Top Bar Hive Build.....

Beekissed

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Ideally, that's the way I'd like to gain a hive. Just think of the hardiness of the feral bees out there! I've heard of folks going out of their way to capture feral bees so they can crossbreed their queens into them to make a more gentle, but still hardy and hygienic, bee stock, but I've never seen it firsthand.
 

FarmerD

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currently nearly half of our genetics are feral/survivor stock. the other half is small cell. as for the aggressiveness..... while i agree that feral is somewhat aggressive, i can be mitigated by hive design. for example, the same genetics i have in langs will light you on fire if you crack the brood nest. clouds of bees everywhere and guard bees pinging off your gloves and veil continuously. when i work my mother in law's langs those bees usually get me atleast a couple of times, and she normally wants to give up looking in the brood nest after the second hive or so. swarms of those exact hives, when hived in TBH, are MUCH easier to work. while there might be a few bees flying while you work, they arent aggressive. if i were such a coward, i know i could work with no gloves..... probably no veil either. the difference is in the lang you're exposing 9-10 frames of pissed off bees at once, but in the TBH just one. that one little change makes the world of difference.

as for catching swarms, the trick is not only to use lemmongrass oil or some other attractant in a previously occupied hive with some old comb. i have brand new hives with comb and attractant and they get some interest, but not like the older used hives setup the same way!
 

Beekissed

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That's some good info! I'll keep that in mind about the old comb and hive.

How do your TBH lids operate that it only exposes one frame at a time? Slider tops?
 

FarmerD

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heres how i work one......
when you remove the metal roof, youre looking at the tops of all the top bars. at this point, only the bees going in and out of the entrance are flying around.....

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then i find the follower (its the only bar with staples or screws in it. this represents the back of the hive. i remove a few bars from behind it and slide it back leaving a gap between the follower and the active hive bars.....

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at this point, i can remove the bars one at a time with all the bees on it, and none of the other combs full of bees respond to me pulling a comb out. the bees on one side of the last comb i inspected, the bees on one side of the next comb to be inspected, and the comb im inspecting are the only ones exposed at any given time. this is FAR less intrusive than cracking lang boxes apart and staring at 9-10 full frames of bees at once.


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ill try and remember to snaps some pics the nexrt time im working through a hive and show how it looks when real live bees and comb are involved
 

Beekissed

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I agree! That's how I did my TBH as well, with very little disturbance of the more active part of the hive. I'd just do a quick peek to see if I needed to add another bar in that section, then I'd do so and put it all back the way it was. When you were talking about none of the rest of the hive being exposed I thought maybe you didn't expose the top of your bars at all but would just slide back the hood only to the areas you were working.

And I agree about the bees....they never really seemed to care about my very minimal intrusions into the back of the hive. I used to watch my parents with their Lang hive and it was quite the big hullabaloo, with bees darting everywhere...made me nervous.
 

FarmerD

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we normally go through the entire hive..... every single bar. this time of year is especially important to be on the look out for swarm cells that can be anywhere in the brood nest. if im really press for time, ill just crack open the back of the brood and look until i find either the queen or fresh eggs, then ill close it up
 

Denim Deb

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I found wild bees once and couldn't remember where they were when I went looking for them.
 
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