Just finished my second class which was a hands on and up close and personal interaction with bees . It was one of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had. What an awesome learning opportunity! Cannot wait until the next one.
I love bee thinking! You guys have been a saving grace for me for resources and we are so grateful!
I love my new top bar hive! It is very intelligently designed and has many features that my homemade version doesn't have. I bought the un-assembled model, the directions were clear and easy to follow. I also bought a set of plans to hopefully make another one or two at a lower expense. I really like the observation window, it is so much easier to see what is going on without distrubing the hive. Being able to see which bars I need to move makes manipulation so much quicker. I also really appreciate not having to lift off the roof to get at the bars. My only wish, is that it would take a standard Lang bar, this would make it compatible for those transitioning from langs to TBH. My home made TBH accept Lang bars, and I like that feature very much. I realize that it would increase both cost of materials and shipping, but might be well worth it. I wonder if Beethinking has considered offering an Eco-Bottom for this model. I am thinking about attempting making one that can be latched onto my Beethinking hive. I have a screened bottom and am hoping things like Varroa and Small Hive Beetles could fall through the screen and down into the wood chips and environment that the Eco-bottom would hold.
The hive is amazing! It looks beautiful, and was easy to assemble. It arrived late, and my bees had to spend their first week in a homebuilt nucleus box in 50 degree raining weather; however, all is well now. My carnys have built 14 topbars in the two months since their arrival, and seem to be thriving. The queen lays in an unbelievably tight pattern, and the bees are extremely docile. Despite all this, the hive has a few problems. The large roof space invites many spiders, especially in a young hive, and the window along the side causes excessive side attachment, which makes inspections harder and potentially more harmful. Also, the topbars that are supplied are AWFUL. So much cross-combing, and terribly aligned combs. My homemade topbars work a million times better! Other than that, the hive is amazing!
I have 2 langstroths and wanted to see if i'd like this hive style better. So far i definitely do. Its interesting to see how differently the lay pattern is on their natural comb. It seems to resemble an arching rainbow of honey/pollen on the top left/right corners, then capped brood, then capped drones at the bottom. The lay patterns are much better than the plastic foundations, granted its a sample size of one and may just be a better queen in this hive. It is much easier to do inspections on this hive for sure. The only annoying part is that i got the observation window option which i'm glad i did, its neat, but they tend to try connect the comb onto the observation window so you have to catch it and use the tool to separate it to pull that "frame" out. otherwise the comb may break off of the frame when you try to pull it out. I haven't had a comb break off of the frame yet. Since i live in New England, i got a solid bottom board. That should help with overwintering, but lessened the effectiveness of my powdered sugar treatment i did to lessen the veroa mite populations. The screened bottom boards in my langstroths were more effective in treating mites since they fall through the screen and can't find their way back inside. Assembly: It was pretty easy to put together. It was missing a piece of the top cover, but they shipped it out no questions asked in plenty of time for my package. I treated it with tung oil (TAKES A LONG TIME TO DRY, STAIN IT a month ahead of package installation so fumes don't deter them.) The only annoyance is that the piece of wood you see in the picture that's on the inside of the cover that's intended to create a gap above the frames and to of cover tends to lift up one side of the end frame and creates an unintended door for the bees. They can get under the lid and have to defend another door. I just realized i could probably put a piece of wood on the other side to prevent that, or foam of equal size. its not a big deal though. I'd recommend it, just wish it was cheaper.