Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

How to stock an observation hive?


Looking for advice, I have a queenless two deep hive that I panicked and threw a frame of eggs into the same day as I ordered a queen. They started 5 queen cells (now about 5 days old, queen will be delivered in two days. I would like to use either the arriving mated queen or the queen cells to start an observation hive. The queenless hive is completely brood free except for the frame I put in from another hive. My observation hive is an 8 deep (2 wide x 4) setup that I will place in the house. Any thoughts? It is nearing fall here in NJ, not much time for buildup before winter. This is the second queen that has disappeared from this hive. (no laying workers yet) but still fairly heavily populated.


In that situation, I would put your new queen into the queenless hive, and forget about the observation hive until next year. It is much better to have one strong hive than two weak hives which may not have the stores to make it through winter.

You will need to destroy the queen cells before you put her in, and check for more after about 4 days - release the purchased queen at that point if she is not out.

All the best, and ask more if anything is not clear. :blush:


@Dawn_SD Dawn has given you good advise but she missed something here

Bees being kept inside your house, me thinks that could be grounds for divorce :grinning:


Kill the queen cells and leave the hive for a day or two. Then put your new queen in so they can release her. You need eggs into that hive ASAP so it can handle winter. Start your observation hive in spring.



thanks all, love this forum to help me think things through…ps Dawn, since you are so helpful all the time, we got our first flow harvest this year from my large hive! Woo hoo! the trick for us seemed to be replacing a flow frame with a full regular frame of last year’s honey in the box with the flow frames, bees immediately started filling the flow frames, got two runs from them with plenty of honey in the rest of the hive to leave.
and Peter48, believe it or not the flow hive was a gift from hubby…which of course has turned into 4 hive, he is fascinated too! The divorce might come from pushing him to finish the difficult to build observation hive…:grinning:


Please update your profile saying where you are from and also about the number of hives you have.
The biggest flaw with observation hives is a lack of enough ventilation. The glass will act like a heat sink and overheat the bees and the wax comb.


And the bees need to live in the dark.


I use observation hives for education purposes when we do a club roadshow. Then we put the bees back. To my mind it’s not a good place to live for a colony of bees.


In about 1968 I was in Papua New Guinea where I saw bees kept in woven bamboo baskets that were upside down and lived successfully in the shade that the bamboo provided and build there ‘hive’… Many absconded and wild bee colonies live in partial shade like onder rocky ledges and under limbs of trees.

While bees have the ability to see in total darkness as is the case in our bee keeping they certainly don’t ‘need’ to live in darkness. It is just that we provide them with a home that is dark.


Bees need to keep their brood warm and humid. I suppose if those conditions occur outside an enclosed area they are happy enough outside which is why they do set up nests in the open. Thanks for the correction :wink:


Or the set up camp in the best place available. No hollow means they have to try in the open…


I’m sure dorsata nest in the open but we don’t farm them :flushed: