I was invited along to see a friends top bar hive today. It was fascinating. Its the method of bee keeping favoured by 'natural' beekeepers as it allows bees to follow more natural behaviour and is less invasive. You don't give the bees foundation wax like our national hive, they build their own below the top bars meaning you can produce cut comb but as they are using more energy to make it the honey yields tend to be smaller. You don't need as much equipment so its a lower cost option for the hobby bee keeper.
It's possible to have two colonies in the same hive with the use of moveable panels separating the two. Most also have viewing panels making a visual check possible so a physical one can be avoided. Good for children too.
You can see above the top bars themselves and the happy bees below.
The beekeeper Candy was filling up the syrup to keep the bees going as they are still flying in this unseasonal heat. The white blocks are polystyrene that allow the bees to land so they don't drown.
I've been invited back in the spring to view the hive in full swing as they build up for the summer. Thanks Candy and Ian.