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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Default What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    I have two outdoor-facing windows in my current apartment. One is about 8 ft from my landlord's back door. The other is my bedroom window, right above my pillow, and I'd like to keep it bee-free.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the windows face into the garage, which was built after the apartment. If I were to double-route an observation hive exit tube thru one of the apartment windows and then thru the garage window, that would make it at least 8ft long. Is that too long?

    My other options are to:

    1) keep the observation hive in the garage, which may be warmer than outside, but still gets pretty cold (the obs hive will be 4 medium frames, two tall and two wide)

    2)Route the tube thru the top of my bedroom window and buy my landlord a new window screen once I'm done cutting holes in it

    3) Route the tube thru the cat-door which is set in an outside wall. But to get the exit of the tube far enough away so the bees don't bother the cats would probably take just as much length as going thru the two windows.

    As kind as my landlord is, I don't think going thru the wall is an option.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    First off, I'm assuming you already have the observation hive. Care to share pictures? I'm kinda an OH nut. I love seeing all the different kinds.

    Apart from that, I'm also assuming that you have already told your landlord, and you already have permission from him to have the OH indoors. If I were you, I'd check over the lease agreement to make sure you havn't broken a provision in it, and get his approval in writing. But hey, that's me.

    An eight foot long tube is not too long. The length is rarely the issue (although 30+ feet might be a bit much), but the materials can be. What will the tube be made out of? Wood? PVC? Vinyl tubing? Will it be installed at an angle?

    I've never had problems with vinyl tubing, and I try to use it as much as possible. Sometimes PVC can become a problem if it's at an angle (or straight up and down) as it's too smooth for the little ladies to get a good grip on. You need to scratch up and roughen the inside of the tube for them.

    But incase you wanted input on your alternatives:
    1) My Entomology classes at NC State had an Observation Hive in an unheated house (more of a workshop). They used Styrofoam for the side panels and didn't have much of a problem. For those reasons, I would think if you give them insulation, they should do fine in your garage (if you want).

    2) I slept 4 feet away from my OH at one point. I enjoyed the hum. But I would make sure you ask the landlord before cutting holes in screen. A good way to make a bad situation worse.

    3) From my experience, bees and cats don't mix well. Best to keep them separate.

    And going through walls is never a GOOD option, but doable if it's your ONLY option.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Chippew County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Do you have cable TV? If so you already have a hole in your wall. Another option would be through one of the vents. Dryer, kitchen vent, bath and shower vents. Other than these options I see no reason why 15 ft would be to long. I have never had an obh but video I have seen with them on a kitchen table would have required around 8 ft. to exit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5214DPzHNY

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Ballina, NSW - Australia
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    232

    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    I have done cutouts where the hive center is a 2.5m walk (about 8 feet??)thru ceiling beams etc.

    8-10 feet should be ok I am thinking - thru a 2 inch conduit or something?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    If you run string or twine through the tube the bees will find the extra length much easier to deal with. Once they get trained to the path you can remove the twine or not.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    1,260

    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    My OB hive has a tube length of over 10 feet. I used 2 inch PVC. For the vertical length that's over 8 feet I found out the hard way you need something they can climb on. Those that ended at the bottom ended up crushing each other and making a stinky dead mass. I hung an old packing strap through the length of the the vertical portion and they took to it like ducks to water.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    I don't know that tube length is that much of an issue compared to hive ventilation. You'll want to figure out a way of helping the hive ventilate air - it's going to be very difficult for the hive to move much air through an 8 foot tube.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Most properly constructed OH arn't sealed except for the entrance. Most of them don't have ventilation issues (at least any of the ones I've had).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Alexandria, VA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Thanks for all the advice, especially about the string/strap thru the tube! I never would have guessed that one starting out...

    Specialkayme--sorry, I dont' have it actually built yet, but given time constraints (its getting cold out) it will be really simple. I'll take some pics once I get it done.

    Ventilation--I plan on drilling several 1/2-1" holes along the sides and top, screening them on the insides, and get matching sized corks. If I start seeing condensation, I'll remove a cork or two as appropriate.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    I've only ever had the screens on the top (and once before on the bottom). I wouldn't bother putting them on the sides, just lets more light into the brood nest.

    Four 1.5" holes are plenty. They seem to propolis one or two up every summer. I remove the propolis, and they seem to do fine all winter and spring. I wouldn't put more than 4 in there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    I have seen one tube that was 20 feet long. And high up on the building.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Shorter is less prone to problems, but bees can adapt to much that isn't convenient for them. The thing I would worry about is them hauling out the dead. I know mine gets clogged in the winter sometimes and I have to clean it out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Alexandria, VA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    For everyone who offered advice, thanks again! I finally got the observation hive done and stocked--setting up the exit tube tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

    For Specialkayme who wanted pics, I posted several in the Photo gallery.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=248690

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    The ob hive in my garage is only 3 ft long, my bees didn't find the way out after 3 days. I smeared some honey on a fish tape 2 or 3 times and they figured it out after 15 minutes..
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Fish tape?

  16. #16
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    Jun 2010
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    TORONTO,ON. CANADA
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    Default Re: What is the maximum tube length for an observation hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tara View Post
    Fish tape?
    Fish tape is used by electricians to "fish" cable behind closed walls. Helps to bring electrical power to a new location without damaging wall. Narrow flexible metal strip in plastic housing. Sold by H.Depot, Lowes...
    ==Northumberland County Beekeeper, Trent Hills, Ontario==

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    warrenton va
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    1

    Big Grin Using an old aquarium for an observation hive in my living room

    Hi

    About 12 years ago I put a observation hive together using an old aquarium and it worked great and we had lots of fun watching the bees in our living room. The two tubes I used going from the wood/screen I had covered the hive with went about 4 feet to another piece of wood I had in the bottom of the window. My only problem was when I stood up the aquarium on it's end, it had a piece of glass on the end of it to strengthen it and that left the end of the tube about 1.5 inches off the bottom of the aquarium, and that made it real hard for the bees to clean the hive. and when I went to Bosnia for a year my wife said the hive started to smell because the bees could not clean it easily. Then she had her father take it outside and put it next to the other hives.

    So while they may be able to survive with the 8" tube run I don't think they will like it much and may swarm on you. My hive did so well it split 3 times that one summer. I had 6 deep frames in it and there was space above and in the back where they started to build. and it was full of bees all the time.

    If you want a CHEAP observation hive that will last you a couple of years just use an old glass aquarium flip it on it's end and make a screen cover thats half wood so you can make holes for the tubes, and place the tube ends where they touch the bottom of the hive and the frames come within 2-3 inches of the bottom. you will have to put something together that will hold the frames in place. Place it within a few feet of a window where you can put a board with holes for the tubes to go out onto a landing platform for the bees. we had a split entry home so the bees were flying about 8 feet over people heads and we never had a problem except when my daughter sat on the front steps about 10 feet from the hive entrance and used finger nail polish remover.... they hate that stuff. well she got stung 3-4 times.

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