Idea for spacing in top bar hive

Today I dismantled everything in my hive (as it was found to be queenless in August and my re-queening attempt didn’t work). There were perhaps two bees clinging to life, but otherwise mostly wasps. Not a huge number but they were busy eating what remained of the honey – very little indeed. There were about four or five combs which were worth keeping as they were straight – or could be straightened/shaved off. So I put them between two follower boards, cleaned away all debris from the floor – dead bees and comb bits – and closed all the entrances. I hope it will remain free of pests till next year when another swarm should be able to take over the remains. Sad but all part of learning and I hope to manage better next time with keeping the comb building straight. Now I need to find out more about spacing and bar width.

I have a query. Why could one not have spacing between top bars as the Nationals etc have? Could we not do a similar thing – leaving a space instead of filling it with a shim – and then cover the bars with a flour impregnated cloth (like a Warre) and a duvet? Then in the winter one could contact feed above the spaces, and the bees would be warm because of the duvet.

Any thoughts on this idea anyone? (I don’t know enough about Warre/National to see the flaws in this.)

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One Response to Idea for spacing in top bar hive

  1. Paul says:

    If you have gaps between the top bars you introduce two problems –
    – Lots of heat can escape
    – Wasps, wax moth, earwigs etc can come and go with ease as the roof isn’t particularly well sealed with a TBH
    So in general a TBH aims for a continuous solid roof above the comb.

    This is not to say you should never have a gap between bars. I’ve seen pictures on the Web (which I can’t find now) of a hive with odd shaped bars giving gaps between them to permit the bees to limb up to a feeder. It was rather a complex arrangement, but looked like the hive was made by a good carpenter who could ensure the volume under the roof was properly sealed.


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