I purchased the plans from Bonterra and built their swing view hive. It turned out very nice! I converted the entrance from the bottom to the top by making some slight adjustments. I was trying to get the entrance a little higher on the outside of the house for pedestrian traffic. I also inserted a tapered roller bearing on the bottom pivot to make it swing very smooth and easy. I will be getting a package for the hive in a couple of weeks. I understand the typical install of package bees into the observation hive. I was thinking of trying something a little different like the following:
build a small adapter to attach on top of the package of bees. I would insert a piece of metal into the adapter to close off the package to keep the bees in the package box. I would rig up a support to hold the box on its end so that the package opening and one of the screened vents on the observation hive line up. Then insert about a 3-4" PVC pipe into the adapter then into the vent hole of the observation hive (after removing the screen in the vent hole.) Slide out the piece of metal from the adapter allowing the bees to travel into the observation hive. Of course removing the queen cage first and installing her on top of the frames through the top vent hole. The package and adapter would be in the bottom vent hole. This also would allow me to leave the feeding hole vacant so that I could refill the feeder tray if needed. Once the bees are in, reinstall the screen in the vent hole when the space is vacant from bees.
This would allow me to watch the bees travel into the hive and would keep me from having the take the hive outside to install the package. Do you think this would work? I know I can make parts to make it happen. Do you think the bees would travel into the hive to the queen with out being dumped into the hive? I am sure it would take longer, but I am not all that concerned with the time factor. Thank you for your input. I will post pictures of the hive. It looks very nice. Great design by Bonterra.