Re: Trying to decide between Top Bar and Langstroth
I have built a couple of top bar hives that now have bees in them, and a few dozen Lang boxes and nucs. The top bar setups are much nicer to look at, in my opinion, but not as practical (check out the album in my profile.) This is my first winter, and time will tell what ones make it, but Langs are a better choice for my situation. I would also advise choosing one box size, either medium or deep, and only have one size frame. Some advise getting Langs because of matching what fellow beekeepers around you will have. That part doesn't really apply to me, but it might for you. The ability to break down the hive into ten frame sections is handy, especially for moving bees around.
For my situation, nearly all of my bees are from cutouts, and the langs are much easier to handle and move. We did a cutout 30' high in a top bar 8 frame nuc, which had frames to band the comb into, and it was a nightmare. I think Michael Bush advises not to buy a ton of gear based on a system you have not tried and proven. This is sound advice, so you can change your setup to your liking without having a bunch of equipment laying around that you no longer use.
All of my top bar gear is getting put on craigslist, maybe even tonight, because I just built another dozen medium boxes and need to order more frames.
John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
14 hives - All cutouts and swarms