I apologize; this question has probably been asked and answered a few times before, but I couldn't seem to find it.
Anyway, I am looking to give top bar hives a try and am wondering the easiest way to get started. I have a couple packages coming in a few weeks and need hives. So, I'm looking for advice on the best place to buy a top bar hive, or plans to quickly/easily build one. Unfortunately, I am pretty busy with work at the moment, so I don't have as much time to dedicate to building one as I would like.
I am in WI and have been keeping bees for a few years now. I went into winter with 15 langstroth hives this year and it looks like I will be coming out with ~11-12. I had ordered two packages just in case. I was expecting high losses this winter, since I didn't combine or treat in the fall and this year was looking like quite a doozy. But, with 12 hives alive at this point (I know I know, winter isn't over yet), I'm hoping (knock on wood) the packages will be unneccessary. Which, makes it the perfect time to give top bars a try. So, I am looking for top bar designs that are suited to WI winters.
I am relatively handy and can measure, cut and build things, but I am unfortunately busy with work at the moment. So, I could build something simpe, but I also wouldn't be opposed to buying a hive or two if they are not outrageously expensive and i could pay for them by selling nucs. Where is a good place to buy one? or Where can I find plans for an appropriate hive for WI?
Any other tips on hive design for someone just starting? I'll be sure to read the forum for more top bar keeping tips.
Thanks in advance!