Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Please use the Facebook group UK TOP BAR BEEKEEPERS for information and discussion of top bar beekeeping.

Please support Friends of the Bees

Top Bar Hive in the mountains

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
New Bee

Joined: 29 Sep 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Caspoggio - Italy

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject: Top Bar Hive in the mountains Reply with quote

Hello everyone, I’m a new beekeeper in the Italian Alps, so please excuse my English and if my questions might be stupid! I have three TBH from June and I would love to make beekeeping my job in the future. I’ve read somewhere (I’ve read so much on the internet and on books that I don’t remember where) that the amount of honey produced with a TBH is apprx. 30% less than with a “normal” hive. Is this true? If so it means that every 3 and a half hive I need one more to produce the same amount of honey, right? Consider that if possible I don’t want to feed them during the cold season, but I want to leave them enough honey to pass the winter.
One more question: I live at 1.200 meters above the sea level (3.900 feet), it happends that the temperature goes down to -20°C (-4°F). This is not a problem where I have my TBH now because there is plenty of sun. But I would build some other hives and put them in a place where there won’t be the sun for 3 months (from Dec. to the end of Feb.). Is this gonna be a big problem? I know of beekeepers in Alaska, and that’s a lot colder lol but I’m still worried! What do you think? Before you ask: no, I can’t put my new hives with the three that I already have because the land does not belong to me and three hives are enough for the landlord!
Thank you in advance for your precious help!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Simona and welcome. Your English is amazingly good, so please don't feel the need to apologise for that or asking "stupid" questions..... the only stupid question is the one that is left unasked, so fire away with whatever comes to mind.

I would say 30% less honey than a conventional hive is probably an optimistic estimate but it will depend on how you manage them. If you are not going to take steps to prevent swarming, then you will be lucky to get any honey harvest.... maybe just a few kgs here and there. Most conventional beekeepers harvest the honey and then feed the bees syrup to over winter on. If you plan to leave them with honey.... which I strongly recommend.... then that is even less honey to harvest.
I don't know how much forage there is up in the mountains, so it's difficult for me to estimate harvest, but I would imagine the foraging is more widespread rather than having intensive pockets of plants that are attractive to bees like there are in more lowland areas.

As regards over wintering, insulation has to be the key in a cold climate. Plenty of insulation in the roof space and you might also find strapping insulation to the sides of the hive will help too. Shelter from the wind is probably more important than sunshine, so provide a windbreak from the prevailing winter winds if there is no natural shelter. If you have mesh floors, make sure the bottom board is fitted.

If you are looking to make a living from your hives at some point in the future then you may find a Warre style hive is a better option and I would strongly recommend you check out our member, Zaunreiter's posts..... if you haven't already.... as he is extremely knowledgeable as regards managing bees for maximum honey production (actually he's just extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of beekeeping and many other subjects too), as oppose to the majority of us here on the forum, who keep bees at a hobby level and just hope for a little honey to share with family and friends.

Best wishes to you and your bees for the winter.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
New Bee

Joined: 29 Sep 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Caspoggio - Italy

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Barbara for your reply! A beekeeper in my area told me that I can get the same amount of honey from a TBH and from a "regular" hive, but it sounded strange to me!!! Smile I'll check Zaunreiter's posts as you suggested so that I can get more informations.

Thank you again and have a nice day!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Top Bar Hive in the mountains - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum