Top Bar Hive Cover
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    82

    Default Top Bar Hive Cover

    Looking at building another top bar hive, not sure what kind of roof or cover to use. I like a pitched roof better than a flat roof. Please share your thoughts on designs and what material you used. Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,293

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    One of the major virtues of a Top Bar hive design it its ease of construction. Getting the width of the top bars to the size you want them (if you want them something other than 1.5") is the most complicated part of the construction.

    So a flat lid fits in perfectly with that simplicity/ease of construction concept. A piece of plywood sized to fit, and perhaps some blocks/trim/rim attached at the plywood edge to keep the lid aligned ...
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I have different styles, but I like the look of the gabled roof the best. (and it came with the kit I buy from Beeline)

    The kit comes with 2 additional 10 in boards that I am supposed to put in the roof, but I leave them out so there is less weight. IMG_2257.jpg

    One I did with metal left over from the flue when I replaced my furnace. I can't seem to find a picture of that one right now.

    This one is from Corex (plastic cardboard that the election signs come in). After 4 years, it is starting to crack. 13122896_1353804661312727_7103770252526676336_o.jpg

    And the last one in the background is from corrugated tin roofing. It is my least favorite because it requires a few bricks to hold it on and doesn't look especially nice. 13120003_1353804587979401_6384588725511058511_o.jpg

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I agree I like the gabled roofs better, also from the 1st one I built, out of cedar, I like a hindged roof.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I bought my first top bar hive and which has an arched roof with mini corrugated iron on top. It is insulated with earth wool (you might call it rock wool there) insulation kept in with a hessian layer that also allows it to breath. When I made the next hive myself I used a similar design, but used standard corrugated iron that I had lying around. I have just made a top bar nuc and used a similar design, expect that I didn't use the earth wool as its a bit of a pain installing the hessian etc. This time I bought 30mm extruded polystyrene board from the local hardware and used double thickness of that (less the bits I needed to cut off on the top layer to fit the curved shape of the roof). I was able to cut this ever so slightly larger than the size of the cavity so that once I jammed it in it was not going to move. My full size hives are hinged, but didn't bother with the nuc.

    Two hives.jpgNuc whole.jpgNuc insulation.jpg

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lynn Haven, Bay County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I have one top bar with a gabled roof and one with a flat roof. I prefer the flat roof for a few reasons. (1) It's very easy to build; (2) it's very light and is really easy to lift off and on the hive so I didn't need to hinge it to the hive; and, (3) it's easy to insulate. The flat roof is simply a piece of 1/4" plywood attached to 3/4" trim edges that are deep enough to include 1" of styrofoam insulation and still hang down past the top of the hive. I coated the plywood exterior with a couple coats of Flex-Seal to waterproof it and after a year outside in the Florida sun it's still in great shape. But I wouldn't use the Flex-Seal again just because it's too expensive.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I use corrugated roofing (PVC?) on mine. It is light weight, flexible, cheap, easy to find, totally waterproof and tough. I tie it down with rope. It is certainly not pretty but very functional. My first two top bar hives had nice roofs on them attached with hinges. I quickly found I could not work the hive from the one side where the roof was and I was always working with the bees in the shade and my eyes in bright sunlight. I quickly got rid of the permanent roofs. I also found that I can rest tools, bars of comb, smokers and everything else on one hive while working on the hive next to it. No bending over and easy access. You cannot do that with the pointy gabled roof. I will admit that I am far more concerned with functionality than appearance when it comes to my beehives.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lynn Haven, Bay County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I asked the bees....they said they can live with either one.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    1.5" of foam and sheet of OSB over it, toss on a brick, done
    I am a dry clime so the osb lasts many years
    they are not yard art, but were they are at they don't need to be

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    my wife does not like the flat roofs, need I say more?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferg View Post
    my wife does not like the flat roofs, need I say more?
    you need to realize that we see then as "garden art" and a flat roof just doesn't fit the bill. I like my gabled roofs, but I'd never do a hinged one for the reasons already mentioned and I don't like them heavy.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    right now I am leaning towards a gabled roof that hindges or lifts off, just not sure what kind of material to use. This will be a January project

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    52,437

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    A hinged roof seems like it would tip the hive over when it's still pretty empty... I like a simple flat piece of plywood for a lot of reasons. For one, I can put bricks on it to keep it from blowing off. Also, simplicity is my main attraction to a top bar hive. Making it more complicated is unappealing to me.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Top Bar Hive Cover

    I agree, a flat roof is simple, but part of the fun to me is designing and building a functional top bar hive.

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