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The Top Bar Hive: key features and benefits

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A look at a beautifully made top bar hive made by Paul MacDonald. I moved a colony of bees into this hive using an unorthodox method that I had never tried before... Paul can be contacted as follows: email - higherdruid@phonecoop.coop mobile - 07930 285690 home - 01364 642893
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Текстовые комментарии (35)
Gabi Star (18 дней назад)
Hello. What is the product that was used in coating? Diy or store bought? I just bought a huge top bar hive and need to prep it. Thank you!
Gabi Star (18 дней назад)
+Phil Chandler thank you Phil! That's very kind of you :)
Phil Chandler (18 дней назад)
A wax polish, made by a small outfit, somewhere in the UK. I will ask the builder when I see him.
WebbyWunda (6 месяцев назад)
Hello in glorious Devon from a Brit wilting in the already steaming hot (100F) Texas... As you know, unfortunately we have to contend with pests and intruders like varroa mites, wax moths, plus small hive beetles... so the advice most experienced American TBH beeks give 'noobees', like me and my husband, is to have the follow board set at around bar 8 - 10 when installing a 3lb package of bees, feed heavily to help out while they build 5 - 7 bars of full comb quickly, and then keep the follow board positioned so there are only ever two or three empty bars available, thus reducing the chance the bees might immediately decide the space is too big and abscond without settling in, and also make it easier for them to find and tackle intruders within the hive once they have set up home. I don't think you have SBH over the pond, do you? We've only had bees for one full year and though both TBH had a few beetles last summer they didn't seem to cause problems, not that we would necessarily know what to look for! We chose to be 'treatment free' so opted not to test for varroa mites and didn't see evidence of them. Sadly we lost one colony this spring due, we believe, to the colony having too few bees left to handle an unexpected, late cold snap. (They still had honey.) I suppose the low number of bees could have been caused by mites, but then again the other colony seems healthy... We will try to check drone comb this year to see if we can find intruders. Anyway, we found a couple of wax moths and several larvae trails in the dead colony's comb, but the whole lot is still stored in our freezer to kill anything else that might have been lurking, and the one bright side of the loss is a few combs full of honey which we can now harvest once we get the right sort of bucket. How is that cute little colony you installed in this splendid hive getting on? Do you think the initial and ongoing number of bars/amount of space matter to bees? No matter what, I'd love to see a follow-up video checking up on this hive, whenever you get time.
Phil Chandler (6 месяцев назад)
WebbyWunda That is far too hot for me! Anything above 90F and I melt. My preference is to stay 2-3 bars ahead of them. More than that and cross combing becomes more likely, but I've never had a colony abscond through too much space. I doubt that happens. Wax moth is not a big problem, especially in strong colonies. No SHB yet, thank goodness. Varroa is a nuisance, but we are working on breeding bees that can tolerate and/or remove them.
Freeman's outdoor adventures (8 месяцев назад)
Mr.Chandler this is my top bar hive I built from 100% recycled and repurposed materials https://youtu.be/Ui8_FEO3SyE
Phil Chandler (8 месяцев назад)
Freeman's outdoor adventures Thanks for the link. I will be interested to see how those perform.
Free to Speak (11 месяцев назад)
I don't know much about hives, but I do woodworking and that is beautiful. :)
TrusTIo TrusTiov (9 месяцев назад)
Free to Speak This is just superb, I been tryin to find out about "diy beehive stand" for a while now, and I think this has helped. You ever tried - Tiyia Beehive Basophilic - (search on google ) ? Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my mate got amazing success with it.
Phil Chandler (11 месяцев назад)
That's impressive. I have always enjoyed making things - I'm slowly building a camping trailer and a mobile workshop for my beekeeping work. Too cold here, too, for outdoor work at the moment, but come the spring, I will probably make a video or two about it.
Free to Speak (11 месяцев назад)
I made a dresser for my son last year. It was my first big woodworking project and i got hooked on it all. I love woodworking. It's too cold now where I live to build anything over the winter. But, over the summer I made some raised garden beds and covers and an outdoor structure for my cats.
Phil Chandler (11 месяцев назад)
What sort of things do you make?
Simon Kellam (1 год назад)
Lovely TBH. I have recently made my first one based on your periscope entrance idea which i like the sound of. However the other day i found a number of dead bees in the bottom, although the hive looks healthy. Not sure if this is because of the time of the season when the bees start reducing in numbers ?? On 2 occasions now when I have opened one end i have noticed a bee struggling to remove a dead bee by making its way up to the top.Do you think they my find it hard to eject dead bees with this type of entrance? I have now fitted your eco floor so I presume any dead bees will fall into that, decompose or get eaten by bugs etc. Do you think this is ok >? Cheers Simon
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
Simon Kellam Having a high-ish entrance does make more work for undertaker bees, as you observed, but the eco floor theory is that dead mites, bees and other matter will provide food for such as the Stratiolelaps mite, making it possible for the mite to reproduce and live as part of the hive eco-system.
Simon Curtis (1 год назад)
Hello Philip, it's my first year beekeeping with one hive and on my inspection this week I noticed varroa on the floor panel equal to 5 mites dropping per day.Would this be an infestation and as I wish to continue treatment free would I be naive in thinking that with dusting that the colony would survive the winter? Any advise would be great if possible. Thanks Simon
Simon Curtis (1 год назад)
Ok thanks, I have reduced the varroa count quite dramatically dusting them every 4 or so. So are your colonies now completely treatment/intervention free now?
Simon Curtis (1 год назад)
Ok thank you.
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
Dusting is quite effective if done 3x within about 2 weeks, to interrupt the mite's life cycle. I don't do it any more myself, though.
Hayley's Honeybee Diaries (1 год назад)
Hi Philip. I have a top bar hive and the combs keep falling off after hot days recently. What type of frames did you say you were using to glue onto the top bars please? I may need to think about doing that at some stage. My bees build so fast and the combs are huge and heavy. I keep trying to remove cross comb and brace comb but I feel removing the brace comb is weakening the hold and this may be adding to the combs falling off in the heat. I'd love some ideas if you have any. Feel free to see my hives in my videos. Many thanks :)
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
Near Totnes
Hayley's Honeybee Diaries (1 год назад)
I'm in Devon too! My hives are in Braunton. Where are you?
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
Hayley's Honeybee Diaries I am in Devon. Where are you?
Hayley's Honeybee Diaries (1 год назад)
Thank you Philip. It doesn't get quite that hot here in the UK, just the odd crazy high temperature on odd days, but I'll put some insulation under the roof tomorrow. Thanks for the tips and info, much appreciated :)
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
Hayley's Honeybee Diaries 1. You need insulation over your top bars, under the roof, to prevent overheating. 2. Do not I open your hive when the air temperature is above 35C. 3. Never allow bees to build comb right up to the ends of the hive, or you will not be able safely to lift the first bar. 4. Before moving any combs, check that they are not attached either to the sides or to the next comb. 5. Always move combs sideways before lifting them. 6. You need my book http://www.lulu.com/shop/philip-chandler/balanced-beekeeping-ii-managing-the-top-bar-hive/paperback/product-22484203.html
Thomas Robson (1 год назад)
it looks like (unless I'm mistaken) you use both vertical and horizontal (top bar) hives, which do you like the best, or do you like both types equally?
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
I do use both, and my preference is for the horizontal, as I find the bees tend to be better tempered and easier to handle, as the whole colony is never exposed at once. Having everything on one level is a boon as one gets older and less inclined to lift heavy boxes.
linoleum Bonypart (1 год назад)
Just not a natural hive set up...hives build vertically
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
I recently did a cut out where bees had occupied a space between joists only six inches deep by about five feet long and a little over a foot wide. They had been there for at least three years.
Woolie B's Apiary (1 год назад)
Love the hat! Another outstanding video!
Tappedline (1 год назад)
Very nice
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
I will add his contact info in the notes above.
dobe762 (1 год назад)
Thank you, have been speaking with Paul and hopefully transport will get sorted.
Phil Chandler (1 год назад)
dobe762 Yes, they are the same length.
dobe762 (1 год назад)
do the top bars fit the national hive? tia
dobe762 (1 год назад)
Philip, does Paul sell these hives? if so can you send me contact details please.

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