Q&A Top Bar Hive Replacement

Question: I currently have a top bar hive and am looking to some how move it to a hive that requires less maintenance. A friend recommended you guys- I’ve seen her hives and they are great! I’m looking for hive recommendations and any help you can offer- I’m located in Spanish Fork.

Answer: We recommend a Langstroth hive as a lower-maintenance hive. The top bar can be a great hive, but, as you mentioned, they are more labor-intensive and more difficult to expand once bees reach capacity in the hive. With a Langstroth, when it gets almost full, you can add another box to the stack to increase hive volume.

We like deep boxes, as we think they resemble the bees natural tree cavities more than other size boxes (mediums and shallows). The only disadvantage to deep boxes is their weight. They can be quite heavy when full of honey, about 100 pounds. The thing is, you don’t have to lift the whole box at the same time. You can move a couple frames at once and save your back, if that is an issue.

For a typical Utah year, you will need 3 deep boxes, 30 frames, 1 lid and 1 bottom board

We produce the woodenware locally from local wood grown in local forests. We also raise local survivor stock bees and sell them in the spring. (But you just missed that for 2015).

We have a unique product, the middle bar frame, which enables us to use deep equipment with natural comb. Traditionally, deep frames are too heavy for the comb to support the weight of the honey and brood. Beekeepers used to spend lots of time stringing wires through the frame to support the comb. This still works, but then there is wire in the middle of the comb. The middle bar frame has horizontal wooden dowels running across the frame. It provides enough support for the comb, and allows you to cut honeycomb in 4×4 squares above and below the dowels, if desired.

With the middle bar frame, it will also be easier (not easy, but easier) for you to transfer existing comb from your top bar hive into the Langstroth. You can cut the comb from the top bar, and then sandwich it between the two dowels of the middle bar frame. Then the bees won’t have to start over on comb-building. It may mean sacrificing a row of brood, but that is better than starting over.

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My husband also invented a beautiful beekeeping box called “the barn hive.” It is a 5-frame nuc box, a feeder, storage compartment, and lid. It looks so pretty in the garden and is versatile. You can use it to transition between a 10-frame langstroth box to a narrower 5-frame box. The 5-frame box is easier to lift when harvesting honey.

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I am linking to our website, which has more information and photos of the middle bar frames





Alicia Moulton

The Honey Company

Posted in Beekeeping, the Honey Company and tagged , , , .

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