If you want to stand out among your neighbors you start keeping bees. If you want to stand out among beekeepers you do it on a TBH. The Top bar Hive has also become the hive of choice for most organic beekeepers. Here are my plans for my TBH, and below are some steps on how I build it, and background history of my TBH. First I should give credit where credit is due. The base for my plans came from http://www.biobees.com/ - Check them out, great site “about sustainable, chemical-free, small-scale, 'organic' beekeeping, using simple equipment that almost anyone can make at home.” Hey!!!!!! They are right; I did build it myself at home. Also, check out http://www.bwrangler.com/bee/index.html for information that leads me to my conclusions about what I think might work for me. Here’s what influenced my design:
· Florida beekeepers keep one deep brood in Florida - So a smaller TBH should work better here. I built the smaller 36” version and I modified the trapezoid dimensions to give me a volume slightly larger than a deep box hive.
· Hot and humid weather means more ventilation required – so I built a screen bottom.
· Small Hive Beetles control - Building inspection/ trap drawer
· How to provide support to it– Cover can slide back to allow placement of hollow top bar that gives access to a medium supper, deep body, or place a NUC above it to provide drawn out frames of pollen, honey, or brood from the Lang hives
· How it provides support to my Langs - The length measurements of the Top bars is the same as the length of a standard frames. Top bars will fit in standard Deep body hives.
My 1st Mod to the original design was to replace the peak roof to simple and flat. The split on the roof made it hard to seal for rain. I placed the hive out in the bee yard in the 2008 season. It quickly led to my second Mod which was my choice of color.
I was successful in introducing a colony by sliding back the top and replacing the 1st bar with a hollowed out bar that allowed access into a Nuc placed on top of the bars. Unfortunately my choice of a purchased Australian queen did not work out. The bees were particularly gentle and hard working. Gentle in this case proved that nice gals finish last. The colony hardly fought back against the Small hive beetle, and eventually the colony collapsed.
After the colony collapsed I brought the hive back in the shop for more changes. I replaced the gutter screen with 1/8 hardware cloth. I shortened the inspection drawer board and in its place to close the bottom I put 1/8 hardware cloth. I believe too many pests were infiltrating the hive from underneath.
The picture shows the hardware cloth on the bottom, entrance at far end, and starter strips above.
Area below living quarters for ventilation and to place lures/traps for small hive beetles.
I furthermore gave the hive a better coat of paint, removed it from the post stands and moved it side by side with my Lang hives. Right now I’m waiting for one of my 2 purchased packages to try again.