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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    new era, michigan usa
    Posts
    4

    Default building an ob for our farm market

    Hi all built an observation hive last year for our farm market. Built its own enclosure 4' wide 7' high and 40" deep. it has swing open sides which when open allows viewing of the hives and then the sides act as additional roof to prevent any direct sunlight. We built 2 seperate hives each is 3 frames single wide. The exit for the bees is at the bottom on the side. They have to go 12" horizontally then 7' up through a 1 1/2" pvc tube. it was important for the inlet to be high so that children wouldn't be bothered by the entrance. It appeared to work good last summer with them coming and going. Our bee keeper started the hives in may. After 2 weeks we started seeing some dead soldiers beeing removed. My beekeeper felt it was from beeing to cold. It was a very cold may. We added heat lamps to try and help maintain hive temp. Also every night we would close the exterior doors to try and help with the cold. Then when june rolled around the temp turned very hot for michigan up in the 90s. by the end of june one hive left. leaving only a few soldiers behind. Approx 1 week later the second hive left. People really enjoyed what we had until they took off. Then in October one warm day both hives were swarming with activity inside the cases and out then they were gone. it appeared they came and took any remaining food for the winter. My question how to improve for next year. i was wondering about building new hives but this time making them double wides but doing everything else the same. Wanted to know how much time they will be spending between the frames vs out where they can be observed in the sw that we had this year? Thought this may allow them to maintain hive temps better in the cold springs. Question #2 has anyone tried using double pain insulated glass like in your house instead of single pane glass? I thought that may keep the cold from radiating thru to the bees so much. Then maybe we could stay with a sw setup for more viewing. Sorry for the novel trying to give as much detail as possible. Please let me know any and all advice. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,707

    Default Re: building an ob for our farm market

    It sounds as though that your observation hive is either outdoors, or in a building that that is not heated or cooled (except by Mother Nature ). Is that correct?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    new era, michigan usa
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: building an ob for our farm market

    Correct, the building was built specifically for the observation hives. No heating or cooling. Here in michigan in the spring when we are starting the ob hive in may were looking at temps in the 40's for lows and anywhere from 60's to 70's for highs. Last year we had highs in the 50's and lows in the 30's for a long period in may. Although when our beekeeper is bringing in hives we may see some morning lows in the upper 20's for several mornings. usually in the 30's to low 40's.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,771

    Default Re: building an ob for our farm market

    If I understand your situation correctly, you had a single wide OB hive that swarmed then late in the year absconded, right? No offense, but it sounds like you are just getting started with bees, so my first suggestion is to find a local experienced beekeeper to help with your local conditions and assist with any issues you have throughout the season.

    A single frame width OB is nice because visitors can always locate the queen. However, they are also terribly hard to manage, particularly in the Fall when they will almost always abscond due to the lack of clustering space. I'm pretty certain that your bees absconded in October because they could not cluster in your hives. Swarming is also an issue with OB hives since space is so limited. It will be very difficult to keep an OB hive alive outside in Northern MI, and forget about even trying a single frame width hive. You'd have much more success if you attempt to run it as a seasonal display, with larger full sized colonies to support the OB hive, to both receive and donate resource as needed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,771

    Default Re: building an ob for our farm market

    Sorry, I posted my response before I saw post #3.

    Also, see: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm

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