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Building a bee hive

 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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One of my winter projects is building a bee hive. We have a langstroth, but I'm interested in building a top bar hive. Looking for thoughts from people who have done it, as I seem to be unable to choose a particular plan!

I love the idea of a warre hive, but worry about the lifting involved.
 
                    
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I dont hvae topbar plans, but

I had the same thought about lifting the warre, and thought if I had a dolly with a lifter on it that it would be OK. And then I found this:

http://warre.biobees.com/lift.htm

its on wheels. it works with a winch. work smart, work lazy

if you can build the warre, or topbar, you can build the lifter on a dolly with some wood, I think.

If I go with a warre hive, Ill fab a metal one onto an existing dolly.

sorry if that only confuses things again 
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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biobees.com they have good plans.

I prefer top-bar, they are easier to manage.  Warre is good, but the lifting and small size of the hive make me go towards horizontal or Perone hive.
 
            
Posts: 75
Location: Ontario, Canada (44.265475, -77.960029)
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A depository of over 276 different beehive designs, 93+ plans for beekeeping equipment and bee hives
 
                                  
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My husband and his friend Jerry built us some top bar hives and I really love the way the bees build the heart shaped comb.  Our hives have a long observation window on the side with a shutter to keep out the light when we aren't looking in.  The window is great to show people the bees in action because it perfectly to approach the hive from the side without suiting up.  You can just bring up a chair and watch the bee dances.

What I don't like about the topbar is that when you are replacing the bars, it takes a lot of jiggling and patience to avoid squishing bees.  I have an article on my blog about doing a conversion that failed to get the topbar converted to a langstroth: http://billyandanuttama.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/top-bar-hive-conversion-to-langstroth-hybrid/ ; Sometimes the most valuable experiences are failures, but I think it is better to read about someone else's failures than to have my own.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Thanks everyone for the sources. There's such an embarrassment of riches!

I am very intrigued by the hybrid designs which add supers to a horizontal top bar hive. Anuttama, what exactly about your experiment failed? Did the bees refuse to move up into the super?

Jacqueline Freeman sent me a link to a guy who builds a horizontal top bar hive with a sloped roof and a warre quilt. In our rainy climate, that makes a lot of sense to me.
 
                                  
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Yes, I did two top bars with Langstroths on the top.  One was towards the front of the topbar and the other in the rear.  They did build some comb, but never moved upstairs.  But you don't know if you don't try.  I'll always keep a topbar because they are so cool to show people the bees through the window, but think they are more work than the Langstroth.

We don't use foundation, except about 1/2 inch at the top of the Langstroth frames.  That way the bees can decide the size of the cells which in theory keeps them healthier.  We've also been giving our bees a frosting made from Crisco and powdered sugar with some wintergreen.  This is supposed to lubricate the wings of the workers, making them last longer and it is supposed to be detrimental to mites.  I'm fairly new to bee keeping, but am willing to try different things.
 
duane hennon
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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a top bar hive built from 55 gal plastic drum

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/barrel-top-bar-hive/
 
                    
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Im building Warre hives; curious to know if anyone thinks there is a better choice of wood than cedar for this project? most sources ive found online tout it, and I have access to local cedar. any reasons the bees might perfer another wood?

nice re-purposiong of that barrel- how does it seem to be working, Duane? is insulation an issue where you live? with my 5f for a week or two every winter, I'd be concened about insulation using plastic.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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