I am a propenent of Top Bar (horizontal) Hives because:
- A TOP BAR HIVE OFFERS FULL MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES AVAILABLE TO BEEKEEPERS. If you can do it in a Langstroth hive, you can do it in a top bar hive. Honey, wax, queens, and pollination are all possible. Equipment is shaped differently, that's all.
- TOP BAR HIVES AVOID MUCH HEAVY LIFTING IN HIVE MANAGEMENT/INSPECTIONS. Once stationed on their hive stands, manipulating the hive requires lifting of only 3-8 pounds at once. Langstroth hives, meanwhile are formed of multiple boxes each weighing 35-80+ pounds. More than any other hive design, top bar beekeeping accommodates those beekeepers who consider their vertebrae as precious.
- WORKING TOP BARS REQUIRES LESS HAND-STRENGTH. Enjoy simple lifting and ease of manipulation using top bars without stress in your finger-joints. Bars are simply lifted on the fingertips and compared with frame hives, the bees are less able to cement together the box with propolis where we work. Bees are completely capable, however of reinforcing combs by attaching them to sidewalls. For inspections, we must remove this
- Because of management ease and lack of lifting, hive inspections are QUICK and minimally interrupt the natural behaviors of the honeybee. Opening a top bar hive exposes only those combs with which you are directly working, unlike Langstroth hives which expose 10 or more frames of bees at once. Translation: BEEHIVE INSPECTIONS ARE A BREEZE, WHICH MAKES THEM FUN.
- TOP BAR HIVE STYLES ARE A SMALLER STARTUP INVESTMENT THAN FRAME HIVES. They don't require as much specialty equipment for maintenance and support and they don't require extra storage space either. Frame jigs for building frames? Nope. Wiring jigs either?? Nope. Fancy (and costly) honey extracter? No! Storage of all the extra boxes and frames during off-season? NO!
- BEES DRAW THEIR OWN WAX COMB. Did you know that healthy, mature bee colonies prefer to have a 16.5% drone comb (for male bees) in their hive? That's harder for them to do if their forced to build their nest on man-made foundation guides. Let's let bees be bees when it comes to arranging their house. This will result in a more fit and healthy organism. Wax absorbs poisons and pesticides, so continuous comb production and harvest will reduce contaminates inside of the beehive.
Those are my concise reasons for pro-top bar beehives. For fairness in discussion, I did once own and operate 10 colonies inLangstroth equipment and I enjoyed learning and understanding the basics that system. After side-by-side comparisons of these hive-systems in 2013-2014 I choose to expand my business using top bar hives exclusively.
A beehive is simply a cavity (box, tree, or other suitable site) that bees live in. Regardless of hive design, bee biology is unchangeable and this is what beekeepers must accommodate towards.