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  1. #1
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    Default Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    I figure I want an observation hive, and I want a breeder queen to have limited laying space so she lasts longer. Can you combine the two with good results? (I'm thinking 6 deep frames)

    If I made an observation hive with an easy-access door so I could put in and remove comb for her to lay up every now and then, would there be any big problems with keeping my 'beauty queen' indoors?

    Also, about breeder queen colonies in general... do you put a queen exluder on so she can't swarm just in case (or die under the hive if she's clipped), and let the drones live life inside the hive? Or let the drones fly free and check every week to be sure there's no queen cells?

    If anyone can point me to a link for observation hive management in general, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    Reno, NV USA
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    I think a nuc might accomplish the same thing and perhaps be a more optimal environment. Observation hives are more difficult from an environmental control perspective and some risks are involved. I'm sure an observation hive "could" work but it would be more difficult and harder to control.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    If you are looking for resources on OH management, try Mr. Bush's website: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm or I've heard good things about the book on Observation Hives sold by Brushy Mountain: http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...oductinfo/504/ I havn't read it myself, but it's on my "to get" list.

    As far as your overall idea, I'm not sure that it will work the best. Observation Hives, since they are smaller and abnormal to the way a typical colony builds their hive, have a tendency to exacerbate anything you do to them. For example, in a normal hive, if you don't give them enough space they make do for a couple weeks until you have a problem. If you don't give the OH enough space they freak and abscond in a couple days (or hours). You often have the same issue with too much space, too much food, not enough food, temperatures, ventilation, condensation, the like. You can open up a normal hive two times a day without a problem. Last spring I opened up my OH twice in one day and it stressed the bees out so much they left.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Dewey Caron's OH book is nice. It explains the additional care that is required to maintain an OH.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
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    Jan 2007
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    piedmont s.c.
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    Smile Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    I know a beek who own a small community store,he puts his older queen in the obhives they lay enough to show people eggs larve, and the workings of the hive without having to remove brood and bees.so there is some use for old girls,try it it work. good luck rock.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Another book for my Christmas list!

    Thanks for the advice guys... My original plan WAS to have the observation hive be my favorite queen's 'retirement home', but after reading about limiting breeder's production, it made sense from that point of view.

    I may try it eventually, but after I'd tried OBHs with less valuable queens!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    FYI - I just got the latest edition of Bee Culture. There is an article in there about the Observation Hive book. The authors are working on a rewrite. They are asking for pictures and input over the next couple months. My guess is within a year or so a new edition will be out, if you are interested in waiting.

  8. #8
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    May 2008
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Just a note on drones, If you have a breeder queen you want her drones to flood the area. Improve local stock with genetics you want.

    I was thinking of getting a VSH breeder, & putting her drone frames in other hives for them to raise them.
    Dan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Yeah, I was thinking about a 6-frame hive, where the top third could be opened with a separate door that just exposes the two top frames. I could put worker-cell comb in one slot and drone comb in the other. The next day when I pull them, I put the drone comb into one of my outdoor hives to raise.

    But as people said, I could do the same in a nuc. I'll try an observation hive next year, just not with my favorite queen! (Or, she may be a favorite, but too old and slowing down...)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Now is a good time to pick out a smaller hive, that perhaps won't make it through the winter alone, and put it into an observation hive (rather than a nuc, or combining it) to overwinter.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Hmmm.... good point! Guess I'd better get building! I do have a nuc that's been rather slow...

  12. #12
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Now is a good time to pick out a smaller hive, that perhaps won't make it through the winter alone, and put it into an observation hive (rather than a nuc, or combining it) to overwinter.
    I've never had good success with this approach. I find it much better to take a weak hive and do combine with another. My problem with OB hives in the fall is that both SHB numbers are high and larger (much stronger colonies) are seeking resources and will readily overpower an small colony like that in an OB hive. Starting an OB in the spring has been far easier for me.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    Starting an OH in the Spring is alot easier than in the Fall, but it isn't too difficult. Keeping them fed, and making sure they have enough numbers are key issues. I have a 50% success rate with taking a weak hive and turning it into an OH in the winter. Usually they fail because they don't have numbers large enough to sustain a temp in there (i.e. I got to them too late, or they were too weak). BUT, that gives me an extra hive 50% of the time in the spring. Plus, I learn why they are failing every time. Sometimes it's SHB, sometimes food stores. But I learn something every time.

  14. #14
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Anything wrong with putting your breeder queen into an observation hive?

    OH are a bit unstable population and swarm wise. They boom and bust. I wouldn't put a queen I was attached to in one. I'd put her in an eight frame nuc and keep an eye on it and rob brood for other hives. to control the population.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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