My first attempt at top bar beekeeping got me lots of comments and heat from a particular group of British beekeepers, so please take this with a grain of salt – I am not an expert in top bar hives, but I do think they have some strengths that make them a good choice for preppers.
This is how I went about transitioning Top Bar to Langstroth Bee Hive – I am not saying this is how YOU should do it, but it did work well for me.
So long story short, I treated my top bars like traditional frame hives and left a gap between frames. Also, the bees made a mess of the hive and glued the bars to the lid. Since my design dis not allow for an easy fix I decided to transition them to a traditional hive.
Luckily I was smart enough so that my top bar hive frames were the same length as my langstroth frames. This meant I could simply lift them out and place them in a box. I could then place other boxes of drawn comb above them so that the bees could easily begin the transition to their new home.
This all happened last year. So I can tell you that the bees did survive the winter, and came out one of my strongest hives.
I have been doing more research, and I will be doing more top bar hives as they are simpler, cheaper, and provide more wax than commercial hives. All of which is useful to preppers.
My dimensions on this hive are off – it does not have proper bee space and my bars are incorrect also. But since TBH hives were designed to work in the third world, and this one does have bees and honey in it. It works. Granted, it could work much better if I was smarter with bees. But it does work.