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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Barboursville, VA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default observation hives

    Has anyone had experience with observation hives? Single frame widths would insure seeing the queen, but I've read where two frame widths helps in the winter for brood cluster. Minimum number of frames seems to be three or four ...(or six or eight for double frames..) Ease of taking care of ?
    Thanks, Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: observation hives

    bonterrabees.com
    they are a sponsor here, I got their 8 frame double wide and it is great

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Oswego, NY
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: observation hives

    Yep Bon Terra is the way to go. I have a DW-8 3 feet behind me and the bees love it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Barboursville, VA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: observation hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy_K View Post
    Yep Bon Terra is the way to go. I have a DW-8 3 feet behind me and the bees love it.
    Thanks, guys. Is there much maintenance with the hives? Would you change anything about the hives? Anything ? Do you have trouble finding the queen...does she hid between the panels? Have you had it through a winter? Swarms? Thanks, jim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cheboygan Mi
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: observation hives

    Bonterra, I have there 10 frame double wide. I live in northern Mi, so they have to make it for 90 or more no fly days. we have had a good year for the bees and the OB hive has spawned 3 swarms and I collected all of them, I call it now a hive maker.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,304

    Default Re: observation hives

    I had one made that I then heavily modified it to hang in my office. http://s196.photobucket.com/albums/a...vation%20Hive/ I got it before Bonterra bees started. The only thing I wish I had is either a larger entrance and exit hole or 2 of them. They get a little congested when things are hopping. No trouble finding the queen but I mark them. I'll be heading into my 3 winter with them. I can't afford to have a swarm as mine is in my office where we've got +/-100 employees here. The outdoor covered lunch area is only 50 yards from the entrance/exit. The entrance/exit is intentionally +/-12" off the ground to ensure the flight path is well above everyone. I watch for congestion or queen cells and act before they can by either stealing a frame of two of brood for over-congestion or if I'm too late stealing a couple frames of brood with the queen and letting them raise a queen from an active Queen cell. They're easy to take care of but only after 2 or 3 years experience under your belt. My hive is heavy as I'm using 7/16 tempered glass. When you're new you'll want to mess with them too much and an OB hive is too cumbersome to easily do that safely.
    Last edited by D Coates; 08-20-2012 at 03:22 PM.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: observation hives

    I'd like to build one that I can place in an open window so I don't have to put a hole in the wall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: observation hives

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm

    I like the one frame thick ones. Otherwise there is not much to watch as the queen will stay between the frames and most if not all the brood will also be where you can't watch.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: observation hives

    I just minutes ago came home from watching my first live queen egg-laying thanks to my brand new observation hive, constructed off the Bonterra plans for the outdoor 8-frame double-wide. Got to watch the queen be mobbed in her intro cage, accepted, released, and it's just about the coolest thing ever. Might need some time off work to get watching the girls outta my system.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Barboursville, VA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: observation hives

    Hi Michael.
    Is 1 3/4" between the glass using a 1 1/4" frame or standard 1 3/8"?
    Is it harder to overwinter a single frame width?
    Is there more time spent manipulating frames, etc. to keep the hive operating?
    Thanks, Jim

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,397

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: observation hives

    I made a four frame single wide usitng plans from this site. I am going into my second fall and just love this hive. It is inside a porch that is not heated-but got down to 45 degrees last winter. I have to fill the pint jar of sugar water about every two months, winter and summer. I started by adding a frame of brood and a 2 year old queen. When that got too large for the hive, I removed all four frames to a 5 frame nuc. Then two weeks later added to the ob. hive a frame of open and capped brood and let them raise their own queen. The proceass is amazing. I have learned more about bees in this ob. hive than all the other Lang. hives combined.
    I did not want to make a hole through the wall, so I placed a 2x4 in the bottom of a window and had a 1 1/2 inch hole in that. Just right for the 1 1/4 pvc pipe I was using for the entrence.
    Charlie

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Barboursville, VA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: observation hives

    Thanks for all the input! I'm excited...however, my wife has a reservation....

    Is the observation hive noisy? I would think you would hear a hum (that's not noisy to me! ) I lived in an old farm house with a feral hive in the wall of the bedroom and it was wonderful...the hum was very relaxing.
    However,this will be in our livingroom and...
    Thanks, Jim

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: observation hives

    >Is the observation hive noisy? I would think you would hear a hum (that's not noisy to me! )

    Some, yes. Less noise than the refrigerator...

    > I lived in an old farm house with a feral hive in the wall of the bedroom and it was wonderful...the hum was very relaxing.
    However,this will be in our livingroom and...

    Mine is in the livingroom...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,320

    Default Re: observation hives

    >Is 1 3/4" between the glass using a 1 1/4" frame or standard 1 3/8"?

    1 3/4" seems to work best as some combs are uneven. 1 1/4" does make for better viewing but makes it harder for the bees to keep the brood warm.

    >Is it harder to overwinter a single frame width?

    Not inside.

    >Is there more time spent manipulating frames, etc. to keep the hive operating?

    No.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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