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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    53

    Default Add more bees to observation hive?

    Four weeks ago I started an observation hive with 4 medium frames. To begin with it had bees thickly covering 2 full frames and part of a third, but now through attrition there aren't enough bees left to cover both sides of 1 frame. There are swaths of capped brood on each side of that frame, and the first few new workers have just begun to hatch out. Even so, I don't think there will be enough bees in the short term, and certainly not enough foragers.

    If I want to boost the population, should I:

    - add a frame or two of capped brood from another hive?
    - add frame(s) of capped brood with nurse bees on them? Would they be accepted, and would they accept the queen?
    - transfer the bees into a nuc to try and let them build up in a less stressful environment before putting them back in the observation hive?
    - something else?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    425

    Default Re: Add more bees to observation hive?

    Never having ran an observation hive (but thinking it would be fun to build and use) I would vote for adding frame(s) of capped brood with nurse bees on them.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Add more bees to observation hive?

    I agree with Capricorn....unfortunately, I haven't run an observation hive (yet) either, so take it FWIW.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Add more bees to observation hive?

    My OH had very few bees in the winter and have built up so much I just took the queen and 3 of the 4 frames to make a new hive outside. Be sure to feed them as well as you can. As much trouble as taking an OH outside is, you might want to wait a week and see how much a difference that emerging brood will make.

    Are you keeping the glass covered when you're not watching?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Franklin Co, PA, USA
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Add more bees to observation hive?

    I have the observation hive ready for an event later today. Recommend adding a frame of mostly capped brood. This will quickly increase your population with young bees, but not too much extra work for the current population (as you'd have if you add eggs or larvae). Be sure they have honey and pollen available to feed the new bees - otherwise the new bees have to be adopted to foraging right away and won't last as long. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Add more bees to observation hive?

    Thanks for all of the advice. I ended up adding a solid frame of capped brood and a frame of honey, along with as many of the bees from those frames as possible. I did lose some of the original bees when I opened the hive, but there was a net gain in population. The hive is in a garage, so I don't have to carry it in & out, but I still wouldn't want to open it very often, since it's so hard to keep its inhabitants from wandering.

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