A topbar hive is both ancient technology and newfangled trend. The main reason this “back to basics” hive is finding new supporters is its more natural approach to keeping bees and the novel concept of stepping back and allowing honeybees to make more of the hive decisions themselves.
A topbar hive is, in itself, “thinking outside the box” not only because of the trapezoidal shape of its honeycombs, but because its less structured, less intensive style of beekeeping deviates from standard beekeeping doctrines. The primitive nature of the hive fosters cooperation with honeybees, balancing human desires with bees’ needs, while its nonstandard, easily customizable design leaves room for innovation, especially useful in light of the modern day hardships of imported pests, plagues, pesticides, and environmental alterations.
This book describes topbar hives and their management — both the benefits and the drawbacks — in a way that’s more easily understood by those with limited hands-on experience with bees, yet also delves into some of the differences in management techniques for those with experience using standardized hives.