Post by jacquelinefreeman on Mar 7, 2010 16:17:57 GMT -7
I've got both kinds, top bar and warre, and can tell you my experience with the TBH. I had problems in springing with moisture causing mold in the combs that are far from the cluster because they didn't have good ventilation inside. I have friends who use the TBHs and love them. They are easy for humans, everything on one level, but for bee health, dampness can be a killer. Wasn't a problem in winter, just had it happen a few times in early spring when the warmth kicked in during the day. The flow hadn't started yet so even though there was activity in the hive, the bees weren't spread out to the farther combs and so they weren't spending time cleaning them like they'd do in flow.
I finally started putting screened bottoms on the TBHs and that helped, but I didn't want to leave the screens on all winter because the cluster would use up too much energy keeping the warmth in there so we made a sliding bottom that we slowly closed up in fall to help with heat retention. That seems to make a difference. Don't know if that's useful for other TBHers but it worked for the hives we were keeping.
The warre I only started last year so I don't have a lot of experience there yet but I'm learning fast as I can. I like the idea -- that they're more like the hollowed out apple tree that feral bees love. They're designed to make it easier for bees to keep warmth (for the brood) inside and to encourage pheromone scent permeation which keeps the bees calm and happy. So far they've been easy to use and the bees look pretty happy. I plan on starting a few more this spring in the warres.
i've heard that top bars "frames" can be put in an extractor, same as langstroth, only your extractor has to have a sturdy snug cage to support the wax... it's definitely not meant for mass honey production, but i don't think honey production should be industrialized.
and as far as the ventilation comment Thom made: "A big problem is that bees like to have their comb arranged so air can flow through the spaces from the entrance," you can put ventilation holes & or entrances on the long sides of a top bar allowing for air to flow through the combs.
that's what's exciting about top bar, you can experiment with the design as you're building it. as far as i can tell, beekeeping will always be an experiment. so it's fun to try new strategies. plus, i like the idea of being able to build a bee hive with scrap wood & a table saw for virtually nothing. it makes beekeeping available to anyone with the drive to do it. langstroth is perhaps not so readily accessible? a lot of words for a new bee ;D... seth
I just moved to Portland and cannot wait to get bees again. In BC, where we last lived, I had Warre hives, and I loved them. I used a fruit press to press the honey from the comb, and I still have a giant box of comb I need to process from last year. LOL
I am looking forward to setting them up again and am trying to decide if I want to get them now, in our rental, or wait until we buy a house - which might mean waiting another year.