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Entrance tube modification (Bee chimney)


I’d like direct the bees into a vertical tube after they leave the hive so that they begin their flight about a meter above the heads of people. I’ve seen observation hives that have tubes to the outside, but these are usually horizontal. Can bees navigate a vertical tube? Also, how easy would it be to adapt a tube to the flow hive?


The easier solution might be to put a fence or tall shrub etc several feet in front of the hive entrance. They will fly up an over it and be well above head level before they meet the public.


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The location is not really conducive to a fence, and I’d like for the public to see the hive and be able to look in the windows.


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The possible complications I could see with your proposed plan are:

  1. You could restrict traffic during a heavy flow/pollen season because they would have to travel so far down a narrow entrance/exit. The bees may find that this is not conducive to a healthy hive and abscond.

  2. Bees utilize the entrance as a primary way to regulate the temperature of the hive. You would likely have to work in another way to ventilate the hive given the distance that they would have to travel and push air down that long entrance tube. With most observation hives they are indoors and the tubes are still relatively short. The few I have seen and most pictures I have seen they are usually 1-1.5’ long tops.


Thanks for your feedback. The tube I’ve seen for an observation hive was 1.5 meters long, and the bees seemed to navigate it pretty easily. For temperature regulation, I could put some mesh/holes along the tube to allow for ventilation. I could also use a few tubes (or a large diameter tube) to allow for easier passage.


I could make a little roof for the tube, or bend it at the end. Ya, the windows will be closed most of the time, but you can open the little wooden window.


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Not to say that it can’t work. I just think it will present unique problems that will take trial and error to work out since this isn’t something anyone else has probably done before.

Another option to consider might be to have a barrier to discourage people from coming around the front of the hive where they will be more likely to be stung. Or even just design your hive around an actual observation hive where the entrance and exit will be well away from where people will be standing and observing the hive, but still in a more traditional configuration.


I’m sure the bees would navigate a vertical tube so that the bees would begin their flight 1 meter above your head. You have to think about how easy it would be for the bees to keep the hive clean. They have to get rid of dead bees as well as the possibility of chalk brood mummies. I have bees on a stand 3 besser blocks high. We walk past their flight path all the time, with almost no worries. You could position your hive so that the entrance faces away from walking traffic. Another thing to remember is that bees are attracted to lights at night, you need to also consider that when positioning the hive.


Ah, I can’t imagine dragging a dead bee up a vertical tunnel is easy. Thanks for your feedback. It’s really valuable to me.


Hi William, your most welcome, thank YOU!!! & good luck.


Were these tubes on hives that were actually inside, since they were observation hives? Those bees would not have to deal with big temperature fluctuation the way and outdoor hive would.

Our hives just sit out in the yard and really, it’s not that big a deal, unless you are thinking about using a property line and worry that with no obstacle it might cause an issue with the neighbours.

The bees pretty much don’t notice us unless we REALLY mess with them. You might be trying to solve a problem you don’t actually have. Maybe install your hive and see how it goes? You can always reconsider and shift things around later if it doesn’t work out in the first location.


if you have a screened bottom board and keep it open then the ventilation would be the same no matter if the entrance is a tube or just a regular opening…i dont see an issue with this at all


The issue would be when it’s hot. The girls wouldn’t be able to cool down the hive.


I can’t see any problem if a screened bottom board was used. Anything’s possible, you could make a screened chimney.