Top bar bee hives

Categories: Bee hive keeping, Bee kits, How to keep bees |



For the manufacture of top bar bee hive you need: bars of softwood or poplar, linden, aspen, paper board (wood fiber board, hard-LEP,  furniture cardboard).

Start building a bee hive with measuring the thickness of the materials. If they differ from the drawings – you will have to recalculate and  produce parts with regard to this allocation, which will sustain the required internal and external dimensions, as well as gaps in the assembled structure.

Top bar bee hives - building beehive (1)

Obey all safety rules when working on woodworking machines! Start with the attachments. Bars are required to obtain with electric saw, fixed under the table. Top of the table of a length of 1500 mm (59”) and a width of 700 mm (27”)  can be made of hard aluminum with thickness of 2-5 mm (0.07-0.19”), 5-8mm (0.19-0.31”) PCB or 8-10-mm (0.31-0.39”) plywood. The wider the cover, the more convenient to saw and trim the source material. The base of table is desirable to be a metallic (sewing machine, lab table.)

Side table edges should be parallel to a notch. On top of the table the overhead table moves, consisting of a plate with two hardboard wooden bars – 100x40x1500 mm (3.53*1.57*59”), which are perpendicular to a notch. Under the overhead table the two metal brackets are attached of 40x40x1500 mm (1.57*1.57*59”), which are perpendicular to wooden bars and strictly parallel to each other.

The accuracy of the angles at trimming blanks is provided by adjusting the four bearings, advocating the tabletop. This device allows you to trim canvas, boards and beams with very high accuracy, quickly and safely.

Before you firmly fix a main board with screws, fasten the clamps and a few times check the accuracy of its installation, cut sample with a width not less than 200 mm (7.87”) – to see and repair possible break off of the corners.

For cutting boards and bars  the guide line is usually pressed with the two clamps, but we have to make the top bar hive which needs a lot of bars 16 (0.62”) and a thickness of only 30 mm (1.18”), so it is more convenient to fix the guide line with two bolts or screws through the two holes in a special place. It saves a lot of time, material and ensure accuracy of workpieces. Make sure that the surface of blade is perpendicular to the  surface of table. Hard plate with a clamp, which limits the length of the workpiece, moves along the board.

Remember! First cut should be carefully checked by the necessary parameters. In the course of the work it is necessary to verify the dimensions of individual parts, to prevent mass mistake!

To sharpen the circular saws it is the best to use a cup-shaped stone of small diameter. Be very careful when selecting grit stones. Work with guard, wearing glasses, check  the conformity of marking of stone to the number of revolutions of your machine. Stones without marking are used only in manual grindstone. Dilute saw to 1, 3 – 1, 7 mm (0.05-0.06”) thickness – depending on the type of work. The thicker and denser the material, the more the dilute.

To prevent individual teeth of hacksaw that are beyond the dimensions of roughly scratching the surface of wood, we have to put the canvas on the plane and slightly polish with wide flat grinding stone with both sides. The same is done with the saw blade. On the go (subject to safety, wearing glasses) you move the whetstone to the side of the saw blade, so the first sparks appear. Polish so the teeth on both sides. Sharp and diluted saw gives a very clean cut, which does not require further treatment. 
After sharpening and fixing tool, start the manufacture of technological devices.

For high-quality adhesive of the walls of the hive you need slipway. This device provides greater accuracy when gluing long length and width parts. It is desirable to make it a double, negotiable. Working planes are fabricated  from chipboard with a smooth surface. Cover them with polyethylene so the workpiece is not glued to particleboard.

The frame of the boards of sections 100×30 mm (3.93*1.1”) with internal partitions provides the necessary rigidity of stocks. To the ends you secure axis with diameter of 12-25 25(0.47-0.98”), which are based on the racks with height of 700-800 mm (27.5-31.4”) of any design from scrap materials. Make bars 30×40 mm (1.18-1.57”) from the forty-section. Due to the fixed line on the table and  the filled saw blade you get  strictly same sticks with thickness of 30 mm (1.18”), with clean side surfaces. The prepared sheet hardboard put with the smooth side to the stocks. Put a template on it and mark the location for the longitudinal and transverse bars and entrance liners.

For joining use casein or PVA. The planes of the side bars cover with glue, put on the marked space and pinch with bars and bolts. Keep the glue appeared along the length seam – a guarantee of secure connections of hardboard and bar. Remove any excess glue with a screwdriver.

After setting all planks on one board with 240 mm (9.44”) pitch you flip stocks and collect a second panel of the same technology. Shields can be made on single stocks, but it requires large areas, materials and time.Top bar bee hives - building beehive (2)

Fixing the second panel, turn the slip and start to adjust cross-liners, using the overhead table of the saw. Cut the workpieces in place with minimal clearance and minimum gang. One by one remove the hold-down pads, spread the adhesive on liner, pinch them. To make pressure to the middle of the liner, place a 1-2 pieces of hardboard.    Uniform protrusion of the adhesive from joint is indicative of their proper selection.

Avoid large force when tightening the nuts. This indicates a poor preparation of details. Better to eliminate bad details, than to throw defective products. Often lubricate bolts with oil, less thread wears. In a day take shields from the stocks, make plane sticks to the level with the jointer and fill the internal volume with heat-insulating materials. Remember that all thermal insulation than foam absorb and retain moisture in itself. Therefore, thermal insulation should be brewed in polyethylene. Fillers of walls can be very different – easier and cheaper. One centimeter of the foam insulation is equal to 15-17 cm (5.9-6.7”) of wood. For welding of polyethylene use soldering iron. Filling the interior volumes, spread glue on plane bars and bushings, put hardboard, fixing it with two nails and turning 180 °, push in the same sequence, with the same plates. After final assembly of the walls and gouging with jointer edges to fit, you need to check the quality of the resulting surface. When applying one of the walls to another a gap between the planes should not exceed 0,5-1 mm (0.01-0.03”). Three walls – side, front and side – you deploy the internal sides up,  place by the templates notch and side rails on a flat surface.

Carefully check the diagonal form of the rectangles. The difference should not exceed 0, 5 – 1 mm (0.01-0.03”) - it is an indication that you got a really straight line (90) – a corner.  A width of a slit of the hive – 10 mm (0.39”) is the standard gap between the frames vertically in multiple hives. Determine the length of the hive by yourself, depending on the intended main harvest – in the range of 200 to 250 mm (7.87-9.84”). Drill the holes with a diameter of 10 mm (0.39”) at the ends of the slot of the hive. Release the blade of 50-60 mm (1.96-2.36”). Place the rack on the table, perpendicular to the saw blade. Uprite a piece to it and gently lower the saw. Make two slit cuts in markup of the slot of the hive. Saw with hacksaw the remaining jumpers and handle notch with a file and sandpaper.

On the back edge of the side wall, we need to make 5 mm (0.19”) wide and 30 mm (1.18”) depth gap for fixing the quick table. Axle hole of quick-table you make by a template. As the axis  can be used screws of 35×4 (1.37*0.15”),  steel wire 4 mm (0.15”). Now you need to glue and nail the guide bars 10 x 20 x 490 (0.39*0.78*19.2”).

Get a pre-assembled hive. It is desirable to make two equal-width inserts. attach them with clamps to the front of the hive, put the side walls partitioning, tighten them with clamps, turn the hive and start drilling holes on the front side for screws. Drill diameter should be at 0,5 mm (0.01”) less than the diameter of the screw, and the length – at least 20-25 mm (0.78-0.98”). Make a countersink for the screw head. The use of reversible screwdriver speeds assembly. Tighten the frames with the screws on the top and on the bottom of the hive, removing one by one inner liner.

Put the hive vertically and check the accuracy of the  assembly with a cassette. It should slide easily on any floor. Put the hive with a front wall to the floor and begin to hang prepared doors on loops, starting from the first floor. The lower and upper edges of the doors should uphold the cassette size of 5 mm (0.19”). Rotates shelf of hinges you saw on site.

Installing rigor ribs on the outside of the side walls can be subjected to the idea of locking the doors, moving the hive, firm commit to a certain place. Depending on this, you have to choose the material (wood, metal), shape (block, board, L-shaped, T-shaped, U-shaped profile, and so on), and fastening methods (glue, screws, nails, bolts, etc.). That is, you need to begin the hive, providing technical operating conditions corresponding to the conditions of your methods of beekeeping. 
Weatherproof, ants, rodents protection – at your discretion.

This beehive is expensive and requires a corresponding hive weather protection and from strangers. The ideal places for this type of hive are fixed and nomadic pavilions and attics and second floors of the houses. Do not rush to make changes to the proposed design of your hive and system of beekeeping. Better to make changes after few seasons of this system in your area.

For successful long-term operation of the hive all its internal surfaces should be twice impregnated with boiling at 200 ° vegetable oil. To do this, disassemble the hive marking corners and  carefully handle all the planes with oil on the workbench. One hive needs 1 kg of oil. This cleans the material, closes pores, virtually eliminates “propolising” of walls by bees. Impregnate the outer surfaces with the hot-wet varnish and cover with weatherproof paint.

Color of hives – blue, white, yellow, texture of front wall – matte, color of migratory board you can choose, depending on your experience, capabilities and advice literature.

In the time between the technological operations you complete manufacturing cassettes and frames. 
When making a cassette accurately maintain the dimensions and angles when cutting hardboard, making bars cross-section 16 x 16 mm (0.62*0.62”). Internal dimensions of the cassette precisely repeat the corresponding dimensions of multi-hive, so they are the basis for calculating the sizes of the remaining hives.

Experience has shown that bee propolis very little  cassettes made of oiled hardboard. Therefore, to the inner surfaces of the hives is better to use hardboard,  the using of plywood for casettes and side walls is undesirable because even boiling oil for impregnating plywood retains the ability to absorb moisture from the atmosphere with their middle sections. This is highly warped surfaces.

The using of particle board (chipboard) in the construction of the hive is excluded for the same reason (strong capacity).

Cassette assembly begins with gluing the frame, strapping of bars 16 x 16 mm  (0.62*0.62”).  Stick and nail  hardboard on three sides on the front wall (excluding the upper bar which traps the clamps).  Hammer nails 16×1 (0.62*0.03”), 20×1 (0.78*0.03”) from hardboard, with a pitch of 50 mm (1.96”). Their ends bent on the planted metal plate. This design has a great strength. The top and bottom bars on the sides of the cassette are attached with nails with glue. The glass is fixed with scraps of honeycombs to the back wall. You can use the plexiglass with thickness of 3-4 mm (0.11-0.15”).

 Set wire handle of 4 mm (0.15”) on the back. You put the ends of the handle to wood bars and strengten them with nuts, eliminating tearing handles during the extraction the cassette. You can use a durable string of synthetics. On the inside the frame must be chamfered 10 x 10 mm (0.39*0.39”). This is to prevent injury to the bees when you slide the cartridge and close the doors.

Drill two holes 10 mm (0.39”) in diameter on all walls of the cassette for the exit for the caught in the closed volume bees and drones. On the back wall the hole can be closed with a raised handle that prevents going out the bees from the cassette during examining the family through the window. On examination, use lantern with red glass (fotolantern).

During the winter overfill corrugated cardboard in the space between the side wall of the hive and the side wall of the cassette. If you need to disinfect the cassette, it is better to re-impregnate with boiling oil, to which bees are friendly.

A gap between cassettes you can override with PVC pipe, rubber tubing or apron made of polyethylene film so the bees do not bother you during the inspection of the family.

After stripping,  fill cassette with frames. It has sufficient diagonal stiffness. The proposed construction – the lightest in weight and strong enough for many years of use inside the hive.

It is convenient and securely to store cassettes in plastic bags with width of 200 mm (7.87”) or more, two columns of 5-6 storeys in height with pads soaked in vinegar essence.

In nomadic conditions for storing cassettes empty floor hives are suitable . Frames have upper spacers with height of 25 mm (0.98”) for easy viewing, bottom – 20 mm (0.78”) – for migrations. Width of the side rack frame you can make not 25 mm (0.98”), but 20 mm (0.78”) for easy viewing.

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Top bar bee hives

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  6. Vernon Purcell says:

    I was think of a hive like this, but to use it as a bee bank, by the means of taking frames from other hive, and replacing them with fresh frames to get the queen laying prolifically. I would then have bees available to start mating hives

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