Is anyone aware of any research or attempts to build a modern hive that recognizes and takes this natural condition into account, other than top bar hives? I'm thinking of standard moveable frames with foundation in 8 to 10 frame boxes that are in the exact reverse order of what we consider a "normal" configuration. As Jim points out, we tend to design and manage according to what fits our comfort zone rather than the bees'. Top bars appear to resolve all but the uniformity constraints required in a sideline or commercial apiary where cost and efficiency demand certain standards of size, interchangeability, extractability, etc.
Even if one does not split the broodnest, moving
the brood area to the bottom (the usual goal)
creates exactly the opposite of what happens in
a natural (wild) hive. Wild hives are built
from the top down.
Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...