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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
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    138

    Default An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    I have a vision, now I need to see if people think it's feasible.

    Here's how I came about to this point. I was thinking about building an observation hive, sometime in the distant future, to go in a store that doesn't exist yet. While I do like the frame ob hives, I thought, "Wouldn't it be a great showpiece to have a large, natural hive." We've all seen the pics of 5' hanging combs in neat stacks in open, feral colonies. Some of them being so large that they must have been thriving there for years. My idea is to get that type structure under glass.

    Hence, I come to this forum. I'm hoping that a TBH type set-up would work to get them started, Essentially building a large (24-30" square or rectangular,) glass walled box, from counter-height to ceiling, with starter strips on the top end.

    Any thoughts on where this can all go horribly wrong? I'm going to need to rely on the girls building lots of comb straight down. The whole thing will need to be accessible and removable, of course. As I'm a mechanical designer by trade, I always have ACAD running and I usually doodle designs of things, so before I started playing with creating a design layout, I thought I'd get some input.

  2. #2

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    If you're wanting to do a long hive (counter to ceiling) I think it would be nearly impossible to have it be removable/accessible. My TBH's have a viewing window, but what about doing an entire TBH out of plexiglass? What about a thin metal skeleton, coated with glass that could be removed while still keeping the hive intact?

    I would just be sure to use plexiglass or something shatterproof. Last thing you would want in your imaginary store would be an imaginary disaster where someone knocks something into a glass beehive and unleashes chaos.

    Here is another thought. If you want it to be BIG, how about you do a section of the wall where it is like a natural wall cavity (6-8" thick). Make the inside glass, so people in the store could see. Make the outside like a door, where if needed you could simply open the door and access the entire hive. You risk brace comb ripping loose, but it wouldn't be enough to collapse the combs. Plus, like this, when you do have to work the hive, you would access it from outdoors, so you wouldn't have to worry about bees flying through the store. Making the cavity long, narrow, and tall would enhance the construction of long impressive combs since they would quickly need to build down.

    I like where you are going with this. It will be neat to see what you come up with. Good luck.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
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    138

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Hey... If you're gonna dream, dream big!

    I see what you're saying, How controllable can I get with directing comb building? With your idea, I'm thinking deeper joists (12-18" in the hive,) and letting them run through 4-5 wall sections. It would be nice to get them to build one section 90 deg to the other, brace comb aside. Sadly, if I go that route there is little for me to design (I like designing things,) until I get my hands on my imaginary property to build my imaginary store. Best estimate before I can sell my company and "retire" is 5-7 years.... I really do like thinking ahead!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
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    67

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    When it happens I hope you will take tons of pictures and post them for us to see. It would be cool to see a weekly up date of their progress.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Whitehouse, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Hi,
    just Google observation hive and found this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42642055@N00/1343617277/ pretty cool.

    Hope it helps for the dream.

    ch.cool

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    two problems with Obs hive to remember:
    1. If the comb is more than one comb thick, the queen will almost always be hidden in the middle. Not a big problem if the goal is only to have the novelty of a working hive that is visible.

    2. the glass/plexiglass in obs. hives gets continually dirty by the bees walking around and coating it with propolis and wax. So, for a continually operating obs hive, there needs to be a way to remove and clean the glass periodically.

    If the hive were built into a wall -great idea by the way - set up a system so you can slide a knife between the door and the combs before you open it. (they use a piece of wire pulled tight in Japan and in Warre type hives). That would help eliminate the problems with ripping up combs when the door was opened. Anyone who has worked TBHs or natural comb will tell you that they are fragile and will easily be pulled askew when adjacent surfaces are moved and the burr comb attachments pull the combs sideways.

    this is cool. Please send us pictures

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Ch... Nice find, that's along the lines of what I was originally thinking. Of course, now you guys got me thinking about the wall idea.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    283

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Bernhiem Forest here in Kentucky had and may still have an observation hive in their visitor center that was designed so that it is able to be slid in and out of a log. The log was hollowed out to accommodate the observation hive. and can be viewed from the side. It is basically a TBH designed to fit in the log so that it looked very natural
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Johnson County, NE USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Instead of counter to ceiling, could you just make the counter a sort of large, glass, oversized top bar hive? Then you could just live the counter top to get inside when necessary? Just a random thought.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by TokerM View Post
    Hey... If you're gonna dream, dream big!

    I see what you're saying, How controllable can I get with directing comb building? With your idea, I'm thinking deeper joists (12-18" in the hive,) and letting them run through 4-5 wall sections. It would be nice to get them to build one section 90 deg to the other, brace comb aside. Sadly, if I go that route there is little for me to design (I like designing things,) until I get my hands on my imaginary property to build my imaginary store. Best estimate before I can sell my company and "retire" is 5-7 years.... I really do like thinking ahead!
    I wish you well and hope your dreams come true. Planning ahead for retirement is such a good idea it should be mandatory. Why?? You ask. Well sit around for awhile with nothing to do. The first few weeks it may be ok. But then you get ichting to do something (other then be on beesource 24/7. Take it from me, I was retired on disability. I knew what I wanted to do and soon learned I could do some of the things I had planned on.
    As for your Natural Observation Hive. I have no suggestions, but I would love to see it. Good Luck.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,538

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Look in "Perone hive" - it is sort of cube with slotted lid instead movable frames. Good luck, Sergey

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Worcester, MA, USA
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    seems like a warre hive would be what you want. In fact here's one made of plexi (scan down near the bottom): http://warre.biobees.com

    You could make this go from floor to ceiling pretty easily.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Falls Church, Va
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    TokerM

    It's doable but I'd be concerned about the weight of the comb. I simply stuck with the size of my other TBHs. My comb are about 15x10x10 and they can weigh a little over 5 lbs. If you decide to go big I'd include some sort of center support that extends at least to the middle of the comb.

    obshive web.jpgobshive2 web.jpg

    A couple of things I learned about mine. The tubes eliminate the need for robber screens. During the winter mine needs lots of cooling. I simply open the windows and build a duct system from the window to the glass walls.

    Stuart

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Go to crlaurence.com
    There you will find all kind of glass related items.
    Look at display cases. Like at the department store.
    They will have extrusions with gaskets that you can cut and assemble to whatever shape you like. Then use 1/4" thick glass for infill.(or plexi)
    They will also have integrated hinges/latches/corner brackets etc..
    The only thing that would suck is they would probably end up anchoring the comb down the vertical wall, possibly obstructing your view.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    This thread might help. I think a large observation hive is a great idea.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ervation+hives

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Stuart, I like your clear hive. It is very nice. Do you keep something over it to keep it dark when you are not looking at it? I was under the impression that sunlight would effect the brood and larvae and that they need darkness and that is why they seal out the light with propolis but i'm not positive on that. Maybe one day I'll try one of these You all have me inspired

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Falls Church, Va
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: An odd thought about a natural observation hive.

    Virginiawolf,

    No, I don't cover the top or the sides. Despite what you read, mine don't seem to mind. Since it's really just a top bar hive, there's plenty of darkness between the combs. The drawback is that you don't get to see the queen very often or the brood.

    I only keep a small piece of foam insulation, as a shade, on the back/end of the hive. The back/end faces a southerly window and they seem to be distracted by it on bright mornings. They simply walk around a lot, like they’re looking for the exit. I do often remove the shade because it's a cool view of the comb.

    Stuart

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