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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Harrison, TN, USA


    I am getting prepared for my first hive. The hive is assembled (and mostly painted) the bees are ordered. I will probably have many questions once they arrive but for this post I am looking for input on a modular observation hive.
    I am hoping to build one of these so that next spring, hopefully, I will be able to set one up. I have seen very little on these observation hives.
    The University of Florida has a web page with some information:
    MG320 (figure 2)
    The University of Wisconsin has two PDF files:
    A2083.pdf (pages 29-32)
    Zach's Bee Photos has some images of this type of beehive here.

    Other than those resources I can find very little on these hives. Can anyone shed some light on why these are not used more often? They seem like a good idea to my ignorant I missing something big? Since everything I have uses mediums, it looks like this should work out very well for me.

    Thanks so much,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Bridgewater VT. USA


    the design looks great but I would build it two frames deep.this allows the bees a more natural arrangement and allows better clustering. Two frames deep also makes for more volume for less space taken up. It does allow the bees to hide between the frames, but being modular their space can be restricted to force them to use both sides of all frames.Good luck and have fun.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA


    It's simpler to just build an observation hive that is one hive and not modular and I don't see much advantage to the modularity. At least not enough to offset the work of building one.

    I figure three deeps or four mediums is about perfect for one. It's enough space for them to do pretty well without getting so big you can't carry it outside to work it.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    New York City


    The hive shown in Zach's photos has some serious
    advantages making it well worth the extra effort.
    My dad and I have built multiple versions of
    "modular" observation hives for a state park
    visitor center, and the lowest maintenance
    approach looks like a nuc, but has glass walls.
    (5 frames wide)

    This way, one can pull a "super" off, and replace
    it with a "super" of undrawn foundation.
    Keeping the bees busy working is important.
    Restricting the queen area is also important,
    as you don't want swarming.

    It is very rare to see the queen in this
    configuration, but one can limit the queen
    to the frames closest to the glass with both
    horizontal and vertical queen excluders, which
    mean that she will put in more frequent appearances.

    Another important point is to create an
    "air lock entrance", so that one can close
    off the hive side of the entrance tube,
    close of the tube side of the entrance tube,
    and remove the base unit for servicing without
    bees escaping. Returning bees will certainly
    fill up the entrance tube, but you can work
    on the hive (outside) when visitors are

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    tulsa, ok usa


    I have seen the module plans before and think they are worth the extra effort to build. Right now I have a three frame observation hive and it is a pain to transport. I like the ideal of breaking it down for transport. The other advantage I see is cleaning the inside glass and inserting mite strips. My hive is based on plans from this web site and therefore does not have a door. To get into the hive I have to lift the glass straight up. As you can imagine that is no easy task since the bees have glued the glass to the frame and there is comb built on the inside of the glass. The module system would also let you rotate your frames and even pull a mini honey crop if you wanted. I wonder how a frame of Ross Rounds would do in an observation hive? My hive is pretty crowded right now.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets


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