I've done the search thing, but didn't come up with exactly what I was interested in.
I'd like to build a temporary observation hive to put on display at our local Agricultural Fair in August. Is this practical? I was considering borrowing 2 or 3 frames with bees from my strongest hive for a day.
Will they continue to work the frames, or will they all start looking for a way out by the end of the day? I was going to use the plans avialable here to build the hive.
Dr. Jim Tew has done this for years. Usually it's only one frame of bees in a well ventilated observation hive with no entrace or exit. The ones he built are a 1 by for the base, a 2 x 4 cut at an angle for the spacer and frame rest peices and these are anchored to the base with lag screws from the bottom. Then a 2 x 2 across the top screwed down into the sides. The plexiglass can be put on the outside of this either with those mirror brackets or by drilling holes in the plexiglass and putting them on with pan head wood screws. A "Tew Traveling Hive" is for sale from Brushy mountain for about $100. I have one, actually, that I haven't used and now that I've converted to all mediums instead of deeps, I would probably part with it for a bit less than that. I did put holes in the top for a small jar of honey or syrup and a jar of water (for cooling).
From my experience with such things, I would build it for two frames so I could put in a frame of bees and an empty frame. Maybe one with just a starter strip so the bees can build comb on it or at least one that is not fully drawn so they bees have something to do. You need to feed them if you do this and then the bees are occupied instead of idle. Idle bees will spend all their efforts trying to get out. I would build it with some way to feed them and with lots of ventilation and you have to make sure you don't have it in direct sun. A peice of black cloth to lay over it in such a way it doesn't block the ventilation but blocks the light, is nice when there are no spectators and you want to give the bees a rest from the stress of the light.
thanks Michael. Possibly modify the design here to have fine mesh screen on each side at the bottom and smaller pieces at the top to allow for drafting of the heat out?
btw, how many hives do you have active right now?
I would put 3/4" to 7/8" holes covered in #8 hardware cloth. Metal screen wire will work if you can't get the #8, but I prefer the hardware cloth. If you have a two frame hive I'd put three on each side and two on the top and two on the bottom. Some of this depends on the conditions you expect to have the hive under. If it makes the trip in an air conditioned car to an air conditioned building and NEVER has to be left outside for any amount of time a little less ventilation might do, but too much is probably better than not enough. Sometimes people use a saw cut in the middle up the sides for a little ways. It spreads the draft out a ways and doesn't require the hardware cloth. The other advantage is that some child could poke something hard in and pop the staples off of the hardware cloth and let the bees out. The slot won't let bees out and no one can mess with it.
I lost count, but at my house I think I have 17 hives and at my out yard I think I have about 22 hives, but I can't keep track of all the splits and swarms right now. I'm guessing somewhere around 40.