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Putting package bees in my top bar tomorrow. How many top bars do I use?

 
Al Senner
Posts: 59
Location: southeast SD (zone 4b/5a)
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I have a 4 ft. long top bar hive that Im stocking with a 3 lb. package of Italian bees. How far apart should I set my follower boards for introduction of bees?
 
Mike Cantrell
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Location: Mid-Michigan
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I don't use follower boards, and everything works out fine. Just dump 'em in there.



Your mileage may vary.
 
Rod Foster
Posts: 16
Location: Missoula, MT USDA Zone 4a
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Al Senner wrote:I have a 4 ft. long top bar hive that Im stocking with a 3 lb. package of Italian bees. How far apart should I set my follower boards for introduction of bees?


you have a kenyan horizontal top bar hive?

i would start w/ 10-12 bars...more if you need to make room for a sugar syrup feeder

if you feed make sure it's a 1:1 sugar:water ratio

an easy way to make a feeder is to get to sticks or board about half an inch thick and about 5 inches long and 1 inch wide...place on the bottom of the hive and grab a mason jar...grab a nail and pokes holes in the lid and pour syrup in jar and invert...bees will be able to suck that up till there's a good flow...you can add one or two feeders depending on the nectar flow in your area.

 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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I used 10 bars to start mine out. They have been in for about a month and are just now starting to fill that space, or about 30-40 liters. They are starting on bar 7 today. I know a lot of people successfully skip the follower board.
 
Rod Foster
Posts: 16
Location: Missoula, MT USDA Zone 4a
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my newly hived package has 7 bars of comb already drawn and one is fully drawn across the top bar...

i assume the queen will be laying any day now...i rec'vd the bees from gold star honeybees last tuesday
 
Al Senner
Posts: 59
Location: southeast SD (zone 4b/5a)
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thanks for the tips. 3 weeks later I have added all 25 top bars and removed the feeder. they are drawing comb like crazy. One odd thing though, the first 3 or 4 combs are perpendicular to the top bars but after that they are perfectly in line on the bars. when i tried to separate the first 2 bars i broke the comb and spilled some honey. is it safe to assume all of these 'crooked' combs will be full of honey when harves ttime comes?
 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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I think you are pretty fortunate that the bees went from making bad comb to straight comb. Do you have a window in your hive so you can keep a better eye on it? once the brood nest is expanded beyond the bad comb I would work on getting rid of it. If you are not worried about examining those bars you could just leave it as it though. Just make sure you are truly getting straight comb beyond.
 
Rod Foster
Posts: 16
Location: Missoula, MT USDA Zone 4a
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i'm w/ peter on this one.

get rid of the bad comb...that will only give you headaches.

 
mike ellison
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Hello. I also installed a pkg of bees this past weekend in a top bar hive. I used about 15 bars. Unfortunatly the bees have only built one small part of comb, about the size of a credit card. Also, they don't eat much of the sugar syrup i provided. I'm concerned they killed the queen but I may just be paranoid.
 
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