It seems strange: one the one hand, beekeepers are an incredibly resourceful bunch. No two beeks will solve a problem in the same way, the re-invent things as needed.
But, if you start messing with equipment and changing the way you hive your bees, then you risk being viewed as a heretic.
Kenyan top-bar hives more or less approximate a hollow log to the bees. There are no boxes to stack on top. There are no frames loaded with pre-made foundation to dictate cell size to the bees. the top of the hive cavity is covered with wooden bars that the bees attach their combs to. Their just as simple, and in some cases easier, to remove as Langstroth frames. You just have to be a bit more careful with them when you do. The bees are able to build the cells in the comb to whatever size they desire.
You’ve certainly seen beekeepers on television and in pictures with smokers? They puff smoke into the hives to calm the bees so they can do their work. We don’t own them. The truth is that you don’t need them. A simple spritz of water from a spray bottle does the trick.
The reality is that pumping smoke into the hive doesn’t “calm” the bees. It distracts them from the beekeeper’s intrusion by making them think that the hive is in danger of being burned up. They scurry down into the hive and start gorging themselves on stored honey in preparation for a mass evacuation. A simple 10-minute inspection of a hive, if accompanied by smoke, can take a couple of hours for the bees to recover. After they realize that the danger is past, they have to put the honey back into the storage cells. They have to make new wax to seal it in again. The water just makes them think it’s raining. Rain means that it’s time to go back inside and leave the beekeepers alone. It also means very little disruption to the life of the hive.