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The effects of leaving the observation window cover off


Hi all,

I remember reading somewhere that bees don’t like too much light. Or was that just the brood box?

Does anyone have any feedback about leaving their window cover off, and what the bees do?
Does it slow down honey production?
Do they move away from the light?
How long have you left the window cover off without it effecting the hive?

@Gerry_Proteau did a video with the window cover off - what are your observations?

I think @Michael_Bush and @JeffH have observation hives with big windows on the side - what have you observed? Differences in bee behavior or honey production with the bees exposed to the light?

What do you recommend for an observation hive? e.g. max half hour, 2 hours, 10 hours, per day


One of the issues here is also heat. If this is in the sun, then a very short time can cause heat problems… The other issue is stress from the light. In my experience the bees will start running on the glass when they get stressed. It will be obvious. I have seen observation hives in nature centers etc. that were exposed all the time so apparently they do get used to it. I just close them up when they start running or when I’m done watching whichever comes first.


Hi Faroe, I keep my cover on unless I’m looking or showing someone or doing a bee talk. The bees will walk all over the window while it’s uncovered. My guess is because they think they can exit there. When the hive is completely dark, apart from the entrance, then the bees will only use the entrance to exit the hive.

This is why bees find their way into the inside of houses when the bees move into a wall cavity. Especially during the night when the light is on. Their normal entrance is dark, but they see a slither of light which leads into the room, which they chew away & eventually finish up in the room, where they don’t really want to be.


Another observation which gives credit to the bees not liking the light: The harvesting of propolis is enhanced by taking advantage of the bees dislike of the light. A screen is placed over the top of the hive and then the roof is elevated to bring in light, the bees will then propolise the gaps in the screen to block out the light.


whilst it is clear honey bees prefer the dark- it is also clear that they can have their hives exposed to full sunlight if the weather isn’t too cold: