Build or Buy It?

Long Ago and Far Away

The times are a changing.

It’s been 32 years since I built my first top bar hive! There weren’t even any tbh plans back then. Just the concept of a sloped sided box with comb wide top bars. That first tbh was built as a novelty. And it never saw a single bee. I was involved with keeping thousands of commercial hives which took all of my time and energy.

I’m not sure what happened to that hive. Maybe I gave it away, or used it for some other purpose. I just don’t remember. But I do remember moving it out of the way, for years, until it finally disappeared.

A dozen years ago, I built another one, the first in a series of tbhs. At that time James Satterfield had the only tbh information on the web. That original site is gone now. But it’s contents are still available thanks to the wayback machine at:*/

(On another note, don’t forget to submit your favorite sites to the wayback machine as they all eventually succumb to web rot.)

Back then, if a beekeeper wanted a tbh, he had to design and build it for himself. That’s why much of this site’s content was based on building them.

Today, It’s a New Day

That’s what my son says when he wants to devalue my opinion. 🙂 But it’s true concerning tbhs. There are many high quality natural beekeeping sites/blogs on the net today, far too many to link to.

And I’ve Googled “top bar hive kit” and found more than a dozen companies that manufacture or sell them!

So today, buying a tbh is another way to get into tbh beekeeping. But, because tbhs lack the flexibility of a more modular and flexible hive design, it’s especially important to determine their suitability before buying one. Does the hive meet the needs of:

  • the beekeeper
  • the bees
  • and a particular location/climate

It’s probably a good idea to:

  • look over my Build page. It can help a beekeeper evaluate a hive’s suitability
  • and then spend a little more time with Google looking at all the different kinds of tbhs. 🙂


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2 responses to “Build or Buy It?”

  1. Nice idea, Dennis —
    I thank you for it and I’d love to be on your list.

  2. MikeH says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Fantastic idea. I’m not a manufacturer but I find their sites a gol-bWine of info.

    Jim’s site has been preserved here -


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