There are many styles of Top-Bar Hive plans available on the web. This style of hive has advantages for the small-scale or 'backyard' beekeeper. The hive can be constructed at a minimal cost ($50.00 or less using new materials). The style allows the bees to build their own comb and does not require special frames or foundation that must be ordered from the mainland. The single-story hive style eliminates the lifting and manipulation of heavy honey-supers or bee-filled brood chambers. This style also makes the application of certain treatments (such as powdered sugar for Varroa mites) more simple and effective.
One of the best websites for Top-bar hive plans and information is www.backyardhive.com
They offer plans, instructional DVDs and even specially-milled triangular top-bars.
We are particularly excited about their Golden Mean Hive, which supports the natural "Sacred Geometry" exhibited by the bees in their ideal state. We have the blueprints for the Golden Mean TB-hive available to workshop participants. In addition we have plans and a prototype for a slightly larger and less complicated Golden Mean hive constructed by Savory Yarrow of Ocean View.
My first Top-Bar Hive, pictured above, was constructed by Harvey McDaniel of Na'alehu. He has built a variety of TB's for this project, which we are currently stocking with bees in order to determine those which most help the bees thrive.
We suggest that if you want to build your own TB-hive, first attend the workshop and take a look at the variety of styles we have experimented with so far. Some have definitely worked better than others and there are a number of considerations that we can help you with so that you can choose a style that is most suitable for your particular (pest management) situation.
We do encourage you, however, to google 'top-bar hive plans' and begin to research the variety of TB styles (and free/downloadable plans) available. Be sure to check out www.backyardhive.com while you are at it!