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Thread: Top bar hives

  1. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    A few things. There's a high cost involved in running colonies on natural comb...
    Thanks for the explanation, Prakel. That makes plenty of sense. I've heard Murray on the subject of starter strips, I think that "false economy" might have been the phrase he used.
    For various reasons, honey crops haven't featured much in my first 4 seasons of beekeeping. One reason is that I really like the bees I have, so I like raising colonies to pass on to other people. (By the same token, I like seeing their drones around.) Another reason is that the yield I've most wanted from them so far is experience of bees, & of working with bees & of bee behaviour. Wild comb certainly provides quite a dose of that!
    ...but I don't want to just keep bees as pets forever, I want them to make a contribution to the local (human) food supply, so I'll have to face the wax/efficiency question someday. Good to have those reference s, thanks. I'm really interested in the idea of using plain sheets of wax - don't think I've heard of that one before. That would answer one of the things I'm looking for, which is to let the bees choose their own size of cells. An experiment for next season, maybe...

  2. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    I suppose I'll have to increase the varroa treatments now that I'm using foundation again.
    Are you serious, or joking? So far I've found Michael Bush's advice on managing longhives, managing wild comb, and comb guides really good. I'm planning to try wild comb nests for at least a couple of years (or should that be, a couple of complete changes of comb?) to find out whether I can replicate his reports of reduced varroa numbers with smaller cells,
    but I was pretty much assuming it was too much to hope for.
    Generally speaking, I try not to believe miracle bee health claims made about natural comb. Witness today's news - really, really sorry to hear that, madasafish.

  3. #73
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    The British Mike B is not a small cell devotee though
    But he's very experienced at rescuing stray bees on natural comb; wacking them in a box and then farming them out on pollination contracts -without any loss of resistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma View Post
    ...but I don't want to just keep bees as pets forever, I want them to make a contribution to the local (human) food supply, so I'll have to face the wax/efficiency question someday. Good to have those reference s, thanks. I'm really interested in the idea of using plain sheets of wax - don't think I've heard of that one before. That would answer one of the things I'm looking for, which is to let the bees choose their own size of cells. An experiment for next season, maybe...
    This is where choices need to be made. Nothing at all wrong with not wanting honey from your bees if you're more interested in other aspects of their life cycle but equally, there's no shame in wanting to take a harvest from them.

    There's a thread on this forum about blank foundation sheets started by mellifera crofter: Wax

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma View Post
    Are you serious, or joking? So far I've found Michael Bush's advice on managing longhives, managing wild comb, and comb guides really good. I'm planning to try wild comb nests for at least a couple of years (or should that be, a couple of complete changes of comb?) to find out whether I can replicate his reports of reduced varroa numbers with smaller cells,
    but I was pretty much assuming it was too much to hope for.
    Generally speaking, I try not to believe miracle bee health claims made about natural comb.
    Tongue in cheek might be a good description of my comment. MB's site has got some interesting ideas, the section containing transcripts of old books by different authors, which he's made freely available, is especially good. Not sure off the top of my head what his experience with horizontal top-bar hives is but if I was wanting to learn about them I'd be looking towards Wyatt Mangum's site as a primary online reference:

    200 Top-Bar Hives: The Low-Cost Sustainable Way


    Quote Originally Posted by Emma View Post
    Witness today's news - really, really sorry to hear that, madasafish.
    Equally. I hope that you can get on top of the situation locally before more damage is done.

  4. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    There's a thread on this forum about blank foundation sheets started by mellifera crofter: Wax
    Fantastic thread, thanks for pointing it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    MB's site has got some interesting ideas... Not sure off the top of my head what his experience with horizontal top-bar hives is...
    Michael Bush makes a really nice analysis of the advantages (in his view) of wild comb in stacks of framed boxes vs framed longhives vs topbar longhives. For him, the only reason for preferring topbar to a framed longhive is cost & ease of construction. He's very positive about longhives.

    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    ...but if I was wanting to learn about them I'd be looking towards Wyatt Mangum's site as a primary online reference:
    200 Top-Bar Hives: The Low-Cost Sustainable Way
    Ironically, what puts me off Wyatt Magnum's book is the cost! It's nice to be reminded of his site, though. He's great on bee trash :-) I'll buy the book when I'm sure I have time to read it. My other misgiving is over his hive design. It speaks to me of reliably hot summers, and straightforwardly cold winters, and not a lot in the way of high winds or horizontal rain. That means I'd need a different hive design to his, and that some of his management ideas just might not work here.

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    But he's very experienced at rescuing stray bees on natural comb; wacking them in a box and then farming them out on pollination contracts -without any loss of resistance.



    This is where choices need to be made. Nothing at all wrong with not wanting honey from your bees if you're more interested in other aspects of their life cycle but equally, there's no shame in wanting to take a harvest from them.

    There's a thread on this forum about blank foundation sheets started by mellifera crofter: Wax



    Tongue in cheek might be a good description of my comment. MB's site has got some interesting ideas, the section containing transcripts of old books by different authors, which he's made freely available, is especially good. Not sure off the top of my head what his experience with horizontal top-bar hives is but if I was wanting to learn about them I'd be looking towards Wyatt Mangum's site as a primary online reference:

    200 Top-Bar Hives: The Low-Cost Sustainable Way




    Equally. I hope that you can get on top of the situation locally before more damage is done.
    Thanks..

  6. #76
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris View Post
    I have found (though with only one Warré I can't extrapolate) that because the bees are rarely visited, when they are they seem to resent it, and treat me much more badly then my Dadant bees .
    Quote Originally Posted by chris View Post
    Marc Gatineau who was abee farmer working only Warrés invented his lift to save his back. I was talking recently with his daughter who has taken over from him. She admitted that for a long time now she has been running Warré hives like other hives.Bottom 2 boxes for brood, and others added on top when necessary like supers. She also uses frames. So, it would seem that the only (dis)advantage of a Warré is its size. I presume it's too small for yellows, as Adam points out.
    Chris, how do you find your warre and dadants compare (other than the current temper issues). I seem to remember you writing, a year or two ago, that the warre had out performed the dadants so far as surplus honey was concerned. Is that your usual experience with them?

    I've been thinking along similar lines as Gatineau jr for some time now; using warre type boxes with frames and top supering but placing the emphasis on using them as mating nucs with a possible, small, honey harvest before uniting for winter. I've not got as far along this road as I'd hoped -yet, but the idea is certainly evolving.

  7. #77
    Senior Member chris's Avatar
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    Hi Prakel.Here is my finding, though I stress that with only one Warré it's probably worse than useless. I think it's "horses for courses".I don't have an early big flow like osr.I'm in the countryside with fields,hedges and variety of food. My colonies are blacks, and tend to be fairly small. They manage to fill a Dadant, but not for long, and not every year.The crucial difference comes in winter. Although the dadant and Warré colonies produce roughly the same quantity of honey,the bees overwinter on much less in the Warré, so my part is larger. For me that is advantage no.1. The other advantage is the one size box system. if I had larger colnies, I'd use the same system but with larger hives.The REAL downside of the Warré is the top bar palaver.Inspections are a must,and with top bars it's just not realistic. For this year, it's too late what with moving and other hassle, but my system from nexy year on will be as follows. I have already given away all my Dadants except one to my son in law.I shall start up again with just a few Warrés, but with frames.I'm not sure yet whether I'll super or nadir or a combination of both depending on flow. I shall limit my inspections to using a building frame though I'm not sure yet if this will be on the edge of the brood nest or behind a window.

    As for queen raising it's not my thing, but Gatineau thinks that a one box Warré system is ideal for it.
    http://apiculturegatineau.fr/photo_8.html

  8. #78
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Chris. Your comparisons are interesting enough. There's a German guy who's running a business with a lot of Gatineau type hives. His attitude is very much that any hive is just a tool which seems to be your position too.

    After seeing how well the mini-plus mating hives work my mind started looking at ways of harnessing the surprising potential of such a small unit. This in turn led me to various warre sites (and a few old books) but it was the site which you linked that really started to add some flesh to my ideas.

  9. #79

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    If you wanted free comb drawn that isn't drone size then a pretty safe bet is a swarm
    The fishing line frames I plonked in this year were drawn worker anyway
    Just a thought

  10. #80
    Senior Member chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris View Post
    That is the beautiful theory of how the bees build downwards onto fresh comb for the brood box and leaving boxes of honey on top. .................As for me, I added a box (no.3) underneath at the end of winter, and this year will add boxes on top when the flows start.
    The 3rd box, underneath, is only partly touched. The boxes 4 and 5 which I added on top at the beginning of the lime flow (which ran straight into the lavender flow) are, on today's inspection, both full of honey.
    Perhaps when the flow is good, the brood nest can't go down quickly enough, and as bees prefer to store above the brood, supering is more logical than nadiring at this time?

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