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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Bellingham WA USA
    Posts
    114

    Post

    greetings!

    Michael, I was reading about observation hives in a search and note that you have the draper's hive: Would it be possible to con you into sending / posting a few photos of the swivel base detail of that hive? My email is bsinwa(at)hotmail(dot)com.

    Thanks much! BS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

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    I can try to get around to it, but basically it's a lazy susan with ball bearings in a big ring. You can't see much even if you disassmebled it and I have bees in it so I can't really even turn it upside down easily to see the way it works.

    I like it a lot except the bees space is a bit too wide and I wanted all the same size frames. I have learned you have to rework observation hives to make them work and to adapt them to real life.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    I have mine on a wall mounted TV stand like the ones you see in hospitls. It will swing 180 degrese. It can swing with the flexable hosing staying in place. Got it at Lowes, they have different sizes available.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    793

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    Is there a good reference source on the management of the observation hive?

    Before coming to this forum, I had always thought of observation hives as something one setup for demos then returned the frames back to the hive for long term.

    If the observation hive is in a heated living space in winter, are the bees mobile and willing to take sugar syrup for a feeder without problems? Do they still 'cluster'? Is hive management similar to keeping an aquarium - always cleaning, feeding, changing - or can it be a fairly self sustaining hive?

    Maybe I need an observation hive and find out!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Bellingham WA USA
    Posts
    114

    Post

    ...So does the bee entry come up in the middle of the base? I basically decided to do just that- build my one w/ the best of the best details...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    I have seen them made with the lazy susan as michael mentioned with pvc parts in the center as you just asked. Without gluing them, the pvc connections swivel as the lazy susan turns.

    About the flexable pipe, Bullseye, what are you using? Does it ever "pinch" closed?

    JohnBeeMan, there are a number of books, but i dont' have one to recommend. An observation hive can be "for" just about whatever you want it to be: temporary where you just put a frame in for a few hours, or permanent as a fully functioning hive, or something for experimenting new things with... just depends on what You want and That is something you decide before getting/ building one. The self-sufficency really depends a lot on the design. Just like aquariums, the smaller they are, the more "help" they need. While larger ones, like larger aquariums, can go a bit longer before needing attention, if designed and maintained correctly, of course. Check out the photos of some of the guys large 6-frame models.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Post

    >Is there a good reference source on the management of the observation hive?

    Brushy Mt. has a book on observation hives. I bought it. It's ok. In the end you have to adjust your ideas to your climate and your hive. Also you have to adjust your hive.

    First, I think an observation hive obviously should have all the same size frames and those frames should be the same size as your brood frames in your hives so when it gets overcrowded, as it will, you can pull them out and put them in a regular hive. I often seem to be reworking them to fit the frames I need.

    Second, I always seem to have to rework the space between the glass. The Draper I have is too much space (about 2 1/4") and the Brushy Mt. ones I have are too little (1 1/2"). I think 1 3/4" is just right.
    Before coming to this forum, I had always thought of observation hives as something one setup for demos then returned the frames back to the hive for long term.

    >If the observation hive is in a heated living space in winter, are the bees mobile and willing to take sugar syrup for a feeder without problems?

    Yes.

    >Do they still 'cluster'?

    Sort of. After all there isn't anything to do really. But they aren't tightly clustered, no.

    >Is hive management similar to keeping an aquarium - always cleaning, feeding, changing - or can it be a fairly self sustaining hive?

    About twice a year I have to clean it out and scrape the glass (the Draper is real glass) and one or two of those times I'll have to take out a frame or two of brood and bees. I think you need about three deeps or four mediums to keep a self sustaining hive all year around but minimum is at least two frames so you can remove one when they are both full and leave one so there is still a hive.

    >Maybe I need an observation hive and find out!

    You'll get to see things you only read in books and some things you didn't read in books.

    >So does the bee entry come up in the middle of the base? I basically decided to do just that- build my one w/ the best of the best details...

    I like the entrance in the middle, myself, but mine is in the base. The swivel is nice and so it has to be in the base, but it sometimes gets clogged with bees. I had to take the tube loose several times this last winter and I used a 1" auger bit to clean out the dead bees to keep the tube open. Since it's closed in where you can't see in the base, I could only tell it was clogged because they weren't flying on a warm day.

    >About the flexable pipe, Bullseye, what are you using? Does it ever "pinch" closed?

    I use the corragated black tubing they sell for a sump pump. I don't have any problems and it's flexible.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Gillett, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    265

    Big Grin

    Hey that is so neat!! Michael, you have an observatory hive from Drapers??
    did you get the one that you can do bee venom therapy from or one with just a door?
    My cousin(John Stewart) is the one that makes them
    Sorry no i cant get the plans for it, John has a contract with them
    pretty neat huh
    Deanna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Post

    Mine has a swivel base with the tube attachment in the base. It is a beautiful hive and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish I hadn't waited so long to buy it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    hermiston, oregon
    Posts
    458

    Post

    Im going to build my observation hive based on plans here on this web site but instead of a (3) frame hive Im going to build a (6) frame hive. If I put the entrance in the middle of the hive(the hive will be about 54" tall) will the queen lay in the lower frames or will she start in the middle where the entrance is and work upwards??

    Or would it be better to build the observation hive so the frames are 3 frames tall and 2 frames wide instead of the 6 frames tall??

    [This message has been edited by oregonsparkie (edited May 15, 2004).]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

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    I run mine year round with four medium frames. Any taller and it's a problem with tipping over. Any wider and it wouldn't be so easy to turn around to see the other side. If I didn't have the swivel base, I think I could do five frames medium frames high and it would work well. If you're doing deeps then three to four deeps works fine all year round if it's in the house. If it's not, then it probably won't work even with six or more.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland,U.S.A.
    Posts
    104

    Post

    would it be possible to let the bees build wild comb and what is the longest the entrance tube can bee

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

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    If you make the space between the glass no less then 1 1/2" and no more than 1 3/4" (preferably 1 3/4") you can put empty frames in them and they will build comb in the frame nicely. Once in a while they decide to build something that is "off the wall" literally. But usually it's nicely in the frame. I've done this several times. I've also done small cell starter strips. I've also done PermaComb in them.

    The longer the tube the more likely that dead bees will block the exit. Shorter is probably better. The longest I've done sucessfully is about six feet. I have done longer ones but they absconded, probably because it was PermaComb and not enough space between the glass, but the tube probably didn't help either. That one was about 15 feet, but they did find their way in and out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

    Post

    you know, because Michael posts SO MUCH and sometimes they are just little snipits; you sometimes have to reign in your imagination on what he tries; a 15 foot entry/exit? I'm wondering where exactly the hive sat. Proabbly dead center of the living room, or at the foot of the bed or some other perfeclty logical place to a bee lover.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,313

    Post

    The hive was by the window but the window opened onto a deck. The idea was to get the bee traffic away from the deck a little ways.



    I am always experimenting and have been for three decades now.

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