Max xx PRO 7:42pm, 8 June 2009
Hello everyone.

Do any of you own an observation hive? I thought I'd let you know you know of my experience and hoe to hear from other beekeepers who use observation hives.

Observation Hive 3

I've just finished constructing mine and all seems to be going very well. It is a 2- frame hive (using British Standard brood frames). The hive body is made from French Oak (remains of our 3cm thick floorboards). It was grooved with a power router to take the glass windows. I stocked it with a strong colony from a 5-frame nucleus developed from a swarm I collected a month ago. I've sited it inside our conservatory and the bees enter and leave via 1.5 m of 30mm id tube which goes up onto the roof via the zinc rainwater downpipe.

Observation Hive 1

Observation Hive 2 - tube detail

This caused quite a bit of trouble: 1. because it was so long and 2. because a large section of it was vertical which the bees down like very much. I solved this by spending 4 days training the bees using successively longer lengths of tube: 5, 15, 30, 100cm. this was with the hive sited above the conservatory on the roof with the entrance always in the same place - i.e. where it now is with the hive indoors.

Photography: Getting decent macro pictures through the glass is far from simple. The first problem is glare from flash and the second is that the focal plane is so close to the back edge of the glass that detritus and imperfections on the glass surface are picked up in focus. If anyone has any advice on this I'd be very pleased to hear from you.

Many thanks in advance for any comments you may have ...
Justine Edwards 9 years ago
Fascinating!!!!! I do know someone who has an observation hive but sadly it never makes it through the winter - they do tend to propolise up their escape access which is a bit of a shame and they seem to have some problems doing the cleaning.

So interesting though!
Max xx PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Max xx (admin) 8 years ago
Well, I hope mine makes it through the winter - the populatin is dwindling rapidly as the temperature goes down and I've found several dead bees with DFW
Chrissie2003 PRO 6 years ago
Perhaps the most fascinating example of insect behavior is that of one of the most familiar, the honey bee. Like other social insects, honey bees live in soci eties in which survival is dependent on mutual co operation and division of labor. A colony consists of a queen (reproductive female) and her offspring. Drones (males) are few, existing only to mate with queens. Once their duty is performed, they are driven away from the hive before winter. Workers (sterile females) fill virtuallyall other roles. Larvae develop in the cells of the comb that the workers construct from wax secreted from specialized glands. If a new queen is needed to replace one that has died, or to lead a swarm from a colony that has out-grown its hive, a larva is selected by the workers and fed royal jelly. This regal diet alters the larva's development, and a queen bee develops. The vast majority of larvae do not receive royal jelly in their diet and thus are destined to become workers.
Butts Bees 5 years ago
Old thread but....
You need at least three frames inline , not 2 one on top and one on bottom. The brood need to be kept warm and food needs to be close by. Close in the bees' terms. They can starve with honey on top of them in winter so it must be next to them. They will cluster in the middle for warmth.
It looks like you have a temporary home but not for long. I doubt the queen would even lay in this set up.
steveburt1947 PRO 5 years ago
Hi Everyone!
I am the curator of a three frame oak-and-glass observation hive at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo in Detroit Michigan. This display has about 100,000 visitors each year.
My hive dwindles each winter but I transplant bees from hy outdoor hives in late winter, usually without much fighting.
My biggest problems are:(1) acute starvation in the summer as the hive gets too populated while brood rearig occurs, and then starves badly if we have a week or thereabouts of inclement weather. I have to remove the majority of dead bees and start over. Usualy the queen and a small number of workers survive. (2) My other probelm is that we now are an area with Small Hive Beetles, which are hard to treat. My usual treatment in large or small hives is to just find all of them on each frame and squish every one with my finger tip.
-Steve Burt
treegoat 5 years ago
My husband built this observation hive out of an old cabinet

And this one is a top bar hive with an observation window which he built from mostly scrap wood and plexiglass

If you place the camera lens directly on the glass there is no glare even with flash. If you use a shallow depth of field and focus only on the bees the imperfections in the glass aren't as noticeable.
Butts Bees Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Butts Bees (member) 5 years ago
Love TBHs . We built a small one with a window too. SHB can be treated in lanstroth hives with cutts beetle trap or aj beetle traps. Also the freeman bottom board helps . We use D.E in the in hive traps not oil and it works well. SHB is horible in the south, they cannot be controlled by squishing. It only gets them to breed and then lay and in short order you can lose a hive!
It seems quite hard on a queen to lose so much for all her hard work,Steve. I hope you consider installing a TBH with a large observation widow. They are in a much more natural state for the public to view and healthier.
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