Top Bar Hive Plans

Wasatch Beekeepers Association Top Bar Hive Plans



These plans from the Wasatch Beekeepers Association in Utah, by David Bench are extremely well drawn with clear dimensions and steps outlined right on the diagram.  They also take into account using standard sized lumber, and bars that match the length of Langstroth hives–a consideration that can prove very useful in a mixed hive-style apiary or when sharing bees with friends using different equipment.

Though our design has been slightly modified from these, they were a great starting point. We don’t use their legs, or feeder designs, preferring rather to simply cut a hole in the back of the hive for a standard boardman feeder to slide into.  We’ve also modified the window design to create more of a light trap to prevent sunlight from coming into the cracks around the window opening by using glass the full length of the side, also eliminating the need to cut a hole out of one solid piece of wood.  This is easier and allows for smaller lumber to be used just cut two full length boards with grooves to hold the window in place.

A big thanks to David Bench and the Wasatch Beekeepers Association for publishing these hive plans!

It’s just deer corn, treated seed won’t hurt anybody right?

While it would be easy to draw that conclusion from these inaccurate assumptions:

  • people aren’t going to eat it
  • it doesn’t even have flowers, bees won’t get hurt right?
  • it’s not like we’re spraying anything


Here’s the problem:

What the bigger picture?  Honey bees alone are given credit for pollinating one third of all food consumed by humans.  These insecticides are directly impacting pollinator’s ability to survive.  Without pollination, the global food system is at risk–our ability to feed humanity is at risk.

New York Times:Decline of Pollinators Poses Threat to World Food Supply, Report Says

Crushing bees weakens colony strength

Another article worth reading from Randy Oliver’s


He poses the question, found in the URL above, “Since I couldn’t find a single controlled study in which the effects of the crushing of bees in the hive was clearly determined, I decided to use some of your donations to run a trial…”  and the short answer to his bit of direct research is ‘yes, in winter’.

Control colonies with no crushed bees were stronger after the study ended than colonies where bees were crushed.  Colony strength only diverged in the winter however…

A few links regarding pesticides and bees.

When French Beekeepers first saw evidence of insecticide poisoning immediately after the release of neonicotinoid insecticides in the 1990’s (what we now call CCD in the US), rumor has it that the beekeepers took their empty hives to Bayer Crop Science headquarters in Lyon, threw them over the locked gate, and set them on fire (I was unable to quickly find news supporting this online, but was told the story by a friend from France).

This got the attention of France’s environmental minister and the neonicotinoid class of pesticides are now on track to be permanently banned in France by 2018, thanks in part to their more sensible precautionary based risk assessment system which contrasts the US EPA’s ‘wait and see’ approach (

This isn’t rocket science, “Pesticides” are created to kill insects.  How would the health of pollinators in the U. S. look at this point if American beekeepers were as outspoken and pro-active about their livestock as our counterparts in France?

The links below are more ‘popular press’ light reading, most with references.  For some more scientific data, search around on  We also have a smattering of scientific papers listed on the ‘bee‘ page of this site.

It’s time to stop the madness.