TOP-BAR HIVE PLANS
We realize we could monetize these plans for our own profit.
However, our overarching goal is instead community outreach, and to make these plans available to people of all backgrounds and means, so that especially those who would not otherwise have the means to access these plans or hives still can start keeping bees in top-bar hives as easily and cheaply as possible.
Because, like Les Crowder always says, together we rise...
If you'd like to support us, we do welcome donations.
No amount is too small, and no pressure to donate.
If you do decide to donate in any way, we will be eternally grateful for
your spontaneous support and will use it to continue efforts of
democratization of Natural, Easy Beekeeping as a source of pleasure or income.
Because together, we can make the world a better place, for people of for bees.
Use thicker wood for cheaper material costs, sturdier hive and better insulation
Use thinner wood to transport often and ship, or for mini-Top-Bar Hive NUCs
Make it shorter (8-10 bars wide instead of 30-33) for TBH NUCs, transport, Queen rearing and swarm traps
Make it longer (40+ bars) to increase available volume and honey production
Use another end piece and additional entrances to split the hive in 2 and host 2 colonies
NOW IN INCHES AND METRIC!
Why build (or buy) a Bee Mindful Top-Bar HiveTM?
In 1979, Les Crowder had been beekeeping professionally for already over 20 years, using heavy commercial Langstroth hives. Tired of the endless equipment building and storing and the flimsy, cumbersome frames used in those, he decided to use an ancient concept to design his very own horizontal, frame-less top-bar hive so that it was cheap, simple to make/assemble and to manage. The Les Crowder Top-Bar HiveTM was born.
With over 35 years of field testing building and managing his no-nonsense top-bar hives, he partnered with Nathalie B. to revisit and refine his original concept for a truly no-fuss, simple, budget savvy version that respects the natural angles of hexagonal cells (30 degree) and the catenary curve the bees naturally follow when building comb, while making the hives super simple, cheap and easy to manage, turning it into the People's Hive Of The Future: the “Bee Mindful Top-Bar HiveTM” was born.
This standard 19” top-bar hive has the tremendous advantage to feature longer comb attachment surface and shallower depth than 17” TBH, which means a higher center of gravity for the combs and much less risk of honey heavy comb collapsing in the heat.
The elegance of this hive resides in its utmost simplicity, accessibility to all, and versatility (can you say double, triple top-bar hive? Langstroth to TBH conversion? Maximum airflow? High customization options? Increased insulation?
Today, Bee Mindful, LLC provides these free plans for stationary heavy duty top-bar hives so everyone somewhat crafty can make them at home with basic materials, tools and woodworking skills: it only takes a few simple cuts, 5 parts and 30 bars, a few screws and very little time to make.
We also manufacture and sell lighter full length top-bar hives and mini top-bar hives (aka top-bar hive nucs boxes) for those not wanting to make their own.
COMING SOON: our detailed Easy-Peasy Lang to TBH adapter hives (4-in-1 TBH) (see an intro above)
What are Top-Bar Hives?
The concept of Top-Bar hive has been around for hundreds of years and has been used all over the world, from Greece to Africa.
Today’s Bop-Bar hives are the modern version of very ancient and simple beekeeping methods.
They are beekeeping at its simplest, easiest and cheapest: a protected cavity, with bars placed across the top and spaced appropriately so the colony may be inspected and managed by the beekeeper easily.
In Top-Bar Hives, the bees make 100% natural combs from their own wax, building different cell sizes as needed based on the season, so there is no exposure to the heavy chemical contamination from foundation and the colony can best adapt to their specific needs.
When inspecting, only 3-4 bars are removed and the brood’s nest is never fully exposed, which protects the colony and keeps the bees much calmer than in vertical hives.
Bars are inspected one at a time, so there is no heavy lifting. When using legs (optional), the work is all done at waist level without bending or twisting: this is a back-saver, ergonomically friendly hive.
Top-Bar hives best adhere to the scientific principles of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) pyramid, and facilitate mechanical intervention/manipulations. Applied properly and in a timely fashion, IPM strategies eliminate and discourage the need for treatments, so in effect Top-Bar hives are a great tool in the fight against Pests and Pathogens, especially Varroa Destructor.