This page is an extension of a really useful page put together by Julie D of Happy Hour at the Top Bar Hive this is really good blog about top bar hive keeping and she provides lots of comparison with conventional beekeeping. This page is a list of links to top bar hive plans:
The brilliance of her blog is evidenced by her linking to my hive building guide…. wise girl… wise girl. I wanted to further expand her comparison looking at comb sizes for each but messed up when trying to add it as a comment to her blog.
measurements here are in inches, comb surface area given in inches squared.
* assumed based on content in Happy Hour at the Top Bar Hive. If any has the correct dimension let me know.
The comb surface area is useful for comparison with regard to how many bars you need. The comb surface area is more important for brood number than hive volume. This shows that a british standard national has a smaller comb surface area than a Chandler hive. So in a national brood containing 9 frames (10 space with a dummy) we have the equivalent of an 8 bar Chandler hive. So if you think you have less brood in a top bar hive think again.
It is said in hot climates the top bar should be longer to provide better comb attachment. But really this is function of bar length and surface area as the deeper the comb, the heavier it is. So in the table above the hive with the lowest area:topbar ratio “should” perform best in hotter climates, in this case Les Crowder’s. Those with higher values should perform better in colder climates because the heat retention should be better, in this case Chandler, Organic bees’ and Mangum’s.