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Horizontal Hives Horizontal and Top Bar Hives Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush.

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Presentation on theme: "Horizontal Hives Horizontal and Top Bar Hives Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush."— Presentation transcript:

1 Horizontal Hives Horizontal and Top Bar Hives Copyright 2007 by Michael Bush

2 Why Horizontal? No lifting of boxes needed

3 How do I build one? Build a long version of a standard Langstroth box of the depth of your current brood frames. If you build it in some increment of your standard equipment your current parts may be useful.

4 Management Differences: You will need to: Lift a lot less Check them more often. Insert empty frames in the brood nest to keep the brood nest expanding. Harvest less honey more frequently. Make sure the hive goes into winter full of stores. Make sure the cluster is at one end as winter starts. If you super, then to save lifting, keep the brood at the opposite end from the supers.

5 Supering I like to use top entrances and if/when supers are added, force them through the super.

6 Top Bar Hives Another option in a horizontal hive is to do only top bars with no frames.

7 Why a Top Bar Hive? Easy to construct because there are no frames Natural cell size for Varroa control. No lifting of boxes (horizontal hive). Less hive disruption because there are no gaps between the top bars.

8 Types of Top Bar Hives Tanzanian Top Bar Hive (TTBH)

9 TTBH Vertical sides. Can be made to handle standard sized equipment, making it possible to use resources from standard hives. No angles to deal with.

10 Types of Top Bar Hives Kenya Top Bar Hive (KTBH)

11 KTBH Sloped sides. Easy to construct. For a given depth the combs are easier to handle than the same depth with square corners. Cant use standard frames or standard equipment.

12 Top Bars The top bar is simply a flat bar with some kind of comb guide. The bar is the width of the comb and the beespace, so there are no spacers and no gaps between the top bars.

13 Comb Guides A Comb Guide is necessary to get the bees to build the comb on the bars instead of every which way.

14 Types of Comb Guides Starter strips.

15 Types of Comb Guides Triangular comb guide.

16 Wooden Starter Strip

17 Types of Comb Guides Wax Starter strip. Triangular guide. Wooden strip.

18 Construction of KTBH See Through Drawing

19 Construction of KTBH Parts List 2- one by twelves 46 1/2 2- one by twelves one by six 46 1/2 Any kind of lid 15" by bars 15" by 1 1/4" by 3/4 18 bars 15" by 1 1/2" by 3/4 34 triangles cut from the corner of a one by 3/4" by 3/4" by 1" by " long cedar or treated boards for stand. All cuts except for the triangles are square cuts.

20 Construction of KTBH The sides are one by twelves 47 1/4" long. The bottom is a one by six 47 1/4" long. The ends are one by twelves 15" long. None of the boards is ripped or beveled. They are just cut for length and nailed together.

21 Construction of KTBH







28 Construction of TBH Top Bar Width 1 ¼ brood (32mm). 1 ½ honey (38mm). OR 1 3/8 for all (35mm). OR 1 ¼ for all (32mm) with ¼ spacers for when the bees build the thicker.

29 FAQs Question: Some people say that TBH's don't winter well in cold climates. Do they?

30 FAQs Answer: They winter fine in Greenwood, Nebraska and Casper, Wyoming. The only argument people seem to have on them not wintering well is they say bees wont move horizontally. Yet the traditional hive in the Scandinavian countries is a horizontal hive, still popular there and still available from Swienty.

31 FAQs Question: Without a queen excluder how do you keep the queen out of the honey?

32 FAQs Answer: I don't use a queen excluder on regular hives either.

33 FAQs Question: How do you harvest the honey?

34 FAQs Answer: Crush and Strain Comb Honey Swienty has an extractor

35 Crush and Strain


37 Expense of Making Wax Richard Taylor on the expense of making wax: "The opinion of experts once was that the production of beeswax in a colony required great quantities of nectar which, since it was turned into wax, would never be turned into honey. Until quite recently it was thought that bees could store seven pounds of honey for every pound of beeswax that they needed to manufacture for the construction of their combs--a figure which seems never to have been given any scientific basis, and which is in any case quite certainly wrong…

38 Amount of wax to hold honey From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 41 "A pound ( kg.) of beeswax, when made into comb, will hold 22 pounds (10 kg.) of honey. In an unsupported comb the stress on the topmost cells is the greatest; a comb one foot (30 cm.) deep supports 1320 times its own weight in honey."

39 Richard Taylor on Comb Honey: A comb honey beekeeper really needs, in addition to his bees and the usual apiary equipment and tools, only one other thing, and that is a pocket knife. The day you go into producing extracted honey, on the other hand, you must begin to think not only of an extractor, which is a costly machine used only a relatively minute part of the year, but also of uncapping equipment, strainers, settling tanks, wax melters, bottle filling equipment, pails and utensils galore and endless things. Besides this you must have a place to store supers of combs, subject to damage by moths and rodents and, given the nature of beeswax, very subject to destruction by fire. And still more: You must begin to think in terms of a whole new building, namely, a honey house, suitably constructed, supplied with power, and equipped....

40 Richard Taylor on Comb Honey: "All this seems obvious enough, and yet time after time I have seen novice beekeepers, as soon as they had built their apiaries up to a half dozen or so hives, begin to look around for an extractor. It is as if one were to establish a small garden by the kitchen door, and then at once begin looking for a tractor to till it with. Unless then, you have, or plan eventually to have, perhaps fifty or more colonies of bees, you should try to resist looking in bee catalogs at the extractors and other enchanting and tempting tools that are offered and instead look with renewed fondness at your little pocket knife, so symbolic of the simplicity that is the mark of every truly good life."

41 FAQs Question: Some people say a top entrance lets the heat out. How do you do your entrances?

42 FAQs Answer: In any hive (top bar or otherwise) heat is seldom the problem. A top entrance in the winter lets out the moisture and cuts down on condensation. My hives (top bar and Langstroth) are all JUST top entrances.

43 FAQs Question: Does a KTBH have less side comb attachments than a TTBH?

44 FAQs Answer: In my experience no.

45 FAQs Question: How do you treat for Varroa?

46 FAQs Answer: I don't. I depend on the smaller natural cell size. But you can use most any method with a little adjustment, including drone trapping, powdered sugar, oxalic acid vapor, oxalic acid drizzling, etc.

47 FAQs Question: How do you feed them?

48 FAQs Answer: If you made the hive standard width (Langstroth dimensions) you can use any standard feeder, if not you can custom make the feeder. Baggie feeder on the bottom Frame feeder Top Feeder Bathtub bottom feeder

49 FAQs Question: What is different about the management of a top bar hive?

50 FAQs Answer: In addition to the previously covered horizontal issues: Keep combs hanging and dont turn them flat Check for attachments before you pull a comb

51 More information concerning top bars, crush and strain, natural cell size and Varroa, top entrances, horizontal hives, lighter equipment, queen rearing, general beekeeping, observation hives and many other topics. Many classic queen rearing books. Hubers New Observations on the Natural History of Bees

52 Contact bees at bushfarms dot com Book: The Practical Beekeeper

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