In A nutshell can someone tell me why would you build a top bar hive seems to me they are more for observation.
What are the advantages of this type of hive ?
chiefman:go to equp/hardware section below there is ALOT of talk on it.
Well, it's not just for honey production, the ease of extraction is, NOT...
I think the attraction is just for fun, or like an observation hive, to learn from.
A hobby within a hobby.
The number one appeal of a top bar hive, when I first built one, was that it cost me nothing. I built it out of scrap wood from constructions sites. The quality and quantity of the woodworking involved in a top bar hive is quite simple. It's just a box and some bars. You're talking about the cost of 0$ compared to $150 to $200 for a hive.
The secondary advantages to a top bar hive are:
You get to see the bees do their thing with minimal interference especially if you use blank starter strips. You get to watch them make natural comb and you can still manipulate the combs.
The bees are more calm when working them, because only one comb is exposed at at time because the top bars block all access from the top.
The labor involved in working them, particularly lifting, is greatly reduced. You only lift one comb at a time, not a 100 pound box of honey.
From a hobbyist point of view you can get started cheaply. From a commercial point of view you can keep your costs low. From an educational point of view you can see what the bees do. Froma philosophical point of view you give the bees the freedom to do what they feel they need to do to survive and prosper. Issues like Natural or Housel Positioning and Natural Sized Cells are not an issue with a top bar hive without any embossed cells to control what the bees build and how it's oriented.
Can't extract. (not a problem if you raise a lot of comb honey, which I do)
Have to be more careful handling combs so you don't break them and can't move the hive down bumpy dirt roads without comb breaking.
Have to pay more attention to what you are doing as far as breaking combs loose, handling comb, smashing bees etc. (not all a down side. Learning to pay attention is really a good thing)
WOW there is a lot of info there Thanks Mark and once againg thanks Michael Bush.
I rekon this forum should have a section just on Top Bar Hive's and altanative hives