What are to pros and cons of having one in your house? Do you rob the honey? Also in winter do you leave them inside and about how long will they survive? Do some people keep them inside all the time? And does it make your house smell like a beehive? Thanks
I had a two and a half frame observation hive on my kitchen counter all one summer, and I learned more about bees that summer than at any other time. I didn't get all my work done though; it was a big temptation to stay home and watch.
Don't plan on any honey yield from an observation hive. I had to feed mine thru the summer, and added some bees a couple times, too. There is not enough space for the colony to build up much (and if they did, they'd blow off a small swarm...)
The house smelled very nice for the most part. When my neighbor sprayed his orchard and the bees were visiting the clover in the ground cover (a violation of the label directions) the house stunk, because there were a lot of dead bees piled in the bottom. I left them for a few days hoping they'd clean them out, but they didn't and I had to.
I have since had observation hives in several stores, and generally have about the same experience. You have to add feed/bees, since they tend to dwindle. And I got hit one other time with mosquito spraying in a suburban area produce market.
One year I kept one alive thru the winter (I'm in South Carolina), but they were a very tiny hive by spring. We covered them with a blanket at night, since the shop was unheated then, and fed a frame of honey three or four times. I proved to myself it can be done, but don't think the effort is worth it.
Hi. I have an observation hive in my living room. I made it last year using the plans on www.beesource.com. I made some of the measurements wrong and had to adjust with a carving knife after putting the bees in. I put the hive next to my living room window (in the shade) with a tube going out through a strip of wood that I cut to fit.
I put it in in July last year with one full frame of brood, one full size frame of foundation and one small size frame of foundation on top. I did NOT put in a queen. I wanted to see what the would do. My wife stayed upstairs for the first few hours but I assured her that everything would be OK.
Just like it says in all the books, the bees created queen cells and then the queen appeared right on schedule and after the appropriate time, she started laying eggs right on schedule. This process is VERY COOL TO SEE!!!
I only had one "leak" in the beginning. We had company over for dinner and one of the small girls said "David, why is there a bee up in the light?". I immediately got my caulk gun and sealed the hive glass tight.
I have the hive bolted to a table that I built and the table is bolted to the wall so it is very secure. The tube going into the hive is secured with a small L and clamped with a heater hose. I have also added a way to slide a piece of metal in front of the opening so that I seal the hive for moving it around. I have just finished building legs so that I can take the hive around and show it to my kids school and other fun things like that.
I feed the bees as needed.
I highly recommend it.
I am hoping to start 2 new (standard) hives with 4.9mm this year and if all goes well, convert my observation hive to the same.