My Top-bar Hive’s Design

Part of the fun of starting beekeeping in top-bar hives was designing my own. Unlike Langstroth hives, there is no standard top-bar hive. I looked at the top-bar hives on the web, and came up with the features that I wanted to include. Some of the sites that I found most useful in designing my top-bar hives were Dennis Murrell’s site, Michael Bush’s site, Leonard Barton’s site, and Michael Thomas’s site.

I used Google’s free SketchUp. Its a simple to use and allows you draw and design in 3D. It was valuable in designing the hives. It’s nice to be able to see how thing look in 3D and how all the parts fit together. I went through about 7 or 8 major redesigns (essentially starting over with the new ideas added in). In the end I ended up with a hive design that I liked. It may not be the simplest top-bar hive design, but its not overly complicated or hard to build, is reasonably cheap to build, and has lots of nice features. Once I started actually building, SketchUp became valuable again. The 3D model acted like blueprints and I could measure any parts dimensions and angles. I have uploaded the full plans to Google’s 3D Warehouse. My hive plans are available there under the name of “Kawayanan’s Kenyan Top-Bar Hive“.

Here are the major features:

  • Its a Kenyan top-bar hive, so it has sloped sides (sturdier comb shape, and easier to remove)
  • Built in legs (removable if needed)
  • Sloped roof that I covered in aluminum flashing
  • Upper entrance (ventilation and safer from critters like mice, skunks, etc.)
  • Clean out doors at the front and back
  • Screened bottom with a removable bottom board
  • Slot in the rear to use a standard entrance feeder with access only through the hive (less chance or robbing)
  • The main body of two hives can be made from one 8’x4′ 3/4″ plywood sheet with the rest made mainly of 2×4’s or 2×2’s (reasonably inexpensive)
  • I think it look nice :)

In addition, in the 3D model of my design I included a layout of all the 3/4″ plywood body parts on a 8’x4′ sheet. This shows how you can cleanly get two full hives worth of parts from one sheet.

Here is a rough list of all the lumber and parts needed to complete 2 full hives:

  • 1 4’x8′ 3/4″ sheet of plywood (for the sides and ends)
  • 2 8′ pressure treated 2×4’s (or 10′ depending on how long you want the legs)
  • 12 8′ 1×2’s for the 60 top-bars (I think thats probably about right, but I will most likely make more to have a few extra)
  • 4 8′ 2×2’s for the roof frame
  • 1 4’x8′ sheet of panel board for the roof and removable bottom board (I actually got tile board because it has a nice white finish on one side)
  • 2 10’x20″ rolls of aluminum flashing to cover the roof (for a nice weather resistant and shiny top)
  • 1 8′ 2×4 to make the ridge pole of the roof
  • 2 linear feet of 36″ wide #8 hardware cloth for the screened bottom
  • 8 hinges for the clean out doors (and some sort of latch to keep them shut)
  • nuts and bolts to attach the legs
  • screws, nails, staples, and wood glue

Using My Design in Google Sketchup

I’ve had a few question about how to use my model. First off, you need to download the model from Google’s 3D Warehouse (my model is found here). You will also need Google Sketchup to read the file and get the measurements. I have version 6, and the screen shots below are from that version.

After you install Sketchup, you can open my model. Each part of the hives is a separate component, so you can take it apart and measure each piece individually. There are two tools you will need to get all the measurements and angles, the “tape measure” and the “protractor”. To easy access to these tools, you can make the Construction toolbar active (under View-Toolbars-Construction).

The construction toolbar is at the bottom left of the picture. First, lets look at the “tape measure”. Its the button that looks like a tape measure. :)

When you click on it, your mouse pointer should start to look like a tape measure too. All you need to do to measure any object is to click at one end of what you are measuring, then click at the other end. You will probably see the measurement by the mouse pointer when you make the second click, but you will also see it at the bottom right of the Sketchup window. If you make the first click, you can also read the distances without a second click if you stop moving the mouse pointer at any point (the measurement should be given both at he mouse pointer and at the bottom right of the window).

The protractor tool is locate right near the tape measure tool in the Construction toolbar.

When you click on this, your mouse pointer will become a circular protractor. Move the over the center point of the angle you want to measure. The protractor circle can be on multiple faces of an object, so move it a little until its on the correct face, and at the center point of the angle to be measured (in my example below, I am measuring the angle of the bottom of the clean-out door), marked with a “1st”). Then click once on that point. Next, click along one side of the angel you want to measure (in my example below I clicked on the endpoint of the edge – labeled with a “2nd”). Then, click on the other side of the angle you are measuring (marked “3rd” in my example). Now, the angle measurment is located in the bottom right of the Sketchup window. Thats it. :)

You should be able to do this with any piece, and get at the measurements you would need to build the hives. I kept my laptop with me, open to the model while building so that I could easily check any measurements as I went. If you want to learn a bunch more about how to use Google Sketchup, you can start by doing the Tutorials that are include with it.  You can find them under the “Help” menu.  Ther are also links to online help.

To read the construction of my hives, check here.

88 Responses to “My Top-bar Hive’s Design”

  1. Gary Piantanida Says:

    Looks like a great start. I would like to link sites, check mine out and let me know what you think.
    Gary

  2. john Says:

    Hi,
    Do you have any copies of the plans available that do not require Google do software?
    The privacy policy on Googles’s 3d program makes it sound like spyware.

    Also, do you have any hives for sale?

    Thanks in advance,
    John

  3. kawayanan Says:

    I haven’t made plans outside of Google’s Sketchup. I don’t think its spyware. I doesn’t actually need internet access either, so you can just block any traffic to or from it with a firewall if you want to.

    I could make hives for people if they’re interested. Just contact me by email if you want to talk about it.

    kawayanan “at” gmail “dot” com

  4. Berrigan Willmott Says:

    Thank you for all the info you are providing for the collective top bar bee hive community, I really enjoy checking your site. I was curious to know if the tape measurement option in google sketch up, is as accurate to your own measurements as it reads in the program. I’m getting a lot of 25/32’s. Did you really measure to that small of a degree or bump it up to a whole inch?

    Thanks again –

    Berrigan

  5. kawayanan Says:

    The measurements started out from a 19″ top-bar, and then a set angle for the sides of the hive. I had Sketchup set to keep the accuracy to 32’s of an inch and because of the angle of the sides it just ended up with strange measurements like that. When I built it, I just rounded to the nearest 16th (thats what my tape measure went down to). I tried to keep it close so that the angles would come out right. Probably going to 8th would be fine too.

  6. Penultimate_Nephite Says:

    Kawayanan,

    I dig your design, very cool. Dig the clean out, too! I’d like to get a copy of the layout. I downloaded the 3D viewer but was only able to see the finished product. What do I need to do to see the layout? I see the one on your website, but I’d like to know the dimensions so I can try drawing this out on a board.

  7. kawayanan Says:

    The plans you can download from the 3D Warehouse (Kawayanan’s Kenyan Top-Bar Hive) not only have the model, but also the layout pictured above. If you zoom out, you should see the layout next to the assembled model. The assembled model can be taken apart in Sketchup too so that you can measure things. Thats how I made the layout, its just all the parts from the model layed flat on a 4′ x 8′ sheet.

    I’ve also got a few small changes in my head for the design, I just need some time to try making the changes to the plan.

    Feel free to email me too if you have any questions.

    kawayanan “at” gmail “dot” com

    PS – interesting name, Penultimate_Nephite – where are you from?

  8. Penultimate_Nephite Says:

    OK, cool. I see it now. I live in Maryland. Just out of curiosity, what changes were you thinking of? One thing I’d like to do is add a viewing window on the side.

  9. kawayanan Says:

    I had thought of adding a window even before making mine, but ended up not doing it. That would be a reasonably easy addition.

    I have the top-bars sitting on a ledge inside the hive. This was because I wanted the bars to be 19″ (Langstroth size), but wanted the largest internal volume too. It works, but I think I could cut down the volume without trouble. I think I would decrease the width of the hive some, leaving the top-bars 19″ so that they could rest on the top of the hive sides. That would make them easier to remove (they now sit just inside the hive sides and you need a hive tool to get them out easily).

    I have also though of trying to set the body parts up so that people could chose whether to use plywood like I did, or possibly solid boards (maybe 1×8’s or 1×10’s). That would allow the hives to be made from just about any type of wood the builder liked (plywood, pine, cedar, etc).

    I don’t think I would change the overall design too much, more just tweak it a little.

    • Steve Says:

      In one of your post on your top bar hive, you said that you mite try
      making a hive with the top bar setting on the top of the hive sides.
      Have you made one like that? I think I would like that better.

  10. Krista Says:

    I am interested in trying the top-bar design, but noticed that no one in my area has ever heard of this style of beekeeping. I live in Ohio where temperatures in winter months quickly vary from highs in the 50’s to highs in the teens for days on end. Do you know how top-bars compare to Langstroth hives in cold areas?

  11. kawayanan Says:

    So far, I haven’t actually met anyone else who has a top-bar hive either (I’ve only “met” them on the internet). I chatted with a state inspector here in NC, and I think he said he had only see one before in his time. I think they are pretty rare everywhere (and thats on top of the fact that there aren’t that many beekeepers period).

    As for how they do in winter weather… I’m not that much of an expert since I have never used Langstroth hives yet (nor have I gotten my bees through even on winter yet – I’m just starting). Dennis Murrell has written about his experiences though and keeps bees in top-bar hives in Wyoming, and I would think thats much colder than where you are. I found his web page one of the most interesting and useful about top-bar hives (http://www.bwrangler.com/bee/index.html)

  12. Inge Says:

    Hello I am new to NC and new to beekeeping and want to start with a tbh also. Just find it more to the bees advantage I guess .Though that is a matter of opinion around here. I am in Hope Mills and ordered my first bees, now to make the tbh. Bees are coming in April. I am so excited and worried at the same time Love what you have done

  13. Mike Paoletto Says:

    Nice job I like your functional design. Please don’t mistake this for lazy but how would I get the templet set for the design? Mike

  14. kawayanan Says:

    By template set, I assume you mean like a blueprint or design? I designed the hives using Google’s Sketchup (free), and you will need to download and install it to look at my design. Once you have sketchup installed, you can download my design from Google’s online 3D warehouse. You can use Sketchup to measure things and check angles (like a 3D blueprint). The model is made of components that can be separated so you can measure each part individually. Included in the file you can download is a layout of how to get that the main parts from one sheet of 3/4″ plywood.

    I hope that answers you questions

  15. Volunteer Beekeeper Says:

    Thanks for the design. I have built two hives over the winter using your template and will be installing my packaged bees this weekend. As a novice beekeeper, I have enjoyed your monthly postings that I plan to use as a rough guideline for progress measurement. By the way, here in Knoxville, Tennessee, I have shared your design with several members of the Knox County Beekeeper’s Association. While most members will still operate traditional Langstroth hives, my hives have generated a great deal of interest thanks to you! If the colony does well, I have been asked to host field site visit for the entire club to educate members on TBHs.

    Best Regards and thanks again!

  16. kawayanan Says:

    Volunteer Beekeeper,

    Sounds great! Its always interesting to see other beekeepers reactions to topbar hives. I’d love to see pictures of your hives and hear how the bees are doing. You can email me at kawayanan “at” gmail “dot” com.

  17. Jay Keller Says:

    Hi there,

    I have looked at your plans on sketch-up (great), but can’t seem to figure out how to get the dimensions/angles from the diagram. Is there a way to get those from the program?

  18. kawayanan Says:

    I added a section at the end of my design page (above) that explains how to get the measurements and angles from Google Sketchup. Hopefully that answers you questions. If not, just let me know.

  19. fred Says:

    I just built a tbh over the 4th. I have a small swarm that decided to take up residence in a inground sprinkler control valve box. I was going to have the bees moved into the tbh. My concern is, if I move the hive into its new home, do I need to feed them? I think the hive has only been there for a few weeks so I do not know if there is a comb of any size as of yet which would need to be moved also. I was thinking of contacting a local beekeeper assn. to help move the bees from the sprinkler box. Obviously I am new to this hobby and have been exploring a number of websites. I was going to also construct a bee-vac to help facilitate the move.
    Any advice would be helpful

    Fred,
    SF Bay Area

  20. kawayanan Says:

    First, contacting a local beekeepers association is a good idea. It always good to have some one local who is experienced in your area.

    My first concern would be about the bees, and are they Africanized. I think California does have problems with Africanized bees. The reason I bring this up, is that one of the warning signs is the location and type of nest sites. European bees generally like to nest higher up, and in larger cavities. Nesting at or below ground level, and in small spaces is often considered a trait of Africanized bees. Its possible that the bees are European, but they may not be. When the hive is new (after swarming), even Africanized bees may seem gentler due to small numbers and not much of a hive to protect yet. I would definitely be careful of a swarm that took up residence in an inground sprinkler control box. This is where contact with a good local beekeeper would be invaluable.

    As for feeding, it all depends on whether you are able to transfer any honey stores, and whether there is a nectar flow on. If they have stores or have blossoms they can work, they might be able to get by without feed. Its probably not a bad idea to feed though. If they need it, they will take it. If there is a good flow going, they may not.

  21. Volunteer Beekeeper Says:

    Kawayanan,
    It has been awhile since I last posted, but I wanted to give you an update. Top-Bar hives and bees are doing well. Our local beekeepers’ association has published a website and my hives (your design) are featured in some of the member photos. Feel free to check it out if interested! http://www.kcbaoftn.org

    Thanks again!

  22. Bee hives at a Michigan homestead | Tanglewood Hollow Says:

    [...] This is the design I’m liking the most right now. I love the efficiency of the set up. There is less equipment for start up, and the extractor can be something as simple as a car jack in a small mount. As an added bonus, you get a lot of bee’s wax out of the deal. [...]

  23. Elsa Says:

    I just LOVE your design. I made two hives last year out of mostly 1×6″ cedar and am making a 3rd (at least) using your design this year. I’m trying other ones too, but by far and away yours are the nicest I’ve seen. My son is building his first – a simple KTBH – and his Senior Year he will make one like yours.

    The only major modification I did with my hives was to make the roof in two sections – one on either end – to make it a little easier for me to work.

    When I share pictures of my hives on different groups (mainly Beesource.com) I get lots of e-mails asking where I got my design. I always give you credit and post your link. Would you prefer I use “Kawayanan” or Sean? You did an amazing job on this design. Maybe some day I’ll master Sketchup. :-)

    I truly believe of all the designs I’ve seen out there, yours make the most beautiful hives. Thanks!

    ~ Elsa

  24. christopher saboi Says:

    Though I have no idea of goggle design I will try to contact the person who knows t o design using Google design. Hope to construct quite number of your hive Thanks for your website.

    Chris.Kenya

  25. Tyler W. Cox Says:

    I’ve uploaded the drawings that I made to http://www.decieve.us/KTB/
    They may be of use to those who are having problems using Google ShetchUp. The drawings are 300dpi 8 1/2″x 11″ images to allow for high quality printing.

  26. Abbas, Uganda Says:

    Hey, thanx 4 sharing wat u know with us…. iam going to try it out in my workshop n iknow it will definitely work for us down here. Nice time

  27. Don Beaver Says:

    I am interested in building a TBH. I would like to ask how well your bees overwintered this year? Thanks for your plans

  28. Keobiditse Moji Says:

    Could you please provide the measurements of the Kenyan top bar hive in centimetres.

  29. Keobiditse Moji Says:

    Please provide measurements of Kanyan top bar hive in centimetres

    • Broken Timbers Honey Says:

      The easiest way to convert from inch to cm is to take the INCH # in decimal format and multiply it by 2.54. Multiply that by 10 to get MM!

      Dave

  30. Jmairz Says:

    Thank you for all of this great information, we can’t wait till spring now to try your TBH design.
    Is there any fellow Michiganders out there who have tried TBH’s yet, and if so, how well did you do?

    Thanks again,

  31. Daniel Says:

    well, I just built my first TBH using your plans……loosely. we decided to keep costs down and not to worry about being pretty. We basically cut the ends down to be level with the tops of the bars and widened the bars a bit to over hang just a tad. We used the 2×2’s to make a frame for the lid, but we made it a level rectangle instead of an A-frame. using some scraps we added corner supports to the 2×2’s and made one end thicker than the other. We covered it with roofing tin and filled any voids in with expanding foam. you can check it out here…………http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4478&id=100000411654671&saved#/album.php?page=2&aid=4478&id=100000411654671

    to the creator of this design can you email me at debay777@yahoo.com

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  33. Matt Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m planning on building two hives for the spring. Your design looks great.

  34. Bob Says:

    Kawayanan, you mentioned:

    “I have the top-bars sitting on a ledge inside the hive.”

    The only problem I see with this design (as opposed to having the top-bars sitting on the side walls) is when you are pulling out the combs, then could get stuck on the ledge since the hive walls are wider inside the hive. Or am I missing something?

    Thanks,
    Bob

  35. leonard Says:

    Thanks for the info about KTBH. I need some other kind of help. Does anybody know where one could buy plastic Queen cups needed for grafting Queen bees? I live in kenya.

    • richie Says:

      you can get the plastic queen cups from a company called thornes in england http://www.thorne.co.uk they will sent international but if you are any good with your hands you can make them with a 9mm diamiter dowel rounded over on the end and dipped in melted wax 2 or 3 times to the depth of about 6 mm allowing to cool between dippings and to fix them pour melted wax on the top bar and stick the wax cups to it and pour a little wax around them to ensure they are secure. then graft in the larvea in. the way i do it is to cut an inch strip of eggs from desired breeding stock and tie with fishing line in a x pattern to top bar in a queenless hive and they will draw down the cells them selves

  36. Matt Reed Says:

    Thanks for all of your work on this — it’s very helpful information for top bar beekeepers everywhere! We are currently investigating a new roof design for our hives (that we sell) and we may steal some of your ideas. :)

    Best regards,
    Matt

  37. Chris Wyse Says:

    Hi,

    Nice job with this site. Tons of useful information. I appreciate the time you spent compiling it.

    I have completed two top bar hives using your design, and have installed bees in one of them. I didn’t make a follower bar – I missed it when I was building the hives (I also missed the 1/8″ spacer at the walls of the hive – need to add that). I may make a follower bar before winter in case I need to limit space to help them heat the hive.

    I’ve searched the entire site, and read all your forum entries, but couldn’t find the answer to this question. How do you decide where to place the top bars? Do I just put all the 1 1/4″ bars in the front and the 1 1/2″ bars in the back? After the brood nest is built, do I take out any thin top bars and replace them with the thicker ones? Does the brood nest continue to grow, or does it hit a limit?

    At installation time, I put the thin top bars in the front. I think I did about 15 of each type. I put the queen hanging in the middle of the thin top bar section. It seems to be going fine so far. The bees are building comb along the ridge of the top bars. I’m going to check them again this weekend – which will be two weeks since installation. I’d like to adjust the top bars appropriately at that time. I’m guessing that I’ll see mostly brood nest. If I see a honey comb, does that mean the brood nest won’t expand anymore? In that case, Should I remove any 1 1/4″ bars and replace them with 1 1/2″ bars? If the nest is in the middle, with space in the front and the back, should I slide the nest to the front, or should I fill the front with thicker bars? Will the bees always build on an adjacent bar, or would they start building in the back of the nest to utilize the larger bars?

    As you can probably tell by now, I’m a complete novice, with no local help. Any suggestions and comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  38. Beekeeping Fanatic Says:

    Wow, I just love this design, I may have to implement some of those roof designs!

  39. andy Says:

    all of these hives so say natural bee keeping organic and the rest how do you get wild bees to go in your hive can you please help i will under stand if it is aclosely gaurded secret thank you andy

  40. Patrick Shields Says:

    I’m in the same camp with Chris Wyse. Ditto to his question about getting the great mandella working. I have a conventional hive, but am building and plan to go to top bar for two more this spring. I’m reading, reading and suddenly found myself sasking those same questions. Reckon the bees will tell me in a year or two? Or maybe one of you guys who have some anwers.

    Pat Shields

  41. Chris Wyse Says:

    Hi Pat,

    I actual found a little information… I subscribe to Bee Culture magazine, and the August 2010 issue had an article on top bar hives. The article was interesting and helpful, and the author also referenced the only source she had found for keeping top bar hives, “Small Scale Beekeeping”. It’s an old manuscript written by the Peace Corps. There are a few chapters in there that are very helpful. Here is the link:

    http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED241775

    Hope this helps.

    Chris

  42. Mkong Philip Yunji Says:

    The KTB design is mavellous. I have followed the design and installed at several locations in Oku, Nouth West Cameroon. The rate of colonization in warmer zones is the same with the traditional bee hive. In coder zones (less than 10 degrees), colonization is zero. Even when we transfered colonized hives from warm to colder zones, all absconded or died.

    Can you design a warmer KTB hive adapted to the cold Mount Oku region?

  43. Mkong Philip Yunji Says:

    The KTB design is mavellous. I have followed the design and installed at several locations in Oku, Nouth West Cameroon. The rate of colonization in warmer zones is the same with the traditional bee hive. In coder zones (less than 10 degrees), colonization is zero. Even when we transfered colonized hives from warm to colder zones, all absconded or died.

    Can you design a warmer KTB hive adapted to the cold Mount Oku region?

    Thanks

    Philip

  44. EUGENE Says:

    hi how u doing?im from pretoria in south africa. i had a couple of wooden boxes that measered 320mm wide by 540mm long and 470mm deep that i convertd in to topbar hives and i cant believe the amount of honey that i toke out my first time.i got out 28kg of first grade honey from hive 1 and another 24kg of hive 2. i still have 7hives that in plan 2 take out but i dont have a market 4 my honey and now i dont know what to do with it.i did give alot away 2 family and friends.i also have learned from my father how to find wild hives and i have 24 wild hive that i want to put in2 the boxes in taking about.thanx 2 ur site i have learned 2 make frames 4 the hives. enjoy ur beekeeping and take care. God bless

  45. Wendy Says:

    Am looking forward to adding your design to our apiary this year. Most of my hives are grandfather’s 1950’s traditional hives – and the top bar will be an interesting addition. Have you ever considered using cedar 1x’s instead of plywood to avoid the formaldehyde found in most glues? I have one plywood hive, and the bees seem to avoid that hive in favor of the cedars – placement unimportant.

  46. veristhompson@live.com Says:

    Looks O.K except for the shiny roof.This will create heat in the hot summer sun.Bee queens cant take excessive heat.It will cause them to lay less eggs and possibly die.Even with insulation in the top air space of a sloped roof hive this shiny metal is not a good idea if you live in a hot area with lots of summer sun.Like we do here in the southern united states.I even keep the metal on my flat top commercial hives painted white to reflect the suns heat.

  47. Abe Says:

    Here’s a similar design made from a barrel. I imagine it could be built for $10:

    http://www.velacreations.com/bees.html

  48. KMI Houseplans Says:

    Thanks for the info, its quite interesting.I also would like to built the same in future.

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  50. jacqueline jones Says:

    hello, do you sell your beautiful hives? i don’t have access to any woodworking tools and live in a city. thank you! jacqueline

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  52. Chris Skilton Says:

    I’ve been planning and planning — no bees yet — but definitely will do top bar variation. Then I found your site. I also just recently started using Sketchup. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  53. Dennis Murrell Says:

    Hello Kawayanan

    Are you still keeping bees? How about your tbhs?

    I once BWrangled, but now everything is at:

    http://beenatural.wordpress.com

    Hope all is well.

    Regards – Dennis

  54. Aaron Says:

    Do you need a queen excluder in this style of hive? How do you keep brood out of the cells you wish to harvest if you do not use one? If you do use one is it in the plans? I didn’t see that you mentioned one.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    No. You rely on the bees to separate the honey combs from the brood comb. The outer combs will not contain any brood. You only harvest combs without any brood.

  56. james l moseley Says:

    please help m get your plans. lowry love you for working with bees.

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  59. Anonymous Says:

    hi my name is violet can you put a diagram of atop bar hive on this blog.

  60. GDavis Says:

    I use a top bar hive in Denver. From my experience, the top bar hive does need insulation… I know 5 other top bar hive keepers and their bees did not overwinter. Mine overwintered very strongly. My hive sits on cinder blocks. For winter, I pack the area between the cinder blocks with dirt then insulate the base to provide for thermal mass similar to what would be realized in a Langstroth hive. It’s also important to move the follower board in tight and restrict the entrance. I don’t insulate on the sides with the exception of the cavity left from moving the follower board, so as to give the hive a chance to wick away moisture better. Everyone’s hive will be slightly different but just think of trying to mimic the environment of a hole in a tree. Thermal mass is critical to success.

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    Looks ok but one big no-no plywood off gasses and is harmful to your bees, or are you just trying to sell plans and hives?
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  71. Clint Says:

    I followed your plans this spring and built 2 hives. They are great. My only suggestion is shrink the width of the hive so the bars sit directly on the sides of the hive instead of the lip the plans call for. I did have 2 occasions that the bees built comb wider than the opening and I had to rotate the bar to get it out because it was too wide to fit with the lip that the bar sits on. My plan is to build 6 more this winter that are narrow enough to not need a lip to sit the bars on. Thanks for the great starting place though!

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  73. Leah Says:

    I like the looks of your plan. I am looking to make a top bar hive with 12 3/8″ bars to be interchangeable with my warre hive and I couldn’t find the final dimensions of your project.

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  75. Ellis Ralph Says:

    Hello, I love your design, and the features included. My question is: isn’t it too small? The short 3 foot length makes it cheap to get out of sheets of plywood, but on Michael Bush’s site he says: ” You only have a limited space to work with and no supers to add on, so if you start with a very small TBH it will swarm. Constantly. You need to start with a large one and manage the space well.” I am wondering whether you — or any of you, readers — have found that say, four feet long would be a better size?

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