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 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.
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.
All Gold Star Deluxe top bar hives include an observation window made of GLASS... Not plexiglass, and not plastic. The windows are held in place with a terrifically strong adhesive caulk - which seals tightly, and is also non-toxic.
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 materials - the wood, the glass, the paint, and the caulk must be purchased, cut, worked and then assembled. The kit contains the plans AND the required 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 - plans only, nothing else - available as well. They are sent to you via email, as a .pdf file.
The top bar is the most important piece of any top bar hive. We make the Gold Star top 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 beveled point; which extends the entire length of the bar. This point functions as a comb guide - encouraging the bees 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. This long, pointed guide has repeatedly proven to be far more effective than any other comb guide we've been able to find - it really works 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 - the 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