You should always be careful what you ask for because you just may get it! Well, that is what has happened to me over this past week. My wonderful parents came to Texas for a visit and with them came this most amazing bee hive! They built it themselves and did an amazing job. I'm so blessed to be the proud owner of a Kenya Top Bar Hive
I had planned to build one of these myself very soon, so I can't tell you what a welcome surprise this was. My Dad suggests that I cover the lid with either copper or flashing to waterproof it. I also am planning on adding legs to the bottom, similar to sawhorse legs.
A feature I hadn't thought of in the planning of this hive is the shape of the top bars where bees attach their combs. Many of the top bar hives have a single strip down the middle of the bar that causes the bees to work with the 90 degree angle, filling it in as it builds the comb downward. The triangle shape of this one allows the bee to go along a more natural line.
Another feature is that it has a top entrance. The purpose of that is to let moisture out and it cuts down on condensation. In the winter, evidently this can be a problem. I also have my own thoughts about our conditions in Texas dealing with heat and fire ants. The top entrance just seems to make better sense.
This particular hive is 48" long. With several trials of hives both shorter and longer, this seems to be the most effective. Too large and it doesn't get used as well, too small and you have swarming issues from overcrowding.
Now I can confidently place my order for bees in January. I just need to add a bit of equipment that includes a hat/veil, hive tool, smoker and gloves. I'm really looking forward to my bee adventures in the spring!