Top Bar Hive Design Plans



Top Bar Hives are Beautiful in Simplicity

They are the minimum needed for a movable comb hive. Elegant in their design, simplistic in their management, and wonderfully inexpensive.

14 Responses to “Top Bar Hive Design Plans”

  1. John says:


    Looking at your videos has been very educational. I am in the planning phase of building my TBH. I have been noticing that in some of your videos for maintaince, I see your hive openings at the bottom ends running horizontally. On the making of TBH videos you have the 2 inch diameter holes drilled. On the plans here on your website it shows a opening made on the long side at the bottom. In your experiences with the forementioned entrances, what works best?


  2. Jennifer H. says:

    What are the dimensions of your hives? (upper width, lower width, depth, length of hive?)

  3. Gerry H says:

    Good day, MT. I notice you use the sloping side of the Kenyan TBH. I have read repeatedly that this does not inhibit side attachments. I think it does offer the advantage of better support for the comb from below in hot weather. What are your thoughts?

    All the best,

  4. Jeff Da ReF says:

    The construction of the Top Bar hive is fairly simple, just a couple questions:

    You use 1×10, how long?

    How long should the top bars be?

    What are the angles for the end pieces?


    Jeff Da Ref

  5. Estelle says:

    You designed this from models used in hot countries. I live in Canada. What would the changed be for cold weather. Should the wood be thicker? Would the bottom be closed up in stead of the open hardware cloth?

  6. Pale Rider says:

    The video is great but would you please email me the plans for making this beehive? My father will help and he is not computer savy but is a great builder. What modifications would you make to the plans for cold weather because I live in Michigan.


  7. walter wade says:

    i am looking fore the plans to building a top bar hive i have watch sevral viedo but non give all the sizes

  8. jen storey says:

    Hey ther Estelle and Pale Rider if you’re still checking back…your modifications are to make sure that you definitely have a bottom on your hive. Make plugs for your other entrances so that in the winter you only have one hole. Use a slanted roof on your TBH, some people even insulate the roof. This will keep the snow from weighing down your hive roof. Cedar shingles and plywood, as well as regular roofing materials, are all options. Make sure your bees have plenty of honey for the cold months 🙂

  9. jacques TURCHET says:


    Je vois beaucoup de KTBH mais je n’en vois pas qui respectent l’angle de 120

  10. mccartney says:

    L’angle de 120 degr

  11. steve says:

    Hi guys,

    First year with bees and a home made top bar hive – question for you about heat , if i you have time for it.. Im in northern BC so ive paid attention to the design for winter.. but i feel that maybe i dont know as much as i could about bees and the summer..

    We dont have really scorching summers, but with a solid floor, all wood construction ( 1″thick cedar ) and only three entrance holes ( side entrance, started with a mid-hive bee bowl 8 bars wide ) are they going to be able to stay cool enough if the outside temp hits 35 or so degrees ?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give!

    Steve in Terrace BC

  12. I like the videos but would like to see more dimensions given. Thanks.

    “Check out my Survivalist Blog at the Clever Survivalist and read daily Survival Guide content.”

  13. Holly says:

    Check out Les Crowder top bar hives. Hes out of New Mexico. He has a book out on TBHs thats a great little book for people to read. There are plans in his book or if you go to his website, they will email you the plans for free. Thats what I did last year and built two hives from the plans. His website is

  14. NAthalie B. says:


    Here are our free simple plans for Kenyan Top-Bar Hives – Les Crowder and I redesigned these plans which use the 30 degree / 120 degree angle exactly
    With a partition in the center, they can host 2 colonies comfortably. They can be made longer or shorter depending on your goals.
    We recommend using 2″ lumber for twice the insulation.

    there is an easy method to convert Langstroth frames to Top-Bar Hive described at the end of the plans, which works very well

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