Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Building an observation hive.

    I'm putting the finishing touches on an observation hive that I hope to have in use this spring. The basic plan is from Bonterra drawings, wall mount swinging hive, that I have adapted for medium frames. I plan to mount it in a spare bed room with the entrance at the SE corner of the house. The location will put the hive on the south wall of the room, between windows, to protect it from direct sunlight.

    My next step is deciding how to install a colony in the hive. I want to try going foundationless and it seems like the observation hive might be the place to begin. I'm thinking that this would be a good opportunity to watch everything start from scratch. My first thought is to install two nice frames of brood with eggs and let the bees raise their own queen. Good idea...bad idea... stupid idea? I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

    Also, wondering if ayone has adapted a jar feeder to a Bonterra design hive? Thanks!
    Seth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,808

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I've put a jar feeder on all of the observation hives I've built.

    I think it would be a neat idea to watch them make their own queen, but just make sure there are plenty of nurse bees in there.

    Foundationless in an OH might be a problem. It's my experience that the bees would rather build comb on either glass wall than one straight down the middle, if given the option . . .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    >Foundationless in an OH might be a problem. It's my experience that the bees would rather build comb on either glass wall than one straight down the middle, if given the option . . .

    I've had that experience as well. If you have a comb half way down the frame, though, it works fine MOST of the time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    It' interesting that they would rather build on the glass, I figures if you had comb guides in the frames it would work like in a regular hive. Do you think it's the smooth surface of the glass they have a need to cover or an attempt to isolate the hive by blocking the eyeball that looks in from time to time? ... probably getting too deep into bee psychology.

    I would like to see them building some comb from scratch... If comb guides don't provide enough guidance in an OH, would it be an option to install foundation as normal but cut out the center or just have foundation strips in one or two?
    Seth

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,808

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Why not give your regular hive a foundationless frame, in-between two drawn out frames, so they can draw it out straight then transfer it into the OH?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Is the OH a single wide or a double wide,if it is a double you can add one frame per side and let them draw the others out.Thats the way i did mine and it work fine.If it's a single wide try adding two or three frames and see how it goes!Heres a pic of mine.
    http://i1092.photobucket.com/albums/...s/DSC01913.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Last summer I started a single wide 4 deep frame observation hive (from Bonterra). I stocked it from the top with a frame of honey, a frame of mostly capped brood, a frame of larva with eggs and an empty foundationless frame. I shook in the nurse bees from a couple more frames and let them raise their own queen. I fed constantly until they seemed to be clogging up what I thought ought to be the brood nest.

    They successfully raised a queen and she took a mysteriously long time to start laying. I started the hive july 2, so they didn't end up building up enough to draw out the bottom frame before they shut down laying for winter. But, they were hanging off the empty frame quite a lot and in position to draw it properly.

    I started feeding again last week since we're having a warm winter and I want their numbers to build up. The queen started laying just a day after I started the feed. I just LOVE having an observation hive. During the drought last summer I could tell by their dancing which of the area ponds they were finding forage.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    They are a great to have around, every time i get some company i have to show it off.I biult the six frame circle view and so far i am very pleased with it.I turned it around yesterday and found eggs on the back side.The bees like the back where there is less light!They do not have any pollen that i can see so i started to feed them some bee bread from frames i have.They have been going to town on the bee bread.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Some great feedback... thanks! I'm thinking of replacing the suggested feeder tray in the top of the Bonterra OH with a jar feeder. should I install a strip of wood as a "bee ladder" between the top set of frames and the feeder?
    Seth

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I would use the feeder tray if the jar leaks the tray will catch the syrup or honey.The bees have no trouble getting to the feeder jar.I am using the tray to feed pollen right now!If you use a jar to feed make sure you install the screen so the bees don't come out.Take The lid to the jar after you make the holes and push on the inside of the lid to make it concave,it helps them reach the syrup!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by DC Bees View Post
    I would use the feeder tray if the jar leaks the tray will catch the syrup or honey.The bees have no trouble getting to the feeder jar.I am using the tray to feed pollen right now!If you use a jar to feed make sure you install the screen so the bees don't come out.Take The lid to the jar after you make the holes and push on the inside of the lid to make it concave,it helps them reach the syrup!
    Dave - I was concerned that the screen would cause the jar to leak... surface tension of the syrup on the lid in contact with the screen. With a pan the girls will always clean up the mess.
    I'm thinking the jar feeder with catch tray at one end of the top and a second tray on the opposite end to feed pollen. That way I can feed pollen and syrup together without mixing and turning the tray into a primary fermentor. Don't want to mix hobbies.
    Seth

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    As far as the screen goes i have never had a problem with the feeder leaking.My old OH didn't have a screen and the bees would escape when i added a jar of syrup.This OH has more space at the top so may not be a problem.I think two trays would work just fine.I only feed pollen when i think they need it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I always screen where I put jars and never have problems with the screen causing leaking.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I'm trying to decide the mounting location for my observation hive. My first choice would put the entrance about 12 feet above the corner of my driveway (not an area where cars are usually parked). Several threads talk about positioning the OH at the entrance tube location when you need to do work on it. How do you manage this if the normal entrance isn't accessable without scaffolding?
    Seth

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Seems like the bigger problem is closing off the entrance while you work it. You can work it wherever you like. I do like to be able to put a nuc at the entrance with ALL the frames form the OH in it so I can take my time and rework the hive over a couple of days, and that would be a problem if the entrance is on the second floor of your house. I put some cloth over the outside entrance and rubber band it. And then over the tube coming in and the exit to the hive and rubber band those. That way any pile up of traffic is outside and not in the tube waiting for me to pull the cloth off and then they are getting in the house. But you could make some kind of in between device with a slot and a 1/8" piece of masonite or plexiglass for a door you drop in to block it Then you could have it all hooked back up when you open the door.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Thanks Michael. I guess if I close the entrance at night (Bontera with metal slide) and move the hive out side thenreopen I should be good. I would just be like a relocation. The OH would need to be worked and then left till evening when all the foragers return. I will need to come up with a temporary closure for the through-the-wall entrance.
    Seth

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I would like to return to SEA's original question regarding the stocking of the hive and immediately allowing them to raise a queen. This got touched on briefly in another thread a few weeks ago regarding the minimum number of bees to raise a decent queen. It is what I want to do as well, but it wasn't clear then what would be workable, and I don't think anyone has responded to that point here either.

    What would be realistic? would a deep of capped brood, a deep of open brood and eggs, and a deep of honey/pollen be enough?
    How would one go about shaking extra nurse bees into an observation hive to help boost the initial population if your splitting off hives in the backyard? Seems like the bees on the open brood alone would not be enough.
    Or is it really better to get the hive up and running strong and then remove the queen?

    I would love to watch them draw out some comb as well, but it seems like it might be asking too much to do both at once without a big observation hive.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,808

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    would a deep of capped brood, a deep of open brood and eggs, and a deep of honey/pollen be enough?
    My concern would be less with having enough bees to raise the queen itself. My concern would be the broodless period it takes to raise a queen, have her emerge, have her mate, then have her start laying. The numbers in the hive are likely to drop in half (at least) during that point in time, and an OH doesn't have very many numbers to start with (compared to a regular hive). Be conscious of this and be prepared to add another fully capped frame for support, if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    How would one go about shaking extra nurse bees into an observation hive to help boost the initial population if your splitting off hives in the backyard?
    Either open it up and shake a frame in, or shake it into a box outside. Then put the box up to the OH entrance (with a good walking pattern to go in). The nurse bees will smell the hive, and walk their way in (unless there is something else more attractive).

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    Or is it really better to get the hive up and running strong and then remove the queen?
    I think it is. But if you are more interested in learning and watching than you are in saving a colony, then go for it. You'll learn alot, even if you lose the colony.

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    I would love to watch them draw out some comb as well, but it seems like it might be asking too much to do both at once without a big observation hive.
    I would agree.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Tuscarawas, ohio, usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    observation hive 2.jpgAfter reading through the comments, I'm leaning toward starting with a split and installing a purchased queen in the OH. Mine is a 2 x 5 high medium so I won't have a lot of bees to work with. I'm still deciding on how to run the entrance tube, not a lot of options for going through a brick wall. I included a pic of the hive before staining and varnish.
    Last edited by sea; 02-21-2012 at 09:35 PM. Reason: typo
    Seth

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Building an observation hive.

    I would give them a queen to start and let the hive you took it from raise a queen. Later, if you want to see them raise a queen, wait for them to start swarm prep and you'll get to see it under good circumstances. Then after they are well fed and capped, you can take the queen, some brood frames and some bees and try to cut them down enough that they will not swarm but just supersede. Then you get to watch that queen mate etc.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads