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  1. #21

    Default Re: Observation Hive (OH) Enthusiasts'

    Observation Hives are not stand alone hives pretty much by definition. You need support colonies to switch out brood and honey to keep the colony in balance.

    I have three ob hives, two in operation at the moment. (only two holes drilled in the house and that's one past the limit as far as the Almost Perfect Husband is concerned)

    the three I have are:
    4 deep frames, two high, two across - stacked like hive bodies
    6 medium frames, two high two across - stacked like hive bodies
    8 medium frames, two high and two across - cabinet style with swing open door

    I like the two across setup as it allows the bees to cluster. The only other OB hives in my area are at the Children's museum, Gilsland Farm Audubon, and Pineland. All of these are 3 or 4 deeps single wide and they all regularly die out, often in the summer and always over winter. (I don't manage any of them but I have supplied the bees/queen on several occasions.)

    I haven't lost an ob hive colony at my home yet. I attribute this to the two across setup/ clustering space. I do move the colony out in spring first thing and let them grow into a full colony. Then repopulate with a small colony in summer or fall.

    Photos in my photobucket of the first medium ob hive here:
    http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j3...vation%20Hive/

    I did have my traveling observation hive "plugged in" to one of the holes in the house this summer - a little ob hive with one deep and one shallow but I had a series of events so I thought I'd try to keep it going instead of bothering the hives every 10 days - 2 weeks. The queen would lay up the entire hive (as you say) to the point where I worried that two or three days of rain would starve them. I'd steal the shallow of brood and replace with uncapped honey - they'd devour the honey and the queen would lay up the frame again. Finally I got an Ulster hive at EAS, moved the ob hive to a deep + shallow nuc and they're all set up for winter now.

    Healthy colonies want to grow.

    Have fun with your OB hive, they're the best learning tool there is.
    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    addison,maine,USA
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Observation Hive (OH) Enthusiasts'

    [QUOTE=Maine_Beekeeper;474330]Observation Hives are not stand alone hives pretty much by definition. You need support colonies to switch out brood and honey to keep the colony in balance.

    Hey Erin
    I read with great interest your post on Observation Hive (OH) Enthusiasts' a thread I started. I have to say you’ve added a great deal of definitive info. to the thread.
    I am determined to bring the knowledge and enjoyment bees to a wider audience and there is no better way to do the than with an observation hive, for beekeepers, new beekeepers and non-beekeepers. I’m trying to create an optimum design and your experience and comments are greatly appreciated.
    It does seem to me that one of the central problems in getting an ObH thru a long winter is their need to “cluster”. Indeed I’ve had an Obh; 4 deep frames, two high, two across(allowing for better clustering) and it survived 10 years, in mid west winters, with out ever opening it, until I moved. Of course most of the action took place where you couldn’t see it.
    I’ve got two single wide; a 4deep and a 5deep going now. They both have solved their own problems since this last spring; including creating a new queen and over crowding. They’ve plenty of honey and plenty of bees and good queens to start this winters mode. But, up here, it’s a long long while till spring and were probably talking Jan and Feb. 10 to 0- degree weather. It’s going to bee a stretch.
    I’m just pondering??; is it a temperature thing, a genetic thing, what? In a single wide.
    I wonder about “life span” problem between laying seasons??

    What can be done to get a single wide to survive the winter??

    Thanks again for your valuable knowledge and I look forward to your comments.
    Mark

    Here’s a video of my current designs, I hope it works;

    http://s918.photobucket.com/albums/a...t=ObHpromo.flv

  3. #23

    Default Re: Observation Hive (OH) Enthusiasts'

    Very nice looking OB hive.

    Perhaps a two by three option might be an additional offering.

    A good quality fit and finish are key and it looks like yours has that!

    Fantastic!
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    addison,maine,USA
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Observation Hive (OH) Enthusiasts'

    Well Observation Hive Enthusiasts'
    I’m wondering what you have been using for entrance tubing and fittings and what kind of systems have worked for you?
    How far will bees travel from the outside entrance- thru a tube- to the hive, how many elbows and joints can they manage?
    I have had about 4 ft. of clear 1 ½” plastic visible in the house work well. I wonder what the limits are?
    What kinda experiences have you had that didn’t work?

    Mark

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