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ChrisM

Solid floor versus Mesh floor in a Top Bar Hive

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ChrisM    597

Discussing solid floor and mesh floors I'm interested to know what people use in their top bar hives and why. Particularly if they have used both in their top bar hives and have made a comparison.

 

Our first top bar hive had a mesh floor. After reading on the subject of ventilation and condensation from various sources, the Ed Clark book: Constructive beekeeping : Clark, Ed. H : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive being the best. So, subsequently I've not made a mesh bottom top bar hive since and I converted the first one to solid floor about a year or so later.

 

Anecdotally, it appears I am in the minority since most seem to be mesh floors. So, asking top bar hive beekeepers, what is the appeal of a mesh floor? Have you tried both?

 

Migratory Lang beekeepers have a different set of requirements keeping bees cool and contained during transport. I'm only talking about top bar hives fixed in a permanent apiary.

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dansar    4,076
Discussing solid floor and mesh floors I'm interested to know what people use in their top bar hives and why. Particularly if they have used both in their top bar hives and have made a comparison.

 

Our first top bar hive had a mesh floor. After reading on the subject of ventilation and condensation from various sources, the Ed Clark book: Constructive beekeeping : Clark, Ed. H : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive being the best. So, subsequently I've not made a mesh bottom top bar hive since and I converted the first one to solid floor about a year or so later.

 

Anecdotally, it appears I am in the minority since most seem to be mesh floors. So, asking top bar hive beekeepers, what is the appeal of a mesh floor? Have you tried both?

 

Migratory Lang beekeepers have a different set of requirements keeping bees cool and contained during transport. I'm only talking about top bar hives fixed in a permanent apiary.

My first ones had mesh floors, full width, full length. The models I make now unless requested otherwise are half width and approx 3/4 the length of the hive body. I believe some ventilation is beneficial for a TBH in the height of summer flow and bees are bearding, just not the amount we tend to give them. Small entrances are a common point of TB Hives, so trying to ventilate and control the environment may be difficult. Having said that the do just fine in a tree with only a small entrance (or maybe the dont??).

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P K Tan    1,625

With very limited experience, my makeshift top bar and helping a new beek with a top bar.

Recently inspected beeks TBH and found it had been robbed, drone laying and lots of dead bees. It has full length screened bottom as well as a solid floor. Had to use a battery powered to vacuum debris from the mesh.

When I build mine, will incorporate a hinged solid bottom board and removable screen panels, like rangehood filters. Gap between solid board and screen big enough to place the oxalic acid vaporizer.

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ChrisM    597

I'm using four 22mm holes for the entrances, two up high and two down low. It gives same sectional area as 10mm x 152mm wide. Never been a problem, I don't ever see much bearding. The positioning and sizing of tbh entrances is a thread of its own or could be.

 

The roof is unsealed all the way around so the hive is in shade and it does not seem to get too hot. My OA vapouriser goes in the 22mm entrance hole, so there is no need to have mesh bottom for that. I wonder if the mesh bottom and the smell of honey is a factor in the robbing you discussed. When the OA vapouriser is going the flows in the hive are fantastic so I don't think they need help to organise their ventilation, I think they are experts at it, more so than us. It is a lot of extra work to do the mesh, let alone hinging doors, I'll stay with the solid floor unless there is a compelling reason or I start to have some problem. Similarly a lot of people don't put in, inspection windows due to the extra work, but I love looking inside, so I do them.

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Timw    57

My tbh made by graham wheeler has a mesh floor with a slide out tray immediately beneath so with s diminished population over winter it will be interesting to see how this goes. I have seen Phil Chandler vids with a solid floor with wood chips and forest floor stuff to mimic a hollow log. Another angle

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mischief    26

I dont have a top bar hive but I do have a chest hive/long hive that has a screen bottom as well as solid sliding trays underneath them.

I found that the bees do NOT like the bottom open even in summer.

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RGreenhill    26

Our top bar was also made by Graham,  same system with mesh base with the slide in tray. Had it open for summer and closed for winter. We are still getting cold nights so have it's still in. I quite like being able to slide it out after the varora treatments go in and seeing any mites. We have nearly had the hive for 1 year and I'm fairly neutral to the mesh base, it is what it is really, but the hive is looking good so mustn't grumble, imo it almost seems excessive to mesh the whole thing though 

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yesbut    3,477
On 9/8/2017 at 8:23 PM, mischief said:

I found that the bees do NOT like the bottom open even in summer.

I've just noticed this, what makes you think this please ?

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mischief    26
1 hour ago, yesbut said:

I've just noticed this, what makes you think this please ?

Observation.

I have a glass window on the side of the hive so I can see what is going on.

They stop what they are doing and start running around.

having said that, I fog through the mesh screen floor, so maybe they have associated the tray being moved out of the way to expecting to have hot FGMO shot through the hive.

I think I will start taking notes of what I do and when they become agitated.

On windy days, I never open the bottom up, they immediately start running about.

There was one day last week where I was watching the hive from under the mesh floor and they werent worried/running at all. That was the day I saw a drone pupa being dragged over to the entrance.

 

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RGreenhill    26
1 minute ago, mischief said:

Observation.

I have a glass window on the side of the hive so I can see what is going on.

They stop what they are doing and start running around.

having said that, I fog through the mesh screen floor, so maybe they have associated the tray being moved out of the way to expecting to have hot FGMO shot through the hive.

I think I will start taking notes of what I do and when they become agitated.

On windy days, I never open the bottom up, they immediately start running about.

There was one day last week where I was watching the hive from under the mesh floor and they werent worried/running at all. That was the day I saw a drone pupa being dragged over to the entrance.

 

They could just be running about because you'rewindow is open? Ours tend to run towards it if its opened, going for the light i assume, or were they actually showing aggression? 

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mischief    26
4 minutes ago, RGreenhill said:

They could just be running about because you'rewindow is open? Ours tend to run towards it if its opened, going for the light i assume, or were they actually showing aggression? 

I have learnt to know when is the best time to open the door to the window. I always shut it when I see more than 4 bees running onto the window.

When the floor is 'open', they are running up from below and there  are usually alot of them.

Funnily enough, they dont seem to mind when I use my phone flashlight at night to watch them.

During the day, I have found the best time to have the window open is early evening, they dont seem to be bothered at all.

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