Top bar style beehives are an alternative to the conventional Langstroth-type of beehive that is standard in North America. It is not a standardized design, but is characterized by it's horizontal arrangement and use of frames that consist of only a top-bar, rather than the 4-sided fully enclosed frame used in Langstroth hives (which is the reason for the name).
Top bar hives can be built from a variety of materials, and to varying specifications. Their appeal is in their simplicity; they can be made by anyone, anywhere, with just a basic set of tools. If you'd like to build your own, you can find plans here that are the basis for the top hives we use, and are compatible with the top bar nucleus colonies that we sell.
While the simplicity of this hive design is appealing for beginners and do-it-yourself types, top bar colonies are more difficult to manage, especially for a new beekeeper. We recommend developing your beekeeping skills on standard Langstroth hives before attempting top-bar beekeeping, since most books and advice from beekeepers will only be geared towards standard hive styles. However, if you are determined to keep bees in top bar style hives, we're here to help!
*honeybees are exempt from HST, equipment and services are subject to HST