Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Observation Hive Newbie!


#1

Hi folks! Having just finished Michael Bush’s “Practical Beekeeper,” which I LOVE LOVE LOVE (stayed up til midnight! Couldn’t put it down!) my fiance and I are super excited about building an observation hive. Michael makes such a strong case for how much one learns from them, and as total newbies, we need all the learning we can get :smile:

We’ve found several cool designs online, and have decided to go with something like this:
(single deep frames stacked vertically).

Here’s what we’re wondering:

  1. The hive will be clear plexi on both sides. Can we still put it outdoors, or must we bring it indoors? Is one better than the other? Do we need hinged wood doors on either side, for privacy and/or insulation?

  2. We will be filling this hive not with empty frames, but with 5-7 queenless frames full of honey and brood etc. Any special considerations? We will happily continue to feed the hive throughout the year.

Many thanks!
Olivia


#2

The hive will be clear plexi on both sides. Can we still put it outdoors, or must we bring it indoors?

I would keep it indoors. To keep it outdoors you will need some kind of doors to protect it from the sun and you will need to put it in the shade.

Is one better than the other?

Indoors is where I have mine and where I want mine…

Do we need hinged wood doors on either side, for privacy and/or insulation?

If you put it outside. Inside, I would just buy some cotton broadcloth and double it and then double it over the hive to make a curtain.

We will be filling this hive not with empty frames, but with 5-7 queenless frames full of honey and brood etc. Any special considerations?

If you don’t give them a queen, you may need to boost them again in a couple of weeks with some more brood. Observation hives tend to boom or bust and being queenless for a month is quite a blow to a colony.

We will happily continue to feed the hive throughout the year.

Be careful. Too much feed will get the brood nest filled with syrup…
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm


#3

Thank you so much Michael!!! Really appreciate it. And your page was super helpful. One question:
“ 1 3/4" is just the right amount of space between the glass for an observation hive. 1 7/8" is ok. “

is 1 3/4 the amount of space between the two glass panes, or is it the space between the frame and the glass on either side?


#4

It is the space between the nside of the glass on one side to the inside of the glass on the other side. Total The frame will go between that. A typical brood comb is 1" thick and that leaves one bees space on each side of that (between 1/4 and 3/8" is a beespace) making it a total of 1" + 3/8" + 3/8" = 1 3/4". (or for those who are “English measurement challenged” that is 25.5mm + 9.5mm + 9.5mm = 44.5mm)


#5

Wonderful, thank you! :heart_eyes:


#6

@Michael_Bush
Our beekeeping club uses an observation hive at roadshows for education. We make it up with a few frames and the queen then put the bees back when finished with a max of two days.
Do you find that keeping bees this way permanently is really stressful for them or do they go about their normal activities being interrupted all the time?


#7

It’s certainly more stressful than a regular hive. But not a lot more stressful than bees that move into too small a space. I keep a black curtain on them when I’m not observing them. Too much light seems to stress them. They are free flying.


#8

@Dee that is what our group do - but we only take it if it is warm enough also - in April we had our local council doing and Eco day but it was too cold for the bees - but we always take the virtual hive anyways.

They use the virtual hive in basic Bee keeper lessons and the last 2 lessons are out at the apiary


#9

Yes that’s the way to do it in my opinion. I would never have an observation hive permanently and keep looking at it


#10

Hi Michael! We built the observation hive per your specs and it is gorgeous. My fiance said it was wonderfully designed, and he built it in a day. We filled it with four deep frames. So far, so good.

… And then I realized in a forehead-slapping moment that the frame of open brood was from our own foundationless hive, whereas the three frames with capped brood and full of bees were from a foundation hive we’d just bought. These bees seem to have trouble accessing the (perhaps smaller) cells of the foundationless frame.

Is this fatal? Should we swap the brood frame out? Or add bees from the foundationless hive?

Many thanks as always…
Olivia


#11


Uploading…


#12

Very strange that they are not covering the capped brood in the top frame… did it slide over too close to the glass on one side?