A top bar hive is any hive that uses some sort of bars without frames, usually with a starter strip or wedge as a guide from which the bees build their own comb.
Most top bar hives are long, and are often called horizontal top bar hives, as the bees build their comb from bars arranged horizontally rather than vertically in stacked boxes. Our hives have sloped sides, so they are technically called Kenyan Top Bar Hives. They are 42” long with 28 top bars and 2 dividers.
Why use a top bar hive?
With a top bar hive, you don’t have to lift heavy boxes, purchase an expensive honey extractor, use foundation full of chemicals (that the bees don’t prefer anyway), or agitate the bees as much as a Langstroth hive when you go inside. If you’ve got a window, like ours do, it’s even easier!
What makes our top bar hives so special?
It Starts With the Best Wood
Our top bar hives are constructed from 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 (not ¾” like our competitors) for improved strength and better insulation for your bees. Unlike a pine hive, you don’t have to paint the Western Red Cedar hive body to help it last. We do recommend sealing the roof with tung oil, however. We pre-drill all components for easy assembly, and our roofs always come pre-assembled. Don’t settle for a hive made from pine!
Full Length Viewing Window
Viewing windows are awesome. While some other top bar hives have windows that allow you to see part of the hive, ours run the full length, giving you an unhindered view into your hive without disturbing your bees!
42” Long Hive Body
Most readily available top bar hives are too short to fit a strong colony. We know from experience that anything shorter 36” almost always leads to colonies outgrowing the hive. At 42”, our top bar hives are long enough to support healthy colonies in strong nectar flows.
Hive roofs are heavy and usually hard to attach. That’s why we invented a new way to easily attach our top bar hive roof so that it 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. This will never happen with our hive.
Copper Top (Optional)
Beautify and improve the life of your hive by adding professionally bent and riveted copper to the roof. Not only will it help rain and snow run off the hive, but you’ll never have to paint or seal the roof with tung oil!
Beautiful Stand (Optional)
Our top bar hive comes with the best feet or stand on the market. The standard feet slightly elevate and improve the stability of the hive. The optional, precision milled, lap joint stand elevates the hive to a convenient counter height. Not only that, but the hive ingeniously slips into the cradle of the stand, allowing you to slide it out without additional tools if you need to move it in the future.
One Piece Wedge Top Bars
Wedge top bars have proven to be the most effective and strongest design to promote beautiful, straight comb attachment and longevity. We manufacture ours on precision equipment from the finest Western Red Cedar lumber. These are the same bars we’ve used and trusted for years in our own apiary. Don’t settle for bars made from multiple pieces or without wedges!
Our hives always come with the roof assembled and simple instructions to put together the rest of the hive. The pre-drilled hive body can easily be assembled with the provided screws in 15-30 minutes depending on skill level and tools available. Or 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!
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