Height and Width: Building a Top Bar Hive on the Cheap – Part 3

For all intents and purposes, our new top bar hive is complete! I still have to drill the entrance holes, but besides that, it is ready to go (read part 1 and part 2 of this series to see how we got here).

After assembling the hive with the help of my 3 year old daughter, I painted it with a crimson body and cream lid and legs. It’s pretty sharp, I think!

If you look closely at the photo above you’ll notice a strip of black material to the top of the bottom board. That is a foam insulation strip. I put it there so that the bottom of the hive will be sealed when the bottom board is closed. This will help with keeping the hive warm in the winter.

To finish the hive, I also had to make a follower board and complete the top bars.

For the follower board, I cut two 1×6 boards, stapled them together and then cut them to size based on the proportions of the hive interior. Then I attached the board to a top bar.


Finally I completed the top bars. I bought four 8 foot long pieces of triangle shaped floor board trim. I cut it into eleven inch pieces with a miter saw and then attached each piece to a top bar with brad nails. This should give the bees a very nice peak surface to build comb on.

This project was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. Somewhere down the line I stopped keeping track of every penny I spent on this project, but all the materials cost less than $100. In light of that, I feel like I accomplished my goal of building a top bar hive in the cheap. Now I have some left over materials that will make the next one even cheaper.

Looking forward to putting this hive to work next spring! Thanks for following.

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