I'm planing on building a observation hive this spring but have been told it's hard to get thim to live,(2 deeps & 1 shallow).I want to keep them in the house that's kept at about the same temp year around.have anyone have any info that may help?
I have one that is three deeps, but I started it late and it was only 1 deep frame of bees. It hasn't done too well, but they are still there. I think if it was three full frames they would have done fine.
Also, since you haven't built it yet, I would suggest you make it all the same kind of frame you use for brood in your hives. The queen is going to lay on all of them. The hive will get overcrowded and you will have to pull frames of brood out of the hive and combine with your hives and I think it's much easier if they are all the same.
Mine came with two deeps and two shallows, and I converted it to three deeps and a home made feeder.
Thanks michael,I did'nt think about it but it would be better so I can just swap frames,do you have a problem when it's cold outside with them trying to work.& the temp inside being warm /. I'm planing on building a feeder inside.
I haven't noticed them trying to fly when it's cold. The tube going out is long enough, I'd think they'd figure it out before they got out the entrance. The population has dropped considerably since the queen stopped laying. I think a lot of them moved into one of the other hives in the yard. But, as I said, it was only one frame and not that strong, so they may have looked for a happier home.
I took a 2 x and cut out a frame size feeder by making a dugout with a skill saw and a chisel. It wasn't that hard. Most of the plans I see show a Boardman. This will work if the hole is covered with 1/8" hardware cloth so the bees can't get out when you fill it.
I made mine 2 deeps and a shallow, by 2. So I have 4 deep frames and 2 shallow ones. Overcrowding is not a problem, if you use nucs. Personally, I like to keep 3 nucs around. I use them for lots of things, and its always nice to have a "proven" queen around. But as stated, try keeping things as standard as possible. I made a mini miller feeder for mine. I don't like the boardman types, or anything with a jar sticking out of it. An observation hive should look as professional as possible in my opinion.
When I designed the hive, the intent was for
"show and tell". I use it to educate the public, at fairs, schools, etc.
I never intended the hive to overwinter.
The boardman type feeder on the side makes
it convient for me when I have to move the hive to the next demostration. The jar is replaced with an empty jar. I suppose that if the intent was for personal, non-moving use, then a miller type feeder would also be welcomed by the bees.
Every one wants to see the queen.
Having a hive several frames thick, the queen stays mostly in the dark, although you will see her on the outer frames once in awhile.
Like mentioned before it's nice to have proven queens available.
[This message has been edited by The Honey House (edited January 25, 2003).]
Observation hives are a great source of enjoyment for me. I like to come home from work on a summer evening, sit on the patio next to the hive and just relax. Sometimes I close my eyes and just listen to the hum or watch the bees disappear in the sky.
I build a new ob hive every couple of years and have tried almost every combination of sizes, widths, etc.
Here's another idea for an observation hive. A cover could be constructed that would sit on a super or maybe a nuc box. The queen and a frame of bees could be isolated above the cover in typical observation type hive. The super below would provide extra room for bees, food, etc. When the seasons over the queen and frame could be moved below and the whole hive overwintered. It would probably best be set on a patio and not in the living room.
Just another idea I haven't tried, yet:> )
My current ob hive can hold four deeps wide and is used with a follower board which allows a degree of expansion.