Tri Gable Lea Top Bar Honey Bee Hive Complete Kit
Order a locally made hive from our farm!
Note: most of these are sold locally with a free mini lesson & pick up by appointment. However, we now can ship these flat-packed (unassembled) to the lower 48 states! Shipping will likely be between $150-200.
For those who have purchased A mail-order Top Bar Hive, here is a video of me assembling the major components of the hive. This will give you an idea of where all the pieces go.
Here is a helpful tutorial about how to set up your top bar hive for the first time.
The hive is made with 1" thick locally sourced rough cut pine. This is thicker and provides more insulation than conventional boards. Its rustic rough-cut surface can be painted, stained, or protected with oil or paint as you see fit. Bolting on the legs is the only assembly required.
- The pressure-treated legs are at a sturdy angle and are bolted to the frame.
- The hinged roof has about 2" of headspace for tool storage and/or winter insulation.
- The roof is chained so it doesn't overextend as you inspect the hive.
- 2 follower boards made from high-grade oak plywood.
- 30 19" top bars with comb guides
- Solid Bottom Board comes standard - Since we promote treatment-free beekeeping where you don't monitor mites, we want the bees to have access to the floor of the hive so they can do their housekeeping and keep it clean. Screened bottom with a removable/adjustable bottom board for monitoring mites is available at no extra cost upon request.
- There are five entrance holes on the hinge side of the hive (three in the middle and one at either end of the sides). Other entrance options are available upon request.
Pull Down the Drop Down Menus to Select Different Customizations
Observation Window: 9 out of 10 customers choose this model. This can be built into the hive and provide you and your family with a safe and unintrusive way of seeing what your bees are up to. We use glass instead of Plexi and I seal it by using animal-safe caulking. This way neither the glass nor the caulking off-gasses into your bees' home and into their stores. (Orders that are shipped DO NOT come with glass or caulking at this time however it is easy to get a local hardware store to cut a 1/8" thick sheet to 6"x36" and install the glass yourself).
Entrances: You can choose the standard 5 entrance layout where the hive starts building comb in the center of the hive and works toward the ends. You may choose a slot or holes entrance(s) in the end wall of the hive where the hive starts on one end and works toward the other.
Before you check out, decide if you'd like any of our top bar hive accessories:
- Nuc-Up (most popular add-on) - this is a cradle that holds a 5 frame nuc under the hive. It allows you to start your hive with the best bees possible; a local nuc from a reputable breeder that has comb, brood, honey and is fully functioning as a colony rather than a package of bees from another state.
- Feeding Frame Top Bar (most popular add-on people come back for in the fall) - a top bar framed out to hold winter candy, fondant, protein patties, etc. It is framed to fit this hive and allow bee space for the bees to move around the feeder board.
- Spare Top Bars, Spacers, Follower Boards
- Comb stand - to rest a bar on to take pics/inspect the comb hands-free. This is also the same width as the bars so it can rest on top of them or even inside the hive
- Eco-floor - attaches to your hive and can be used in an effort to conserve energy in the hive and possibly help the hive combat varroa mites.
- Top bar nuc box/bait hives - 10 bar box designed to hang in a tree to capture free swarms of bees and transfer them with ease into your top bar hive. This can double as a nuc box
Here's a look at some other aspects of the hive's design.
I've done a lot of research on the different top bar designs, talking to other beekeepers, and looking at other widely distributed designs by Phil Chandler, Less Crowell, and the Gold Star hive. After analyzing all of these and doing some algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; I've settled on a design that uses a very long 19" topbar and a deep body made out of 1x12 local rough cut lumber. This means the walls are a full inch thick and provides more insulation; this is thicker than most homemade and commercial hives/kits using plywood or .75" thick lumber.
Let's talk math: When I compare the cross-section of my design, compared to the others available, my design seems to maximize both the volume per bar and the amount of surface area of connection per bar for bees to build their comb. This balances the need for volume and reduces the likelihood of comb breaking off. It is also based on the 60 degree and 120-degree angles the bees naturally use in comb construction. The walls are angled at 30/60 degrees to reduce the likelihood of the bees connecting comb to the walls.
The 19" bars can be transferred into a traditional Langstroth hive. Meaning your healthy hive could be used to support other local beekeepers with bars of brood, honey, etc. Also, you can market nucs to both local top bar keepers as well as those who use a traditional Langstroth hive.
For local pick up: The hive packs down to roughly a 4'x2'x2' long box that fits in almost any car (with the seat down).