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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Northern Virginia, Clarke County
    Posts
    4

    Smile

    Hi,

    Thanks for the input so far. I was wondering (again) about the options for looking in on bee operations without opening the hive....like putting a window in the side of a hive body or something. Anyone have experience with a Hive with a View? I was thinking of a sheet of plexiglass in one of the hive sides so the kids (and me) could see what all the buzz was about. I guess you could put a removable cover over it when you weren't inspecting. Would the light upset things? Make the bees mad? Change the thermal characteristics of the hive? And would you put the window on the end to look down the frames (probably from the back) or on the side where you'd see one frame?? Anyone gone as far as having a webcam peering in on bees?

    Obviously I have too much time on my hands at the moment.

    Experiences? Comments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    I bought one in a buyout one time that had a window on the outside frame. Keep in mind that the glass or plexiglass will cause a greenhouse effect in the hive if receiving direct sunlight and could likely cause serious problems to include unusual numbers of bees to cool the hive and temperatures which could kill a hive or cause wax to melt. Doing it on an outside frame is meaningless since you don't see much of what is really going on. Maybe getting an observation hive would be a better idea.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Langley, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    413

    Post

    dnkmett;
    Observation hive would be a better idea.

    http://beesource.com/plans/obsrhive.htm

    Terry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    You'd likely learn more from looking at a
    sticky board inserted under a screened
    bottom for a day or two than you would learn
    from a "window" on a hive body.

    That said, a Plexiglass replacement for the thin
    panel in one's inner cover is popular among many
    hobby beekeepers, and appears to have zero
    drawbacks, if drilled or cut to allow ventilation
    and the holes covered with screen.

    You can pop off the outer cover, and look at
    the topbars, which can be provide very revealing
    information on all sorts of things, from where
    the bees are in the early early spring (if they
    are up to the top of the stores super you left
    them, its time to get a feeder on, QUICK) to
    progress in capping the topmost super.

    But trying to find out anything of importance
    without opening the hive does not really save you
    much time or energy. Better to look at entrance
    activity, do regular sticky board examinations,
    and open hives less only when you notice something
    amiss, such as less sorties or massive mite fall.

    Rough comparisons of raw number of sorties is the
    primary way I decide which colonies are weaker
    than others, and select which colonies need
    "a look under the hood".

    But if the colony is putting up lots of sorties
    and the varroa counts are low, in fall, feed 'em
    well, and then leave 'em alone until a Feb thaw.
    In Feb, feed 'em some more, and toss some pollen
    in. In spring, stack the supers as high as you
    can, and leave 'em alone until your first harvest
    in May.

    You see, opening a hive means that production
    drops for at least a full day thereafter, as
    the bees repair propolis seals, recover from
    the "scare" of having a giant straight out
    of a Japanese monster movie rip the top off
    their home, and otherwise get back to normal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I've built hives with one side made of plexiglass and a board to fill it in when I'm not peeking in the hive. But with full sheets of foundation it's fairly useless because the sheets of foundation block your view. But with starter strips or foundationless frames you can see a lot as the hive developes.

    I think the plexiglass inner cover, as Jim said, is the simplest and more useful (at least if you use full sheets of foundation like most people do). Because you can see the bees on the top bars anyway and get an idea how much of the hive they are usuing.

    http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/ima...bservation.jpg
    http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/ima...sOnTopBars.jpg

    Here's some pictures of mine. The entrance runs the long way on this one, but the entrance could also run the short way. The windwo, however, should be the long way if you want to see without the end bars blocking your view. A board fits in the inset to keep it from becoming a solar wax melter. I just remove it when I want to look in. The second picture is looing inside. I put top bars in it when I took this picture but I've also used it with frames with starter strips with similar results.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Northern Virginia, Clarke County
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the comments all.

    If i'd spent a few more moments on the web, I would have found this page (at a minimum):

    http://www.honeybeeworld.com/misc/observation.htm

    a number of different observation hives and plans are presented and in fact there are a couple of "BeeCams"

    I'm sure there are plenty more where this one came from!

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    Do a search here on observation hives. I and others have listed many links to observation hives before.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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