Starting A Bar Hive: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ashley Beckman

Something is special about beekeeping that I just can’t get enough of. The buzz of activity, the scent of honey, and the one-of-a-kind sensation you experience when taking care of your bees are all part of beekeeping! A top-bar hive is an excellent way for new beekeepers to start their experience with beekeeping.

Someone who, over the years, has managed and constructed numerous hives (all with varying levels of success), I’m here to guide how to start a top-bar hive. From selecting the right location to harvesting your first batch of honey, these 10 simple steps will help ensure your new beehive begins on the right foot! As my mentor always said, “a successful honeybee colony begins with careful planning,” so let’s get underway!

Gather The Necessary Supplies

Once all of these are gathered (and maybe a bottle of champagne for later), it’s time for step two – finding a place to live in your new home.

Preparing the Hive Site

Consider that your little vibes may be blown away if there’s too much wind or sunlight! Once you’ve decided this is the spot, ensure there’s enough room around it so that when honey harvesting begins later, everyone has plenty of space to work without problems.

Assembling the Hive

With this section, you need to be patient and focused, but trust me… it’s worth it! Take each piece out one at a time and put it together according to the instructions provided – use nails or screws depending on the frame material when you buy it. Before moving on to the next part until complete, make sure everything has an excellent tight fit!

Making Sure Everything is Secure

A smart man once said that “measure twice and cut once, “…so take his advice seriously during this part since accuracy is critical here! Know what you’re getting into and how you’ll make a decent impression. Ensure all the pieces are properly secured and aligned before moving on to the next step.

Key Takeaways:

  • Assemble necessary items: wooden foundation boards, frames, tools, protection gear, and food
  •  Find a suitable living spot with enough room around it
  •  Put together hive components following instructions
  •  Measure twice and cut once for accuracy

Assemble The Bottom Board

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that assembling a bee tent requires patience and attention to detail. Taking your time now will help ensure a successful beekeeping experience.

Preparing the Bottom Board

The bottom board is the foundation of your bee tent, so it’s essential to make sure it’s put together correctly and securely. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies and materials before beginning assembly. You should use wood glue and screws (depending on what material you used) to assemble each piece from the bottom board > side wall > top cover. Don’t forget to include features like an entrance reducer or ventilation holes too!

Installing the Side Walls

Once you have assembled the bottom board, it’s time to install the side walls. Ensure all measurements are correct before beginning assembly, as this will save you time and frustration later on. Use wood glue and screws (depending on your material) to assemble each piece from the bottom board > side wall > top cover. Don’t forget to include features like an entrance reducer or ventilation holes too!

Attaching the Top Cover

The final step in assembling your bee tent is attaching the top cover. Again, ensure all measurements are correct before beginning assembly so that everything fits together properly. Use wood glue and screws (depending on your material) to attach each piece from the bottom board > side wall > top cover. Don’t forget to include features like an entrance reducer or ventilation holes too!

Key Takeaways:

  • Assemble the bottom board securely
  •  Prepare pieces correctly
  •  Use wood glue and screws to assemble
  •  Include entrance reducer & ventilation holes
  •  Take time to ensure accuracy

Build The Hive Bodies

Before building a beehive, it is essential to choose the right design for your needs. Many different types of hives are available on the market, each with unique features and benefits. Consider the size and shape of the hive, the type of bees you plan to keep, and the climate in your area before making a decision.

Once you have chosen a design, you will need to gather the necessary materials and tools, such as wood, nails, screws, and a hammer. You will also need to construct the hive, which may involve cutting, drilling, and sanding the wood. Finally, you will need to paint or seal the hive to protect it from the elements.

Choosing a Design

Once you’ve chosen a beehive design, it’s time to start building the hive bodies. Building your own bar beehives can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for those who don’t know what they’re doing. I remember feeling totally discombobulated when I started! Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources to build your own bar hives from scratch.

Building the Hive Bodies

There are detailed instructions on how to build the walls, frames, and roofs of the various sizes and models of bar hives. There are also plans with step-by-step illustrations for beginners! If you find this all too complex or don’t want to build a bee enclosure yourself, plenty of specialist companies offer pre-made bee hives. These kits provide everything you need in the package, so all you have to do is assemble them according to instructions which usually consists simply of screwing everything together!

Ensuring Quality

Whether you build your bodies from wood or plastic, make sure they are strong enough and designed correctly before proceeding with any other step in building your top 10 best honeybee hives. My mentor always told me that a good foundation is essential for successful beekeeping!

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a bar hive design
  •  Build hive bodies from wood/plastic
  •  Pre-made bee hives are available
  •  Ensure a strong, properly designed foundation

Add Frames And Foundation To Hive Bodies

Now that you have the basics down let’s move on to the next step: adding the foundation. Foundation is a thin sheet of waxed plastic or beeswax that provides the base for comb building. It helps guide the bees in creating a uniform, hexagonal pattern for their honeycomb. To install the foundation:

  1. Begin by inserting it into each frame from the top and pressing it down into place.
  2. Check that it is securely attached and not loose or warped.
  3. If needed, use nails or staples to fasten it in place. Once all 8 frames have been fitted with foundation, your hive body is ready for installation!

Installing Your Hive Body

Installing your hive body is a relatively straightforward process that requires just a few simple steps. Begin by setting up your hive stand and leveling it off so that your hive will be stable when placed on top of it. Next, place the bottom board onto the stand and add any extra insulation or ventilation materials. Now carefully lift your assembled hive body onto the bottom board and secure it with nails or screws if necessary. Finally, add additional components, such as an entrance reducer or inner cover, before closing your hive!

Adding Bees to Your Hive

Once you have successfully installed your hive body and its components, it’s time to add some bees! This can be done in two ways: purchasing a package of bees from a local beekeeper or capturing a swarm from an existing colony. If you purchase a package of bees, read up on how to properly introduce them into their new home before getting started. If you opt for capturing a swarm instead, take all necessary safety precautions beforehand and enlist help from an experienced beekeeper. Either way, once your bees are safely inside their new home, they’re ready to start building comb and producing honey!

Key Takeaways:

  • Attach end bars to the top bar
  •  Insert waxed foundation between bars
  •  Secure with nails/staples
  •  Repeat for 8 frames or more
  •  Take your time and practice

Add An Inner Cover And Telescoping Outer Cover

The best way to protect a beehive from the elements is by installing an inner cover and a telescoping outer cover. The inner cover helps provide ventilation for the hive, enabling it to breathe in cold weather while also providing insulation against extreme temperatures. The telescoping outer cover protects from rain and snow. It keeps out potential predators like raccoons or skunks, making this duo a strong barrier between your hive and the outside world.

The next step in creating a great bee hive is adding the inner cover and telescoping the outer cover.

Inner Cover

It’s time for the fun part, adding your inner cover and telescoping outer cover! Creating an excellent bee hive requires that you don’t cut corners here. I never understood how critical these two were for beginners. After trying for months to understand things, I realized that having an inner cover and a telescoping outer cover is critical to keeping your bees safe from predators. As for winter, these ones help to keep the honeycomb inside dry.

Fitting the Covers

It’s rather easy to get these covers in place – simply ensure that you have the correct size for your particular hive type. Once they’re in position, secure them with screws or nails (whichever works best). They must also fit snugly together to prevent cold or hot air from entering or leaving the hive. You don’t want all your hard work to end because of inadequate media! Benjamin Franklin once said prevention is worth more than a cure. So take some extra caution by adhering to step 5 properly!

Key Takeaways:

  • Fit the inner/outer cover snugly
  •  Secure covers with screws/nails
  •  Prevent cold/hot air from entering/leaving the hive
  •  Avoid inadequate insulation

Install A Feeder For Bees If Desired

Adding a feeder to your garden is one of the easiest ways to help sustain the bee population. During periods of drought, it can be hard for bees to find nectar and pollen sources, so feeders are particularly useful during these times. The type of feeder you use should be determined by whether you want to attract wild or managed bees.

Wild bee feeders contain sugar water, while managed feeders require special food mixes containing protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Installing a feeder will benefit local bees and surrounding wildlife since more pollination will occur as a result.

Beekeeping is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that can be done at home. With the right supplies and knowledge, anyone can create a safe and healthy environment for their bees to thrive.

Setting Up the Hive

Before you can start beekeeping, you’ll need to set up your hive. This includes finding the right location, assembling the components of the hive, and installing an entrance reducer. Ensure to use protective gear when handling the hive, as bees can become agitated if they feel threatened.

Installing a Feeder

Install a feeder if you would like to receive bees! After you’ve set up everything and the bees, have begun to settle in, consider installing a feeder for them. Feeding my bees is so rewarding – it’s great to see their reactions when they find food and water from me! They also need extra nutrients as they establish their new home.

You can purchase special bee feeders online or create your own from recycled materials – either way, make sure the feeder is not too close to the beehive’s entrance, as this could encourage an invasion by other insects or predators. Small bar honey chambers are famous among people who want to create fancy hives (and don’t mind getting stung)!

Adding Pollen Traps

I highly recommend setting a pollen trap near your hive’s entrance. This will allow you to collect pollen from your own backyard! Open-minded flowers are put nearby, and watch as the bees fly away each day with a bounty. The collected pollen can then be fed back into your hive for added nutrition – talk about resourcefulness!

Making Honey

Suppose you are interested in exploring another enjoyable bee-related activity. Why not try the process of creating your own honey? All you need is a jar of water and some sugar – mix them in equal parts until they’re dissolved, and pour them into a tray inside your beehive. Then just chill as the busy little guys do what they do best: pollinate! After two weeks (or more), you’ll have the sweet nectar we all know and love!

Key Takeaways:

  • Install feeder for bees
  •  Set up honey chambers
  •  Place pollen trap near the entrance
  •  Mix sugar and water to create honey

Introduce Your Bees To The New Home

Once you’ve acquired your bees, you want to be sure they’re comfortable in their new home and that the environment is right for them to thrive. This includes installing the hive in an ideal location, providing adequate food and water resources, and monitoring temperature patterns inside the hive. In addition to administering proper introductions to your bees, you will ensure your colony’s stellar health and output.

Before we introduce the bees to their new home, let’s take a closer look at the top 10 bar hive and the steps involved in building one.

Step 1: Assemble Components

Start by assembling all components, including frames, foundation sheets, bars, and more. Ensure that every piece is attached correctly and that there aren’t any holes between them later.

Step 2: Provide Food

Providing your colony with food will help them adapt properly when introduced into their new environment, especially in early spring, when few flowering plants are found outside because winter has ended merely (and even earlier), making seasonal atmospheric changes. If weather conditions in the environment between hot and cold days when they change throughout season periods are determined to be a few weeks before needing to refuel again.

Step 3: Inspect for Disease

The disease spreads easily among hives, so be careful to check for signs of infection—the symptoms include white instead of yellow comb and goose-like stench from the inner parts where most activity occurs. When anything seems suspicious, contact the local veterinarian immediately to advise of what course of action is necessary to contain the disease until it is successfully treated again sometime quicker rather than later possible!

Step 4: Place Frames & Sheets

The sheets, when used correctly with the waxed side down, also give structure to bee frames in the bee box when placed over the edges of frame tops and bottoms, as well as filling holes left behind during assembly, making sure that there is no space between them instead otherwise moisture will enter into wood parts eventually causing rot if unchecked regularly!

Step 5: Introduce Queen & Workers

Open the queen + worker end of the package and place them near the center frame so they can fly inside their freshly built nest! Once they’ve explored a bit, close the lid tightly and secure the point so no would-be intruders can break in, thanks to the additional protection already installed before this step.

Key Takeaways:

  • Assemble hive components, including frames, foundation sheets, bars, and more.
  •  Ensure no space between pieces to prevent moisture from entering.
  •  Provide food to the colony to help adapt to a new environment.
  •  Inspect the hive regularly for signs of infection: white comb, goose stench.
  •  Contact the vet immediately if suspicious symptoms are found.
  •  Place queen + worker near the center frame and close the lid securely.

Check For Leaks And Securely Close The Hive Entrance

The beekeeper must also periodically examine the hive entrance and ensure it’s securely closed. This can be done by checking for cracks or openings around the bee colony entrance, which could allow pests or other animals to enter.

The beekeeper should also check for leaks around the hive entrance since they may cause issues with maintaining temperature and humidity levels inside the hive.

Additionally, closing off open entrances during winter helps deter cold air from entering and harming the bees’ cluster of honeycombs. Lastly, caging all gaps in the vessel’s exterior protects against rodents and other species wishing to access honey inside.

The bee bar is a great way to create an inviting and secure home for your bees. With the right components, you can ensure that your hive will be safe from pests and predators while also looking beautiful in its environment.

Free Drinks

The secretary has asked her assistant to bring the free drinks from the bar and distribute them to the guests.

Inspecting for Leaks

Once you’ve assembled your hive with all 10 components properly, it’s time to inspect for possible leaks! Before closing the hive’s entrance, use a fan to blow warm air inside and around the frames. This will help reveal any drafts or gaps that could allow pesky intruders into your bee home.

Securing the Entrance

When you’ve identified the drafts, it’s time to close the hive’s entrance securely so no unwanted guests can enter. I recommend using a metal gate or guard at the front of your hive. There are also certain guards on the market designed specifically for bar hives that will provide you with a higher level of defense against pests and predators attempting to gain entry into your wondrous new home.

Aesthetics Matter

Don’t forget the aesthetics! A good-looking barber shop entrance can enhance your entire honeybee setup and make those lovely local bees feel right at home when they come in! When choosing an attractive entrance for your beehive, you should take some time to decide whether the gate or guard would look best in their environment and yours – after all, what good is a great-looking bar hive if its entrance isn’t as inviting?

Key Takeaways:

  • Secretary orders drinks from the bar
  •  Inspect the hive for leaks
  •  Secure entrance with a guard
  •  Enhance the aesthetics of the entrance
  •  Create inviting space

Monitor Bee Activity Regularly

Monitoring bee activity is a key factor in the health and survival of beehives. Regularly watching bees can help you quickly identify potential issues, such as diseases or pests, that could be threatening their population.

Observing the hive interior and exterior for signs of stress or poor health can also render valuable information about better care for your group. Additionally, tracking brood patterns over time provides insights into how healthy your colony is and what needs attention.

Introducing beekeeping can be a daunting task, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience. To ensure that your top bar hive is thriving, it is essential to monitor bee activity regularly.

Monitoring Bee Activity

When starting a top ten bar hive, one of the most important steps is to monitor bee activity regularly. This step shouldn’t be overlooked if you want your bee colony to grow and produce delicious honey! When I began my own hives, tracking bee activity was one of my most challenging parts, and I did not know what to look for as someone who had never done anything like this before!

With some research and practice, I quickly learned that certain indicators show healthy bee activity. It’s important to remain vigilant about the visitors who visit your colony throughout the day and don’t depart late in the evening. It’s also a good indication that proper food is nearby if they’re returning with pollen, but it doesn’t quite have the same ring.

Signs of Healthy Bee Activity

If you notice any changes in behavior or lack thereof, do not hesitate to contact an experienced beekeeper, they can help you with advice on how to best maintain your hive health. It’s also worth taking note of any pests or diseases that might affect your bees, such as mites or fungal infections – these can be devastating if left unchecked, so you must remain alert! A dead bee near the entrance of your hive could be a sign that something isn’t quite right inside its walls.

Potential Pests and Diseases

Finally, don’t forget that it’s also key to notice your hive’s population growing, even if this occurs during a natural seasonal variability! A thriving colony has many eyes – every individual plays a vital role in its success, says local beekeeper irene Smithson!”

Key Takeaways:

  • Monitor bee activity regularly
  •  Remain vigilant on visitors
  •  Check for pests/diseases
  •  Notice population growth/variability
  •  Contact experienced beekeeper

Harvest Honey As Needed

For beekeepers, harvesting honey from a beehive is an important task. The honey may be harvested as often as desired, depending on the preference of the beekeeper and the amount of stored honey in the colony. Before extracting any honey, beekeepers must first check to ensure enough bees are left in the colony to sustain it before taking out any resources. It is also essential to use correct harvesting techniques so that all frames are not emptied at once and leave nothing for other seasons.

Before beginning the honey harvesting process, ensuring that your bees have enough resources to last through the winter is important. It’s best to wait until summer, so your hive has plenty of time to accumulate and store a large stock of nectar.

Preparing for Harvesting

When harvesting honey, ensure you are well-prepared and take all necessary precautions. If you are allergic to bee stings, be extra cautious and bring an epinephrine pen with you, just in case. Additionally, decide what method you will use for extracting the honey from the frames – electric hot knife, manual scrap, or slice wax layers by hand – whatever works best for you. You may also choose between small manual extractors and large mechanical ones depending on your available time and how many frames need to be processed at once.

Harvesting the Honey

Once you have prepared for harvesting, it is time to remove the covering of wax cells full of golden liquid goodness! Make sure not to take too much honey from each frame, as this leaves space for more nectar collection later; plus, it’s better for your bees’ health! Enjoy every drop!

Storing Your Harvested Honey

After harvesting your honey, it is essential to store it properly to maintain its quality and flavor. Store jars of honey in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. If possible, keep them in airtight containers or jars with tight lids to prevent contamination from dust or other particles.

Key Takeaways:

  • Harvest honey with caution
  •  Wait until summer for a plentiful harvest
  •  Use an electric hot knife/hand scraping
  •  Manual extractors preferable
  •  Don’t take too much from each frame


After reading this step-by-step guide, you now have the knowledge and tools to build a top 10 bar hive. To create your own beehive, you have learned all the steps to decide on your materials and attach the frames.

As you start your beekeeping adventures, you’ll be confident in these sturdy and dependable bar hives. With good care and observation, you’ll be able to enjoy many honey harvests from your homemade hive. Go and be happy, beekeepers! 

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