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Top Bar Hive Support


#1

Hi Matt, thanks for starting this forum. I have a couple of hives and I’m really interested in the top bar hive.

  1. how do you seperate the brood area from the honey

  2. in your opinion what is the best entrance

  3. 24" 36" or 48" and do you split the hive with 2 swarms

  4. queen excluder (probably relates back to 1)

Just wanted to pick your brain

  • Michael

#2

Michael,

Thanks for the first post!

  1. Even in my vertical hives (Langstroth and Warre) I run an unlimited brood nest and I’ve had NO issues with brood in my supers or in the comb I’m planning to harvest. The same goes for horizontal top bar hives. I start my colonies in one end of the hive (with the end follower board butted up against the end of the hive – to be discussed more in the next answer) and allow them to build in one direction, moving the second follower board over until they have the whole space. The bees usually build brood in the first 10-15 combs and after that it’s all honey storage. I harvest once they begin filling up the hive.

  2. I’ve tried both end entrances and side entrances and I much prefer side entrances for a number of reasons. First and foremost I like them in conjunction with two follower boards as it allows me to easily access both ends of the hive (brood and honey). With one follower board and an end entrance it can be difficult to access the first comb (the one right next to the entrance) as it may have attachments and tear apart. With a follower board in place I can pull the follower board and then cut off attachments if there are any. Secondly, ventilation seems to work better when they have 6 side entrances through which to fan air.

  3. The hives we sell are 42" and I wouldn’t recommend going any smaller. Many of my hives are 48" and I find anything between 42" and 48" provides ample space for honey surplus and the minimization of swarming. While I haven’t tried overwintering two colonies in one top bar hive, it can certainly be done, and this is another advantage of the side entrances. The issue will be that the colonies, once they start building up, will quickly run out of space and will need to be split.

  4. I see no need for a queen excluder in any hive.

Best,

Matt