Top Bar Bee Hive Plans
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Ontario Canada
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    Default Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Hey Everyone,

    Im very new to this. I want to build my own top bar hive, something similar to Corwin Bells golden mean hive except with a few adjustments. Based on what i've read here it should be longer and make sure to build it with a pitched roof. I was wondering if anyone had any plans that they would be willing to share of hives that they have built and work for them. I have a pretty decent wood shop so i should have all the tools needed. Thanks in advance

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,817

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanks View Post
    I was wondering if anyone had any plans that they would be willing to share of hives that they have built and work for them. I have a pretty decent wood shop so i should have all the tools needed. Thanks in advance
    There's a hint of a suggestion in the above that there are some TBH's which perhaps don't work - or which don't work too well ?

    I invite you to look at this picture, which is of a guy building TBH's with no plans, minimum tools, and minimum skill ... in Africa (which was initially the intended country for modern TBH's):



    These days, an Internet search will return a copious amount of 'First-World' plans for Top Bar Hives - many of which will claim magic measurements and ratios and so forth - but it's all just so much BS. Knock up a simple box, string top bars across it and put something on top to keep the weather off - that's basically all they need. If you live somewhere where it gets cold (hint: it's always a good idea to include location in your member profile), then include some insulation on top of the Top Bars.

    Just curious - why a Top Bar Hive ? If you already have woodworking tools and a modest amount of skill, there are many other designs of hive to choose from, some of which may prove to be more suitable for a beginner.
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    2,136

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Corwin based the "backyard" hive off Marty Hardison's hive
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1h...JkeUNRWlU/view
    I have run a moded version for 10 years (1x10 sides in stead of 1x11 and change) and have been happy with them, I had ornaialy built the crowder style (1x10s at degrees so it fits a lang topbar) but gave it away, I found (as Marty Claimed) the the shorter top bar had less cross comb.. I much prefer a 3/4-1/2" triangle strip stapled to the top bar vs the full with triangle guide on the golden mean (I have 2 that I was given after they became an unworkabul cross comb mess, they are OK in my hands, but take more adjusting vs the Hardisons)
    mine are cut at 37-38 inches (ish) so that I could get all the long sides out of a 1x10 , I would indeed like some extra space if I were going to do it again

    I would steer clear of Corwin and his Bee (death cult) Guardians, always repaceing massive losses (swarm chasing, buying bees, yuck) and people up that way say there is eunff of them that even treating keepers take much higher then the state average losses.
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Ontario Canada
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    3

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    hey little john,

    thanks for the advice. I went and updated my profile. Yes I live in the cold so insulation would be a must. I chose top bar because that is what I was told to look into by a friend, I was also told its a more natural way of bee keeping. I have never kept bees before so I am open to any and all advice.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Ontario Canada
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    3

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Thanks for the advice MSL. I will read the article you sent along. If Corwins info is so misguiding is there someone else you would recommend taking a look at?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,241

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    I used the plans from here: https://mistressbeek.com/

    They are easy to build and very quick. I currently have 6 top bar hives. For a roof on top I use vinyl roofing panels cut to size with rope tied around the hive to keep it in place. .

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,800

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanks View Post
    I was also told its a more natural way of bee keeping.
    There is nothing natural about putting bees into a box, be it a top bar or a lang, makes no difference. Now if you really want to be 'natural' with european honey bees in Ontario, the correct plan of attack is to treat them like any other invasive species, and target for extermination. they are an introduced agricultural critter that is not native to the continent.

  9. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    2,136

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    I chose top bar because that is what I was told to look into by a friend, I was also told its a more natural way of bee keeping
    There is a chance you are getting bad advice. If your friend is a successful topbar beekeeper (regularly keeps thier bees alive over winter and doesn't have to buy any/swarm catch come spring) willing to mentor you, that's one thing.
    IMO the only reason for a new beekeeper to start with a Alt hive is if the price of a lanstroth set up is a large barrier
    I love my topbars, but feel they take more elbow grease and are less forgiving to new bee mistakes.
    I got lucky and Marty was runing monthly /byweekely classes for a local CSA at $5 a pop the year I got bees I got to go threw a whole year of beekeeping tasks on live hives for a pitance... from spring maintenance, splits, queen rearing, tree cut outs, etc to wax prosesing in the off season.
    I creidet my success to this education, alter in life my skills made running langs a breeze (execpt all the hevy darn lifting)
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,600

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Now if you really want to be 'natural' with european honey bees in Ontario, the correct plan of attack is to treat them like any other invasive species, and target for extermination.
    Hmm, I think that is taking the whole naturalistic approach just a tad bit too far.

    Re: the top bar being more natural, how so? Forcing bees to build their hive sideways when their inclination is to build vertically does not seem natural at all. I always considered top bar hive to be more for the convenience of the beekeeper. Of course, this is coming from someone who does not have a TBH, take it for what it is worth.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,817

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Re: the top bar being more natural, how so?
    Any form of removable comb makes a beehive 'unnatural' (Frame or Top Bar) - likewise comb attachments which are dead straight in two dimensions. Installing combs at two different spacings - for Brood and Stores - is likewise unnatural. Only one form of comb and spacing exists within a natural bee-nest.

    At the risk of starting a war of words, I'd suggest that a frame is actually more 'natural' than a Top Bar, insomuch as it provides a means of attachment at the sides of a comb - which is what bees always attempt to generate, and what the angled sides of a Kenyan Top Bar Hive attempts to thwart.

    Indeed, if Horizontal Top Bar beekeepers are successful in their goal of preventing such side attachments, gaps more-or-less identical to those at the sides of frames will then be formed. It is such gaps around frames which are frequently alleged to be both unnatural and hazardous to the well-being of a honeybee colony. Pot - kettle - black.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,241

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanks View Post
    Yes I live in the cold so insulation would be a must.
    I would not worry too much about insulation. There are plenty of beekeepers in the colder parts of the world that do not use any and their bees make it through winter just fine. As I have stated before, you can add all the insulation you like but it does little good when the door is wide open. And the door on a beehive is always open.

  13. #12
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    Jun 2018
    Location
    Vancouver BC
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    28

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    Send me email
    Last edited by ihor; 03-02-2020 at 04:13 PM.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Top Bar Bee Hive Plans

    I bought Corwin’s plans for the Golden Mean top bar hive. I modified it by making it an extra 10” longer. The plans included blueprints for making a peaked roof.

    This is my first beehive. I bought a 3# package last year and I’m starting to see bees flying around on warmer days, so I think they have survived the winter.

    I did an alcohol mite wash in August and didn’t find any mites.

    So far, so good. I’ve ordered another package for this year.

    Good luck.

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