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Topbar hives and wasps

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I am considering trying a Topbar hive but wonder how do you deal with reducing the enterances to deal with wasps? My wooden hive bases i just reduce with any old block of wood and my Hive Doctor bases have the simple red disc to reduce the entrance. The topbar hive plans i like the look of has 3 holes for an entrance on the side - does one just jam wine corks in 2 of the 3 holes if wasps are giving the hive a hard time?

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You train up & buy some Vespex and KILL all the wasps !

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I intend saving up and doing the Vespex thing next year. The wasps were off to a slow start this season but are now going crazy for the Aphids on the willows by the river.

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There are several ways to reduce your top bar entrances, and the wine corks would be perfect, except that most wines you buy in NZ are screw top. But if you drink champers, you are all set.

Jokes aside, we keep the drilled out bits of wood when we make the entrances, to use as reducers/blocks. The small hole in the middle serves as 1 bee gap, and if we don't want a bee gap we put a piece of string through to pull the blocker later on. You can also use sponges, bunches of grass, etc...

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You can also set up a mesh over the entrance hole so wasps trying to burst through bounce back

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When cluster size reduces, or moves, in winter, the entrance hole / holes in a TBH are often away from the cluster. Meaning that on cold evenings or morning wasps have full and unchallenged entry to the hive.

 

What I recommend is block all the entrances and drill a new one, right where the bee cluster is. IE, there are bees right there against the new entrance hole. This has been very effective on friends TBH's who were having wasp issues.

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When cluster size reduces, or moves, in winter, the entrance hole / holes in a TBH are often away from the cluster. Meaning that on cold evenings or morning wasps have full and unchallenged entry to the hive.

 

What I recommend is block all the entrances and drill a new one, right where the bee cluster is. IE, there are bees right there against the new entrance hole. This has been very effective on friends TBH's who were having wasp issues.

I am helping out a new beek with a top bar hive. It came with two follower board. That means I can shift the bars to the entrance. Is it best to have the brood at the entrance?

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Yes, although the bees may have picked whatever part of the hive they are now in for some particular reason. But TBH's do sometimes need a bit of rearranginging due to the "longness" of them and if doing that yes, put the brood next to the entrance.

 

Reason for drilling a hole in TBH's for wasp control is the typical 3 entrance holes are sometimes lower than the cluster once things get colder, so the brood may be right next to the entrance but the entrance is too low to have bees right there. So to keep wasps out a higher one needs drilling.

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We have our entrance holes at the end of the hive (end face) and normally there will be three pollen combs either side of the brood nest. So, starting from the front that is 3 pollen, followed by brood combs, (typically ten) then another 3 pollen combs and behind that honey/nectar combs. The brood combs normally have a band of honey and pollen over the top of each one. The brood will move around in the course of the season.

 

However in our region we don't typically see any wasps during winter, just the odd hibernating queen wasp in a wood pile. We do see wasps and robbing prior to winter (right now). This season we have not had the usual robbing or wasp issues, but it is far from over.

 

However, in terms of winterising the hive, I remove all dry or unused combs and close down the whole hive to min volume. If they have moved back and put honey at the front, I move this to the back. In essence I'm moving the brood not drilling a hole. We don't get more than half a dozen frosts so, there is no brood break and bees are flying all year here. But I think if it gets really cold with a bunch of snow the wasps are less of an issue.

 

Some top bar hives have entrances in the middle of the long side, but I've never operated one like that, so I can't advise. In regards entrances we normally have four 22mm holes, but we plug all of them in case of robbing. The plugs have an 8mm centredrill hole up the centre which provides one bee gap entrance and it is a tunnel 27mm long. During winter there is not much hive traffic so we might normally plug up to three holes and leave one 22mm hole for them to defend.

 

In that scenario we put a stick, grass or rope up the centre hole of the three that are plugged. It is always an upper hole that we leave open not a bottom hole. Upper holes are said to be harder to block accidentally with dead bees, dead mice or some other problem. Reason for two follower boards is that it provides insulation and extra security during winter.

 

If a split is made during summer the two colonies each have their own follower board and an air gap between to keep pheremones apart. The hive has holes in the other end face for use during a split or for whatever reason a second colony is being housed. Last winter I had four Nuc's living in one hive like an apartment block, possibly keeping each other warm to some degree.

 

I certainly didn't hesitate to drill extra holes for the two in the middle. I drilled those holes (two each one high one low) at 40% and 60% so that holes were not side by side for each colony. So that is an example of drilling extra holes for a reason.. But I have moved away from the apartment block instead keeping Nuc's in short hives that contain 10-11 combs similar to a Jumbo Deep with tapered sides. The Nuc boxes have standard entrance discs with four options and it is easy to put those entrance discs on a big hive too.

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I am considering trying a Topbar hive but wonder how do you deal with reducing the enterances to deal with wasps? My wooden hive bases i just reduce with any old block of wood and my Hive Doctor bases have the simple red disc to reduce the entrance. The topbar hive plans i like the look of has 3 holes for an entrance on the side - does one just jam wine corks in 2 of the 3 holes if wasps are giving the hive a hard time?

Alternatively screw a Square flat piece ply or similar by its corner near the entrance and it can swing/slide over all or part of the entry to restrict access. Worked well for me.

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This is my wasp deterrent at the moment, it works quite well against robbing too. Entrances are due to be reduced as well though.

IMG_20170418_172846.jpg.393d4927271845105085e00fb6d56ffc.jpg

IMG_20170418_172846.jpg.393d4927271845105085e00fb6d56ffc.jpg

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This is my wasp deterrent at the moment, it works quite well against robbing too. Entrances are due to be reduced as well though.

 

looks good. Often screens like that are closed to the sides and open at the top so bees go down to get in.

I've taken some used queen cages and screwed them to the hive with a single screw so that the cage entrance is up.

I've removed the webs on the face over the hive entrance so they can go into the hive through 22mm round hole.

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looks good. Often screens like that are closed to the sides and open at the top so bees go down to get in.

I've taken some used queen cages and screwed them to the hive with a single screw so that the cage entrance is up.

I've removed the webs on the face over the hive entrance so they can go into the hive through 22mm round hole.

 

 

video

 

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