the bees go into a torpid state, isn't it difficult for them to reach the honey on the other side once they've finished one side? In a Ware of course they just slowly munch upwards on the reserves.
Horizontal TBHs are regarded as less than ideal in cold places for the reason you cite. I have had colonies in Warre and even Langstroth hives survive the Fairbanks winter, but not horizontal TBHs, so I quit using them.
"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:Rob, I went to beelanding.com but sadly it just seemed to promote the selling of his TBH.
Victor, brilliant to have your experience. Thank you. Now I'm curious to know your own personal thoughts between the Warre and the Langstroth.
I forgot you were in France...too bad because he is really great to talk to. He doesnt really promote his hive so much as he does TBH. He believes they are the closest to a natural habitat...like a log. As for Alaska, Im not sure a TBH would work, but for my area and certainly France a TBH has proven to be successful from what I have read and people I have talked to. For what its worth
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm wrote:Question: Some people say that TBH's don't winter well in cold climates. Do they?
Answer: I have them in Nebraska and others have them places as cold as Casper Wyoming. I have heard only one report from anyone keeping bees in top bar hives that they don't overwinter well in cold climates. Other than that, I have only heard it from people who have not attempted it. It is a good plan to get the cluster to one end at the beginning of winter so they can work their way to the other end over winter. If they are in the middle they may work their way to one end and starve with stores at the other end. The bigger problems are having top bar hives in very HOT climates and yet people seem to do that as well. I have the most problems on the over a hundred degree F days when I have comb collapses.
I unfortunately don't have experience with bees in TBHs but i did find that quotation on one of the suggested websites.
I think what's probably the most important thing is the microclimate you put your TBH in.
Yes Nicola, that's exactly what I was worried about that they couldn't reach the other stores but good to know there's a way around it.
Patrick, what a simple solution and how effective! Love it.
I've got The Barefoot Beekeeper (and Beekeeping for All) and I feel quite keen to try the hTBH in that I like the idea that the nest isn't automatically exposed when you take the lid off, and that you slide the bars away from the main area of activity to look at them if necessary and so protect more bees from squidging. I have a WWOOFer coming from Oregon who's a cabinet maker so that might be a nice project for him to make one
I saw a Swedish dude on biobees.com forums who had kTBHs. He strapped on 2" thick polystyrene blocks on the sides and roof during winter. I saw a photo with what looked like about 2' of snow on and around the hives, and he said they survived the winter.
catch it before it slithers away! Oh wait, it's a tiny ad: