was established in the spring of 2005. We initiated a global paradigm shift in beekeeping practices, that centered on healthy bee centric management practices which has helped pioneer a future for chemical free beekeeping. is committed to sharing knowledge and top bar hive technologies that encourage and enable backyard beekeepers to be successful and completely chemical free.

In 2005 we were the first company to offer backyard hobby beekeepers online resources; training DVD's, and information about getting started in a lifetime of top bar beekeeping. We realized the need early on and became the very first organization to make available fully assembled top bar hives on the internet.

Backyard hive also founded the Bee Guardian Network, an organized army of TBH beekeepers and swarm retrievers, that is as well organized as any beehive. The Bee Guardian project created a way for concerned Bee Guardians to unite and confront harmful pesticide practices and policies.


Corwin Bell Founder of BackYardHive
Founder Corwin Bell was founded by long time treatment-free Bee Guardian Corwin Bell. In 1995 Bell started keeping bees due to a long time fascination with this delicate pollinator. From the beginning Corwin always built his own hives. Early on, before beekeepers recognized the massive value of survivor behaviors preserved in the genetics of wild swarms, Bell made it his mission to field every call and save as many wild swarms as he could. He began getting an ever increasing number of phone calls alerting him of swarms that needed to be captured and given a good home. With each swarm Bell would take the opportunity to build and test different hive designs, idea's and features.

The hives offered today on are an accumulation of many years of trial and error which include many successes and many happy colonies of bees! Our top bar hives represent Corwin's years of refinement to every detail about the hive.


Many of the common features that are now incorporated in most other top bar hive designs available on the internet Corwin has innovated. Some of the design highlights that Corwin invented for top bar hives are the viewing window, the one piece triangle top bars, and access spacers.

triangle top bars
One piece, triangle wedge shaped top bars

Looking through window of beehive
Viewing Window

Spacers for a Top Bar Hive used in the Honeycomb area
Access Spacers

Corwin invented the Golden Mean ratio hive, which is our best seller. We have made our hive designs “open source” globally, meaning that anyone can make our top bar hives and sell them without paying royalties or avoiding patents. This has enabled thousands of hive to be built around the globe and has helped to establish healthy bee habitats around the world. We have always maintained that the bees come first.

BackYard Hive Golden Mean Ratio Proportion Top Bar HiveTop Bar Hive Golden Mean Proportion
Golden Mean ratio top bar hive

Corwin has also invented many innovative, specialized hive tools and gear suited for top bar beekeepers.

Top bar hive tool
The Original Top Bar Hive Tool
angled top bar hive tool
The 90 Degree Tool for clearing bottom attachments

Bee herding tool Top Bar hive
Herding Tool for herding bees off the comb instead of using a brush, which agitates the bees.

top bar hive insulation panels
Insulation Panels for the Top Bar Hive

Corwin is a computer animator/filmmaker by trade, he is a keen observer of honeybee behavior yet has remained refreshingly naive in terms of what the “experts” “know” about honeybee behavior. His perspective offers a wealth of understanding, a view from a wildly different angle than is the norm. Corwin knowledge and observations of well adapted colonies and honeybee behavior informs his workshops and talks, making them extremely informative and truly inspiring.

Karen Sadenwater BackYardHive Manager

Co-founder Karen Sadenwater
Karen co-founded with Corwin in 2005 after she caught her first bee swarm and was hooked on bees. She talked to a local woodworker asking to have a hive built overnight for her newly caught swarm. With much discussion between the woodworker and Corwin about hive size and details the first 'BackYardHive' was born. Soon after Corwin and Karen created a website with backyard beekeeping information, a training DVD and fully assembled hives.

Karen has worked with the bees under the guidance of Corwin for
the past 10 years.  Karen brings a sense of calm and respect when working with the honeybees.  She co-teaches the classes with Corwin and is especially skilled with getting beginners started in their new journey of bee guardianship.

In addition to top bar hives and beekeeping supplies, we also provide a number of services to our community, including: swarm removal, classes, public speaking and education, and one-on-one training. If you are interested in any of our services, please use the contact us link on this page.