A backyard hive is a concept which is appealing to more and more people. The idea of watching bees fling in and out of a beehive in your garden fits very well with today’s desire to be closer to nature. Certainly if you are looking for the most natural way to keep your own bees, a top bar hive is probably the way to go. But a more conventional Langstroth hive might be better if you think you might have to move the hive for any reason. The most important thing to remember when inspecting a comb is to do it very gently and not put any strain on the comb since it is only attached by one edge instead of four. It’s just a matter of learning how to manipulate the combs.
Instead of just flipping them over as you would a Langstroth frame, you rotate it along its axis so that the face of the comb is always visible to you.
The top bar hive is gaining in popularity despite its critics. It’s unlikely to produce as much honey as a conventional hive, and it much more cumbersome to move. If you do ever have to move a Kenya top bar hive, you’ll have to be very careful indeed not to break any of the combs. As I said they’re only attached on the top instead of the four sides of a Langstroth.
If you’re intending to keep a hive or two because you’re interested in bees, you like honey and you have fruits and vegetables which need pollination, then you should consider a Kenya Back Yard Hive. If scout bees were to find a box, and summon the rest of the swarm to colonize it, the hive they built would probably be very similar to the arrangement in a Kenya Top Bar Hive. I just love to watch bees coming and going from a hive. It never ceases to amaze me how much pollen a single worker bee can carry back to her legs.