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Experimenting with Top Bar Hives

 
Burra Maluca
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Up until now we've been using a local version of the Langstroth hive, but my other half wants to experiment. So he's been busy playing in his shed...



And has emerged with this - his first top-bar hive. He calls it his honey-cow.



Followed closely by a second one, this time with a varroa mesh floor. The theory is that when the varroa mites fall off the bees, they will fall right through the mesh and not be able to climb back onto the bees. Dunno if it works, but he wants to experiment.



And he's cleared a bit of land ready to put them on. We're hoping that if we keep the cistus at bay, the place will fill up with lavender, and we can plant a few apricot and almond trees around the area for shade and blossom for the bees.



Now all he has to do is figure out how to take a split off one of the Langstroth colonies and get it into one of the top-bar hives...

All advice welcome!
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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looks like nice work!

Here is a link to a site with a video on a way to transfer a colony from langstroth-type boxes to a top bar hive. Not sure I agree with all of the info, but it was an interesting video.
http://www.annassweetnothings.com/index.html

I just started up our hybrid hives a few weeks ago:
http://wellheeledhills.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/starting-up-the-honeybee-hives/

The hives I built are hybrids between a Tasmanian style top bar hive and Langstroth. It can accept standard deep hive body frames (making the transition easy from a 5 frame nuc), but is managed and shaped more like a top bar hive. I also went with the screen mesh floor for the hive. I've had good luck with it before.

Good luck!
 
tel jetson
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you could let the Langstroths swarm. set the top bar hives up as bait hives, and the swarms might go directly to them. Morse and Seeley have some good recommendations for placing bait hives. if you've got some spare comb around that's had brood in it, rub that all over the inside of the new hives, and put them up as high as you can in a visible, but not overly exposed spot. lemongrass oil (Cybopogon citratus) in the new hive could help as well.

if they don't head right into the new hives, you've still got a fighting chance of capturing any swarms and hiving them yourself. I don't know when your swarm season is, but ours is about at its peak right now.

and I second the construction compliments. the hives look real nice.
 
Burra Maluca
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Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
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We already lost two swarms this year! One of the new colonies we bought was due to be split on the day of the forest fire but it decided to swarm instead. The swarm was last seen heading off into the distance while we were rather occupied with more pressing concerns, and the other one, again on the day we were going to split them (I think we're learning now - do them *before* we think they are ready!) flew temptingly to top of one of our pine trees, spent a few hours failing to be impressed with our bait hives, and then took off to our friend's place in the forest. He turned up pleased as punch the next morning asking for a trip to town to buy a new hive as he'd caught himself a swarm. It was kind of annoying, but as he'd lost a few of his hives in the fire we let him off!



Oh, and thanks for the compliments on the hive construction. I've passed them on and my other half is now sitting there with a smug grin all over his face. Our summers are so hot here that it's difficult to make 'precision' hives as the wood always warps and the joints tend to come apart, so we thought the top-bar type hives might be a better bet than the Warre type, which I think need to be a bit more precise. I think he's still going to have a go at them though, after he's got three or four top-bars going.
 
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