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  Wednesday, 31 May 2017
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Wondering if anyone in Vermont, New Hampshire, or north-eastern New York is selling top bar nucs?
5 years ago
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#2416
Hi, I had a top bar hive 4 years ago - started from a packsge- made from a blue barrel an left over lumber.I really enjoyed it an consider it a positive experience in the first of my 4 year learning curve (so far).
I was told by the previous VT bee inspecter, that top bars have a low success rate because bees like to move up an cluster to stay warm an access their food. My blue hive seemed to get real strong but died along with my two Langston hives that spring. They all had honey. Present. Harvested 73 lbs from the Langstroths in April. Zero from the top bar cause mice got in.
I have never seen or heard of anyone with top bar nukes. you may still be able to get a package through the mail if you Google bee packages in Georgia or Carolina s.
Or maybe call Northwoods in Westfield vt, They are members an are listed under the bees an equipment tab on this site.
Maybe a more experiennced member could comment and/ or have more ideas??
ARE YOU TRYING TO SAVE EXISTING? MAYBE add a queen?
Good Luck.
5 years ago
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#2417
Hi Jim, I am concerned that the package we installed in our top bar hive on May 21 may not have a queen. If that's the case we are going to get a very late start. I was thinking if we could pick a top bar nuc it might get our hive back on track.
5 years ago
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#2418
Hi, I'm not sure of your experience level, so I may over state. My thoughts.
If you still have a cluster of bees, you may have a queen.you would have to do an inspection to find out. To do an inspection you will need to take the hive apart
#1 prepare yourself an think through how you will do this.
#2 protect yourself minimum of headnet gloves an sugar water in spray bottle-- preferable, bee suit an smoker.
#3Assemble tools: hive tool, I like a 10 inch bladed kitchen knife to cut sides of comb away from sides an to separate top bars if necessary . Water pump pliers or vice grips can help. Lift the top bars when free. Fingers probably work best.If you need force you will probably tear comb.keep the new soft comb in a balanced position so it won't tear from the top bar.
It's been over 10 days so your queend should have been released from the cage. (You can remove cage-- make sure she rrleased.
You will be looking for evidence of the queen which may include; seeing the queen, (HELPS a lot if she was ordered marked) you don't have to see her to see evidence but you should look every time to practice an to train your eye.--if you know where she is you can be careful not to crush or lose her.--
Check each Fram left to right, top to bottom, for eggs- looks like rice in a cell, lava- may look lIke it has eyes.
capped brood, where cell is capped after 7 days usually tan in collor.
capped honey will often be capped white.
Eggs are hard to see without magnification. And the right light.Lava with naked eye once you know what your looking for.Capped brood is easier.
If you see any of these things, stop, put frames back just like they were an leave alone for 7 days. PLAN your next inspection now.try to do bettet, learn more for next time.
Check u tube for what you just did. What you should do in 7 days.
If your queen is alive an you add another queen, one will have to die. So it's important to know before you do anything. Plus if your queen is dead now,the bees may make another one in about 16 days.Then she will have to fly off to get bred.
Best to be patient an let the bees "Bee". Good Luck, Jim.
Ps, sense you are a member,you may want to. find a mentor near you.-- In the Members only tab, check mentors an get a tel. # near you. Top bars are different from what most use.
You can also call me between 7p.m. an 9 p.m. tonight or 10a.m to noon, during the week.
VT area code plus 323- 7474
5 years ago
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#2419
Hi Jim, Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. The combs aren't built all the way out to the edges yet and the combs are hanging straight so I haven't had any trouble removing the top bars to inspect. My husband takes high resolution photos of the combs so that we can study and continue our search for the queen. I did an initial inspection after three days. The queen cage was empty at that point. I posted a photo just now under the "every picture tells a story' post showing what we fear are two eggs in some of the cells. If we have a non-queen laying will they still raise a new queen? We've located two open queen cells at this point.

I really appreciate your suggestion to let the bees "Bee". That may be all that is needed.
5 years ago
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#2420
Hi, I hope I'm helping. By the way, my words an punt u at ion are sometimes changed as I type due to some unknown phantom computer.gremlin???
It's my understanding that a new queen sometimes lays more than 1 egg in a cell when getting started.Not a concern.. A worker laying is a concern, there are things to try but success rate is low-- too early to tell at this point. I have a good picture of this on Google plus but can't figure a way to post it here. (Also have 40+pics of top bar hive from building through dead out in may.)
Most hives continuously build queen cups, then they tear them down an build another. Seems I've read if you find 5 start watching closer. ITS Not A CELL UNTIL THERE IS EGG OR LAVA IN IT.
Cups may be a way of keeping the queen on notice??
If you find a closed cell an also a queen, there is most likely to be a swarm. -Best if you catch it
As it leaves or shortly after (that's a whole new book)
my top bar hive seemed to move real slow especially compared to the Langstroth, hives with waxed foundation. That makes scene to me now that I know that it takes 7 times more pollen an effort to build wax comb then it does to make honey.-- when I had resigned myself to the slow progress, there was an explosion of development an population I wasn't expecting.
In contrast, I recently did a 21 day check on the Langston hives.Each have 6 frames of capped brood on both sides of the frames.one had queen cups an 2 queen cells , one closed.It I did find the existing queen still in the hive so I removed all cups an cells an added 10 frames of drawn comb to give her more room to lay eggs- hoping she won't swarm an take half the hive with her.I don't think she will because she has room an may be reluctant to leave brood behind.
At 21 days I expect about 2000 bees + to emerge each day for the next 6 days an hope the queen will keep up her good work. Will maintain a feeder an be optermistic about next 7 to 10 day inspection when I will add check for mites an add honey super..
Seems like you have your head in the game. May help to u tube "Fat bee man" making queens. (Short video)
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