Apr 14, 2012

Kenyan Top Bar Hive Construction (Picture Heavy)

Just another couple days until my bees arrive - April 17th. I've spent the past couple weeks building my hive here and there, but with only a couple days to go, it needed to be finished.
This is just a rundown of how I constructed my Kenyan Top Bar Hive (ktbh).
I followed the ktbh plans from biobees.com and watched Dave's Bees YouTube videos for tips.

Now onto the construction: 

Top bar guide - 
I found the perfect molding at Lowe's for the top bar guides. I cut these a foot long. 

For the top bars themselves, I purchased a 1 x 4 (which is really 3/4" x 3 1/2") and measured out two pieces 1 3/4" wide - which gave me a little shim piece.  

I put some glue on the molding to attach it to the top bar. It's helpful to mark out the middle of each piece of wood to realign it if too much glue is applied and it slips around. For the glue, I used Titebond II Premium Wood Glue Don't order it online or from any of those bee catalogs, it's half the price at Lowe's.

After the glue dried, I drilled the holes for the nails and hammered them in.

I made the follower boards and set up my hive body. 

Miss Eglantine inspecting my handiwork
In my excitement to get busy building... I didn't really measure out how many top bars I needed, so back to Lowe's I went.  :-)

It was dark by the time I got the legs on. They were easier than I thought they would be, just tedious. 

Just about done! I picked up some gutter mesh/netting at ReStore for the bottom of the hive, but the holes are 8 mm wide - much too big. I'll need to bring a ruler to Lowe's and really make sure about those holes. I've read on some forums that a few people have had luck with cross-stitch mesh. Therefore, I may stop in Walmart first and see if they have any of that. 

Now onto my frame and little roof. 

I cut the top of the legs so the frame could have something to rest on. I also nailed together some 1 x 3's and screwed them together for the frame.
For the roof - I cut up some 1" thick scrap wood into triangles to make the roof framing. I'm not sure how well this will hold up... at this point I was getting inpatient. I'm sure it didn't help that I really could have just laid a piece of plywood or plastic on top and been done with it, but I wanted it to be pretty.

Another day spent working into the evening hours, but the roof is finished. I even wrapped the top with some white canvas tarp to make it nice and watertight.

Now I just need to buy different mesh for the bottom, put some holes in, paint, and fill it up with some bees!! Good thing Lowe's isn't too far away from me.