Top Bar Hives

What is a Top Bar Hive?


 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.

Shop Top Bar Hives

Top Bar Hive Kit 

Why Use a Top Bar Hive?

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.

What Makes Bee Thinking Bar Hives So Special?

Top Bar Hive with window closed

It Starts With the Best Wood

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.

Full Length Viewing Window

Top bar hive window open

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!

Our Top Bar Hive in Action

42” Long Hive Body

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.

Hinged Roof

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.

Copper Top (Optional)

Copper composite roof

Improve the life and appearance of your hive by adding a beautiful copper composite roof. Not only will it help with rain and snow run off, but you’ll never have to paint or seal the roof. Copper composite doesn't corrode and leach into the soil like standard copper used in roofing. This composite material retains its color, insulates and reflects heat better than regular copper. 

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.

Beautiful Stand (Optional)

Hive Stand


One Piece Wedge Bars

Comb on a top bar

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.

Easy Assembly

Our hives ship out with simple assembly instructions. The pre-drilled hive body and roof 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!

Free Shipping

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!

Bee Thinking Guarantee

We not only build top bar hives, but we use them in our own apiaries in Portland, Oregon. Since 2008 we’ve tested our designs with our own 30+ honeybee colonies; we know they work well. We’re confident we make the best hives on the market, and we stand behind our products. Take a look at our  return policy to learn more.
The Best Top bar Hive


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