Building a Top Bar Bee Hive
One search for images of Top Bar Hives on the internet will show you how many variations that have been developed in different regions of the world. It is nice to see so many beekeepers building and using Top Bar Hives, the interest has certainly grown exponentially over the last few years.
I have found that proper ventilation is key in Ireland to deal with the excess of rain that is a year round constant. Also being able to fit National frames into the box ease the start up or transition to Top Bar Beekeeping. Most of the hives I build are made from solid Larch, which is a long lasting timber that stands up to the local weather without much need for coatings. My hives are also free of any toxins, glues, paint, sealers or preservatives to provide a toxin free environment, essential to the health of the bees.
Each hive I have built has been an improvement over the previous ones, applying what I learn from beekeeping into each new hive. I guess that I must be on the 6th or 7th generation of design adaptation resulting in a robust hive that will last for years, providing a safe, dry and clean space for the bees to live.
Beginning each new project is first spent visualizing what I what to make and then looking at the material at hand to see how it can be used efficiently. Sometimes it takes longer to plan the hive than to build it and a proper plan means less waste of material. I have added a few machines to my workshop since I first started building hives but basic hand tools are all that are really needed to build a hive from scratch.
I will be hosting a Top Bar Hive building workshop this spring and hope to see both old hands at beekeeping as well as aspiring beekeepers take part.