A top bar hive is any hive that uses individual bars instead of 4-sided frames. Generally the bars are a wooden wedge or strip from which the bees build their own comb.
With a horizontal top bar hive, beekeepers don’t have to lift heavy boxes, purchase an expensive honey extractor, use foundation full of chemicals, or agitate the bees as much as box-style hives when managing the colony.
Our hives are crafted using Western Red Cedar in Portland, Oregon. Western Red Cedar is the ideal wood for hive construction due to its strength, light weight, and weather resistance. Our wood is kiln dried and milled to full 1” thickness for improved strength and better insulation for bees. Unlike pine hives, cedar does not need to be painted to help it last. We do however recommend sealing the roof with tung oil. We pre-drill all components for easy assembly, and our roofs always come pre-assembled.
Viewing windows are a fantastic feature that come standard on Bee Thinking horizontal top bar hives. Our windows run the full length of the hive, giving beekeepers an unhindered view of their colonies without disturbing the bees. Monitoring the productivity of your bees is a cinch with a viewing window and friends and family will enjoy peering in to see the ladies at work!
Most readily available top bar hives are too small to allow a strong colony to thrive. We know from experience that anything shorter than 36” almost always leads to colonies outgrowing the hive. At 42”, our hives are large enough to allow for ample honey stores to support the colony through winter.
Hive roofs can be heavy and hard to attach, which is why we invented a roof that hinges and easily lifts up out of the way with one hand. Most other roofs attach with bulky hinges that rust or break over time. Our roof uses grooves and bushings allowing for easy opening and closure, and simple removal and attachment when needed.
Improve the life and appearance of your hive by adding fitted, riveted copper to the roof. Not only will it help with rain and snow run off, but you’ll never have to paint or seal the roof. The copper will patina over time, taking on the unique finish that only copper can achieve.
The optional, precision milled, lap-joint stand elevates the hive to a convenient counter height. Simple to use, our stand allows the hive to set easily in the cradle, making any future lifting and relocation of the hive effortless, without any need for tools or disassembly.
Wedge top bars have proven to be the most effective, strongest design to promote beautiful, straight comb attachment and longevity. Our wedge bars are made from a single piece of wood, no gluing or staple construction, allowing for optimum quality and stability. We manufacture our bars on precision equipment from Western Red Cedar; these are the same bars we’ve used and trusted for years in our own apiary.
Our hives always arrive with the roof assembled and simple instructions for putting together the rest of the hive. The pre-drilled hive body can easily be assembled with provided screws in 15-30 minutes depending on skill level and tools available. Alternately, you can pay a little more and we’ll assemble the hive body for you!
Our top bar hives ship free to the lower 48 United States. We ship anywhere in the world – if you’re outside of the contiguous states, please contact us and we’ll get you a shipping estimate!