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Author Topic: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue  (Read 1242 times)

Offline hrtull

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Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« on: July 11, 2016, 07:23:49 PM »
New keeper/learner. So I built a top bar hive. Please see attachment. I built TB box to receive a standard 5 frame nuc instead of boxed bees. Nuc provider just a few miles from my location. Here is the problem. Per the attachment you can see that nuc frames are at a 90 degree angle to the top bars . I installed a nice healthy 5 frame nuc and bees only build comb parallel to the nuc frames, they will not build on the bars that are in front and at 90 degrees to nuc frames. So what I have to do is place bars beside and parallel to nuc frame and every week take 2 to 3 built combs  they produced and place them in front to  make progress filling hive box.  It has become unmanageable and I am trying to overcome problem. So I added an extension to the hinged top allowing enough room to place a short super above the 5 frame nuc which is stacked and parallel. I was hoping they would start filling the standard  super frames but they dont seem interested after 3 weeks. I tried feeding to bring them up but not working.  I believe had I used boxed bees they would have established the bars as expected and progressed down the TB box in order or cut the nuc frames to fit.  My attitude for the first year doing this was to learn about bees and less about  honey production. I am enjoying their behavior and that they do what they want to do and not necessarily what I want them to do. The hive is healthy and very active. Its very interesting. So that is the history and background information and here are the questions.  1) Is it too late in season to try and transfer hive into  standard langstroth brood box and super above. 2) is there enough room to do so per question one. 3) any advice on getting them to build into super in the TB per picture. 4) Should I just let things be and allow bees to do what they want and see what happens. 5) splitting maybe, dont know how to split. Any comments and advice would be appreciated. Thanks HT

Offline cao

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2016, 09:40:51 PM »
Welcome to th forum.  :happy: 
You have an interesting situation.  With any answer it would help if you put your location in your profile.  How many top bars do you have drawn out?  Are they finishing them once you have moved them? 

Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 10:24:30 PM »
I live just east of Columbus, Ohio.  I have about 12 drawn combs in various stages. About 6 or 7 fully drawn out. They are a mixture of brood ( egg, larvae, capped brood) and a mixture of capped honey mixed in. Some drone cells also.  The original 5 frame nucs are packed with everything , heavy and always packed with bees. Some of the combs at end bars had no activity as of last Saturday so I moved these combs to center. There appears to be activity on them now with activity throughout the TBars but nothing moving up to the super. Super has the black plastic frames fyi.  Excuse me if terminology is off. All I know is what I have read and youtubed. Another question I have is why there has been more drone activity the past few weeks. It went from never seeing drones at entrance to always having a few coming and going. Thanks for your reply, HT

Offline cao

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 12:51:44 AM »
I don't have any experience with top bars so hopefully someone else with experience will offer their advice.  If it is was my hive, I would remove the super if they aren't using it.  If the queen is laying in the top bar section, I would concentrate trying to get them to expand that.  I would put an empty bar between a couple that are fully drawn.  They should start to draw it out.  Just keep repeating as long as they continue to draw the comb.  I would assume that they will eventually move the brood nest out of the nuc and into the top bars.  Once they do they will backfill the nuc with honey.  Bees don't always do what we want them to as fast as we want them to. :wink:  I have a couple 5 frame nucs that just don't want to expand to the second box.  They just keep using those five frames over and over. 

As far as the drones go, it's normal to see drones this time of year.  Remember they will go from hive to hive looking for food and a room for the night.

Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 09:36:02 PM »
 I have a question regarding my original post and the issue with  the Top Bar hive.  I am in the process of building a Langstroth Long Box with the idea of transferring  top bar combs/bees and the original 5 frame nuc frames into this new box. This would put everything parallel in hopes of getting things aligned and manageable .  My approach is to put the original  5 frames ( these are loaded with a mixture of brood, capped honey and all other stages and 100% bee coverage) in the center,   place 2 standard frames with foundation on each side and then   place  6 top bar combs on the sides of standard frames. This would be a mixture of 21 various frames.  Im hoping they will start developing the  new foundation  frames  and I can start slowly  removing top bar frames and continue adding new standard frames.      ttttttffnnnnnfftttttt        t= top bars with drawn comb/bees  .   f= new foundation frames. n = 5 frame nuc.  My main goal is to get things in order for next Spring, assuming Winter survival. Then getting everything onto foundation frames next Spring or possibly by this Winter.  My questions 1) Does this idea seem possible. 2) When I transfer by placing new box right beside existing box will straggler bees find new box ( assuming queen has been successfully transferred),  will there be an orientation issue. 3) what is best time of day to do this. Any comment or suggestions would be appreciated, Thanks HT

Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 06:28:12 AM »
I am going to transfer TB to Lang Longbox per my previous replies. My approach is to replace new Lbox in exact location and transfer all frames and combs with bees. Then move old TB several yards away. My questions 1) will straggler bees find their way to new box. 2) any suggestions on doing this transfer would be appreciated Thanks HT

Offline little john

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 10:12:04 AM »
From the point-of-view of a hive swap, bees fall into two categories: young bees and older bees.

Young bees haven't been out flying yet, and so will stay wherever you put them.  Older bees, on the other hand, have been out flying and have thus oriented to a hive entrance location - which, having done this, means that they will auto-locate towards that location - even if it looks different.

So - simply place your new hive in the old position, with it's entrance as near as possible to the position of the old entrance, and facing in the same direction.  This isn't critical, but the nearer it is to the original, the better,

Place the old hive as far away as you like - a few yards is fine.  Then move your bees.  Any residual bees (there's always some) can be scooped-up using a brush and a scoop made from a plastic milk jug.  Then, just tip 'em in.

When the foragers return, they'll simply enter the new hive - there may be a little hesitency at first, but they'll soon adjust.  It's usual to get some clustering around the entrance for a couple of hours, as they become aware that 'something here isn't quite right' - but again, they'll soon adjust to their new home.

If any bees do choose to fly over to the old hive, then providing the entrance to it is blocked, they'll soon figure out where the rest of the girls are now living.
LJ
 
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Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 05:38:26 PM »
Little John, Thank you so much for your reply. It was the information I needed.  Much reading and searching headed me in this direction  but left me hanging.  Your reply clarified  the procedure and that is the way I will do it. I will post a few pics and the results, once again Thank You , HT

Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 06:58:11 PM »
Little John, Transfer worked exactly as you instructed. All bees in new box and now organized. Going to leave them alone for a week or so and let them do their thing. Attached are a few pics of new L Lang and the original Top Bar. All frames and bars are now parallel. Combs were crossed and bottom had a spider web of combs on Top Bar hive. I feel it was probably good to have done this. Wanted to say thanks again and have a great day, HT

Offline hrtull

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 08:15:38 PM »
In reference to previous post/replies I have a few question in hopes someone could answer.  I transferred top bar hive to a lang long hive in late July. I placed the original 5 frame nuc and all top bars in long lang. Top bars were a mixture of brood, some capped honey and several empty combs.  Upon checking all frames/bars the combs remained empty but still a lot of capped brood but not nearly enough honey for winter coming.  So I started feeding 2:1 sugar to water syrup about 8 days ago.. They are consuming a 4 pound bag of sugar plus water  a day. They are filling empty combs with syrup per expectations. My Questions 1) Will they build combs in this Fall weather for added storage as they are filling things up fast. 2) Will they stop brooding and start filling those combs. 3) ) What can I generally expect to happen/ what course should I take.  4) Should I add some standard foundation frames. Also the Golden Rod is starting in full bloom and lots of activity there. Thanks for any advice, it has been much appreciated in the past, HR Tull

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 12:52:29 PM »
"Another question I have is why there has been more drone activity the past few weeks. It went from never seeing drones at entrance to always having a few coming and going."
When the bees reach a certain number and they have sufficient food supplies and a good flow coming in, they start making drones. If you have worker brood and drones, it is a good indication you have a healthy hive.
Jim
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Offline little john

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Re: Top Bar with Langstroth 5 Frame Nuc Issue
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 01:58:07 PM »
With reference to reply 8 - thanks for the thanks - it's aways good to hear when things work out accordng to plan.

Reference reply 9 - bees need fairly high temperatures in order to mould their wax secretions into comb, so it's highly unlikely that they'll be drawing any comb now, especially in a horizontal hive where ascending warmth is spread out across a much larger area than in a vertical hive.  So my guess is that your girls will settle for those combs already in place - which is around 12 ?  That should be enough for them to winter on.

There are four steps which can be taken prior to winter which gives bees the best possible chance of survival:

The first is to ensure that the colony is large enough. With only one colony there's not much that can be done to change this - but if you had (say) two very small colonies, then it would be wise to combine them into one larger colony.  I agree with Jim (reply 10) that as your colony has drones present, that's an indication that it's reached a healthy size - and even from this distance I'd say big enough to stand a very good chance of making it through to spring.

The second step is to ensure that adequate stores are in place, and it sounds as if you have this well in hand.  Raising brood is very expensive (in terms of energy requirements) so yes, it can be expected that brooding will reduce (and maybe even stop altogether) as 'winter bees' live for several months, and so from the colony's point-of-view combs are much better employed holding stores. 

The third step is to reduce the occupied hive volume to a minimum.  Assuming you have a partition (follower) board, then place that behind the 12th (or last) comb.  The idea of using a partition board over the winter period is to provide a 'thermal curtain' to retain heat given off by the clustered bees, in order that they will then need to generate less heat by the burning-up of stores.

I used to make partition boards which were a precision fit, which is none too easy in vertical-sided hives, but here's a pic of what I've recently started to use:




The sides are made from soft PVC, stapled over a strip of foam rubber.  These then take up any irregularities in hive width.  The top needs to be sealed as well as possible to the crown board (inner cover), again, so as to keep the heat in.  I leave a two inch gap at the bottom, to allow any wayward bees to easily rejoin their sisters.

An alternative to the partition board/ thermal curtain, would be to fill the excess space with cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic and well taped down.
 
The fourth step is to insulate the top of the hive - either with sheets of expanded polystyrene, old hessian (burlap) sacks, or whatever form of insulation is available.

All of my Long Hives (except one) has a feeder shell between the hive and roof which allows the installation of expanded polystyrene insulation and overhead jar feeders.  This one - a KTBH converted to a dual deep framed Long Hive - is that single exception, and is the nearest I have to your own hive shape:





As you can see, there's just enough room under the pitched roof for a handful of hessian sacks and a couple of jar feeders.

Hope at least some of the above helps.
LJ
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