Free diagram and plans for a top bar hive

3 May
Updated: Oct 2012

Looking to build your own top bar hive?

If you’re a new beek, consider reviewing this pragmatic comparison of TBH vs. Langstroth hives. And if you’re ready to build, here are some designs:

Standardized Top Bar Hive (TBH):

Standard Top Bar Hive design

The standardized Top Bar Hive design by TJ Carr

I recommend using a standardized TBH design for innumerable reasons, including the ability to share resources between your hives and with others in your community. Here are my favorite plans by longtime Albuquerque beekeeper and retired engineer, TJ Carr, and John Bradford.

Other TBH Plans:

Or, do you prefer to buy one?


7 Responses to “Free diagram and plans for a top bar hive”

  1. Gary August 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Wonderful blog , gerat pics. I had to comr and see why my site was getting pounded from here glad I did. I also see many of the guys from Biobees have already been here. Keep up the great work and come visit us at the Biobee forum!

  2. Abe April 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Here’s a similar design made from a barrel. I imagine it could be built for $10:

  3. bee worker April 18, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    do you have a copy of the tbh plan from Hirschbach Apiary? it looks like the site is gone

  4. J. June 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    The TJ Carr TBH plans are exactly what I’ve been looking for! There was obviously a lot of thought and detail put into the idea and execution of these plans. The accompanying narrative also provides helpful tips and useful information, but does not have specific instructions on the milling, assembly, or materials list needed in order to bring these amazing plans to fruition. Is there anything like that available for these specific plans, or did your carpenter just reverse engineer the materials/assembly based upon the provided plan?

  5. Chris August 6, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I’d recommend that people also consider Les Crowder’s design when looking to build top bar hives. Les is a former New Mexico Honeybee Inspector and former president of the New Mexico Beekeeper’s Association. He is also co-author of “Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health”, which is an excellent book.

    I attended a workshop of his recently, and he stated that he builds his hives for about $10, using mostly reclaimed materials.

    You can request a PDF of his hive plans here –


  1. Top bar hive vs. Langstroth (I’ve tried both and here’s my verdict) « mistress beek - September 19, 2010

    […] Several options for TBH plans […]

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