Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Bar Update

The top bar is built.  I didn't necessarily follow a specific design, but instead drew what I liked from several sources.   I did order the plans from beethinking.com though.   The plans are nice, but honestly the build is a bit more complicated than I was wanting.   I didn't necessarily need a hinging lid, nor did I want an inspection window.   However, since beethinking is perhaps the most significant commercial producer of topbar hives, I decided I wanted to keep at least the width close tho theirs so that I could use their top bars.

After top width, I needed to make a decision on the side angle.   These vary considerably and I couldn't really find a lot of strong data to support one angle over another.   The best was perhaps some anecdotal references that a 120° / 60° results in the least amount of attachment (when the bees attach the come to the side).  

I have gone with a screened bottom, figuring I can close it later if desired.   But generally, I have used open bottoms on Langstroth hives without issue.    I do have concerns about proper ventilation in a top bar hive, so this decision was really driven by a desire to ensure I have good ventilation.

I built a stand, roughly based on the beethinking plan, though a tad shorter due to a cutting mistake.   I also adjusted the angle to match the sides of my have and just let the hive rest in the open top of the braces.   The beethinking design has a cut out that the hive drops down into.

I also built a sloped top cover, similar to the beethinking design.   It is a little larger than I would like (too wide ... not sure where I measured wrong), but I suppose that is better than a little too small.   

I think the finished product looks nice and will serve well as a decorative hive in a corner of the yard.

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