March - 2011, This is the top bar hive I constructed for this season of bee keeping. Unfortunately this year the hive beetles got the best of all of us. The package I installed in March grew and expanded nicely and due to a very dry summer and lack of feeding the population of the hive started to decrease. the decrease in population, hive beetles and a very strong neighboring hive robbing was more than this family could take.
The construction for the hive is very straight forward and I was able to use reclaimed fence materials for the main structure of the hive body. One of the most fascinating things about top bar beekeeping to me is the utilization of materials, with a typical Langstroth hive and hive bodies with frames as a bee keeper we must build and store all the frames and "boxes" for future growth with our colonies. With the top bar hive the bees simply expand horizontally. There are no extra pieces to add to the colony as they expand.
The bars labeled with a B note brood frames with a specific spacing for rearing brood and the other label if an H for honey stores. All the bees have to do is look at my notes on the top of the bar and they know what to put there... OK, that might be a little silly all of my bees are a Russian strain they cant read English anyway. All kidding aside there is a dimension that is more suitable as Dr. Langstrough determined for brood 1 1/4" and although 1 1/4" works for honey too the preferred dimension for Honey stores is 1 3/8".
The window adds a nice view port to inspect the interior of the colony without disturbing them.
March 2012, Follow up note - this was completed in 2011 this experiment at the moment was not a success. the top bar colony died of starvation about half way through the season and were also subject to robbing from a neighboring more agreessive hive. I am still a fan of theTBH however the overall management of the hive and the honey production from it is certainly less than traditional hive construction. If I have an opportunity to capture a swarm this year I will add it to this TBH and start again.