Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Crafting a Top Bar Observation Hive

I stayed up until midnight a couple of nights ago crafting a Top Bar Observation hive. Tricky, because there are 2 types of top bar hives here in NM and I wanted the hive to have the ability to fit a single Les Crowder style top bar or a TJ Carr style top bar. The width of the bars are similar, but the length varies by 1/2". Also, TJ hive's beeswax comb hangs 2 inches lower than Les's so I made the hive deeper than necessary.

The hive worked perfectly for the Heritage Farm Festival at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens. There is no easier way to draw a crowd and start answering questions about bees without something for people to see, smell and hear. 

Some techniques I decided to implement were: 

1. Using plexiglass instead of glass. Anything made out of glass that goes out into the field with me gets shattered almost instantly. 

2. Use lots of air holes to prevent the glass from steaming up with with the moisture and heat produced by a gaggle of bees. 

3. Make a demonstration hive that holds a single frame. The longest I tend to keep bees in the hive is a day and keeping the hive to a frame cuts down on the weight for transporting. Good thing because I had to haul this hive at least an 1/8 of a mile to my stand at the Botanical Gardens. 

4. Reminder- it's only a prototype. You can't create perfection the first time! Every thing crafted needs to be lived with. 


  1. What a great idea! I don't think I have ever seen one for a top bar hive before. This would be a great post to share with my readers on my beekeeping blog hop. Check it out!

  2. That is a great looking observation hive! Very cool.