The Arizona Model

The Arizona Model

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The Arizona model’s roof is white.
The white roof helps to reflect heat away in very hot climates where the bees must work hard to cool the hive.

(This Deluxe Arizona kit ships to Canada for $205, but the website can't do International Shipping. 
Send an email to and we'll put your order together via PayPal invoice.  It's Easy!)
The Gold Star Top Bar hive:
It's easy to assemble, it's easy to manage, it's just easy!

The Deluxe Hive kit comes in two models. 
There's the New England, with its black roof for colder climates and the Arizona, with a white roof, for where it's warmer.

The Gold Star Hive kit's body, roof, and legs are all made of pine.  
Pine is such a good, clean, benign wood - and completely practical for beehives.  We don't use any plywood, chipboard, or fiberboard - which are all laminated products - in the construction of a Gold Star Top Bar Hive kit.  Why, you ask?  Wouldn't it be cheaper?  Well - it might be cheaper if one looks only at dollars.   But most conventional plywood, OSB and MDF are bonded, i.e., laminated, with formaldehyde adhesives that off-gas this formaldehyde into the environment around them. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. Long term inhalation of the vapors can cause fatigue, respiratory illness, and allergic skin reactions. 

We don't want your bees living in that.  (Really, we don't want you or your family living in that either!)

The top bars are made of poplar. 
   It's easier with poplar, and more cost-effective, to get the cleaner grade of wood that is required for the one-piece, beveled point design of our top bar.  Its one piece construction requires the use of a specialized piece of high-speed equipment that doesn't take well to knotty, bumpy stock.  And besides - have you looked closely at poplar?  It's really quite attractive - it comes in colors from white to green to purple!

Why all this emphasis on the "one-piece, beveled point top bar"?   Well...  there are lots of ways to make a top bar.  You could use a flat bar with a guide attached to the bottom of it with a brad nailer.  You could use plain flat bottom bars, or flat bars with grooves that have had beeswax poured in them, or flat bars with grooves with popsicle sticks inserted in them, or flat bars with grooves with strips of foundation inserted in them, or flat bars with triangles glued or screwed to the bottoms - even pieces of yarn dipped in beeswax and stuck to the bottom of the bar!    These are all relatively easy to make at home, but they don't always do a very good job as a "comb guide", which is the most important thing about the top bar when you're asking your bees to make all their own natural beeswax in a top bar hive.

So we set out to make the most effective top bar that we could.  As a kit manufacturer, we wanted it to be affordable, sure - but it also had to really *work*.  And it had to be clean and green, just like the rest of the kit.  We didn't want anything that was screwed or glued, since those sometimes come apart, and we had our doubts about the various glues available;  we didn't want to use starter strips of foundation, since really, we think it's all about the wax, so foundation is the first thing we want to get away from due to the contamination problem; and we wanted it to be the best comb guide around.

That's why we went with the "one-piece, beveled point top bar" that you see in a Gold Star Top Bar Hive kit.  It's clean, it's green, and it *WORKS*.  It's the best little top bar in bee-dom, you might say...

The roof comes to you already painted.
   The roof of your Deluxe kit is already painted - either white if you have an Arizona, or black if you have a New Englander - when you receive it.  But we don't use just any old paint - because, well - typical exterior latex paint, just like plywood and its cohorts, contains formaldehyde!  Which off-gasses into the air around it - for up to six years!

We paint the roof of your Deluxe hive kit with a planet-friendly, non-toxic, zero-VOC paint.  It's made by Mythic Paint Company.  They have a whole palette of beautiful colors, and if you can't find it locally - they will ship it to you!  We really appreciate Mythic, even though they probably didn't really start out to make paint for beehives!

You can learn more about their very clean, safe products by clicking here to visit their website.

Why don't you paint the body of the hive?
   For protection from the elements, we don't think it's all that crucial.  Lots of people do paint the body of their hive - some people turn them into art!  But with the roof painted, we think the rest of the box is fairly well protected from the elements due to its design, and besides - pine weathers to a lovely silver color.

What about the legs?  Don't they suffer from moisture damage?
   The legs of a Gold Star hive are indeed affected by moisture.  But it takes a very long time!  Here in Maine we have hives that have been in the field since 2008 - and back then we were using the "skinny leg" design that you see in some of the photographs - and they're still standing just fine! 
(And here's a funny old Yankee tip that's always made us smile:  If the bottoms of the legs are damaged by moisture - remember, the legs are removable!  So one could always remove them, shorten them slightly, and reinstall them!)

Do the Deluxe Hive kits all come with the observation window?  Yes, they do, the shuttered observation window is "standard equipment"!

What is the observation window made out of?  Glass.  Yep, real glass.  Real, non-toxic, plain old melted sand - glass.  We looked at plexiglas, since putting a piece of glass into the hands of a shipping company sounded like a risky business - but guess what?  Plexiglas is a petroleum product.  Not clear whether it also off-gasses, but in the end we chose against it.   So we use glass, we pack it carefully - and shippers very rarely break one for us.  And if by chance yours arrives broken - we'll take care of replacing that whole piece of the kit, it's called the "hive back" - immediately!  (But please note - any damage must be reported within 7 days of receipt of product - open it immediately and LOOK at the window!)

What holds the observation window in place?    Oooh, good question.  It's an adhesive caulk made by a company called Safecoat.  And again, it's non-toxic, and has no formaldehyde or other nasty stuff to off-gas into your bee's home.  Here's the link to their website - with lots of good information on it.

Other questions?  Write to us and ask 'em!