Kenny's Top Bar Hive


Custom built during the winter of 2007-2008. Will accommodate 23 top bars in the colony side and 10 in the surplus honey side. This unit has a permanent divider not yet drilled for passage to the surplus area.


With the angles cut as they are, they end up vertical in the opening for the screen, and horizontal under the bottom.

Final assembly without the divider board. 

Divider installed and follower board set in.

Testing the capabilities of the hive.

The view of the entrance from inside.

The outside entrance.

A bottom view of the entrance.

Setting the bars in place.

The top bars use started strips of wax comb. This is to give them a starting place to draw the comb. I used foundation for Ross rounds, normal food grade foundation cut to about 1/2" high, and then the length cut in half. I found the thinnest saw blade and cut a slit for the foundation to rest in. The strips are held in place by melted wax poured into the slits, then the strips placed in the molten wax.

All the bars in place.

Checking the spacing for standard and top bars when NUC is installed.

The bottom is closed in with hardware cloth allowing debris to fallout, while containing the bees.

This unit was built to accommodate standard Langstroth frames, and standard division board feeders. It also has a screened bottom for Varroa and ventilation. Seen to the right of the feeder is a moveable follower board. This is to keep the brood chamber size limited while they are building comb. Next to the feeder is a frame of honey. The bar to the left of that is the single bar picture below. There are 5 standard framed with capped brood. (this is working left to right for now)

The bees seen here in action bringing in pollen.

Here they are working on one of the top bars. I place the burlap bag across the top of the bars to stop pests from taking up residency and also to keep the bees from building comb up to the cover.

Another bar, closer to the entrance. They have been in the hive for about 36 hours at this point. I installed a NUC from my queen production last summer. I wintered the NUC is a 2 story setup. These are Italians. The bar below is directly above the entrance, between a frame of honey, frame 1, and the beginning of the brood nest.


New photos 5-8-08

It's hard to miss a marked queen.

One of my queens from the 2007 batch.

There are larva in the right section of comb. If you download an zoom in, you will see them.

I add new top bars between brood combs encouraging the bees to build strait combs. Left with too much space, they would tend to cross bars as the hone stores build up.

The queen is still using some of the standard framed for brood.

Here you see the comb not being built on the centerline of the bar.

As you can see, they over built some honey comb, encroaching into the next bars space.

There's only one way to fix it, just trim off the extra comb.

The above bar/frame is just about fully drawn out to the sides and down to the bottom of the hive.

More to come...