The Gold Star Top Bar hive:Gold Star Honeybees manufactures high-quality, natural top bar beehive kits. Our premiere product is
It's easy to assemble, it's easy to manage, it's just easy!
the Deluxe Top Bar Hive kit. In the Deluxe kit, every part is included, down to the glass observation window, and all the beekeeper must do is assemble the hive -- using a screwdriver, and a staple gun. All the wooden parts in the Deluxe kit are made of solid wood - no laminates are used - especially crucial in the case of the Gold Star top bar. Our Deluxe Top Bar Hive kits come in two models. There's the New Englander Model, with its black roof for colder climates and the Arizona Model, with a white roof, for where it's warmer.
Our other two top bar hive kits - the DIY#1 and the DIY#2 - allow for beekeepers who enjoy the craft of woodworking to be more involved in the process of building their bees' new home. The DIY#1 means that all of the wood, the glass, the paint, and the caulk must be purchased, cut, worked and then assembled. The kit contains only the plans and hardware.
The DIY#2 goes one step further - it provides the 30 one-piece, bevel point top bars, along with the 2 follower boards, and the 10 spacer strips in addition to the plans and hardware. The wood required to build the hive body, the roof, and the legs must be purchased by the builder as well as the glass, paint, and caulk.
We have recently made the Gold Star Top Bar Hive kit plans - just the plans - available as a .pdf file as well.
The top bar itself is the most important piece of any top bar hive. We make our bars out of one solid piece of wood in order to prevent any of the issues that we know can occur in hives with top bars that use glue, nails or screws to hold two pieces together. There is a tremendous amount of heat and humidity inside a beehive, which can cause glue to fail, and nails or screws to loosen, shift, or give way altogether. In addition, many glues are toxic, and can off-gas poisonous fumes directly into the hive cavity. We think those are poor ideas in a bee hive!
At Gold Star Honeybees our one-piece top bar has a very steep point; which extends the entire length of the bar. This point functions as a guide for the bees - encouraging them to build their beeswax honeycomb centered on the bar, thus keeping the comb straight and making it simple and easy to remove the bar from the hive for inspection purposes. It also allows for a greater surface area for the bees to attach their comb to. This long, pointed guide has proven to be far more effective than any other comb guide - it works really well.
Another important feature of the Gold Star top bar is its height. A top bar does not need to be very tall; in fact, the taller it is, the more surface area there is on the side of each bar that can crush bees when the beekeeper is inspecting. A Gold Star top bar is 3/8” tall – more than adequate for the weight it must bear, but no taller, thereby crushing fewer bees.
A one piece top bar, with a long, sharply pointed comb guide and very short sides is your best bet when it comes to getting good straight comb - a goal of every top bar beekeeper! Please don't sell yourself short by accepting a substandard top bar. The place to invest is in the bar!
COMB COLLAPSE ALERT:
People often ask us if they should "prime" the top bars by painting wax on the points. This was previously thought to be a good idea - but we recommend against it, see our blog post COMB COLLAPSE ALERT!!! for more details