As soon as someone tells me what's up with uploading pictures and video I have some cool things to post.
Here's the text for now:
I don't have a colony, but I have a hive and hope for a swarm. The hive plans were hard to get, so I used the principles in the drawings I found on the internet and built the hive you see in the post. There are special things I did because of the Texas heat, even though it will be in the shade most of the day.
As I made my top bars, entrances, roof and vents I kept in mind the chimney effect used on homes with eave vents. The top bars toward the back (where the flowers are) have 1/8" space between them to allow ventilation. I did this by stapling popsicle sticks to the sides and then removed the wood. Then I placed a 1" hole high in the attic so it will pull air into the three entrances because hot air rises. I have three entrances, all at floor level. The front entrance (where my daughter-in-law painted the pyramid hive) has a landing pad. The entrance slot was angled because I couldn't find the best SIZE for an entrance. I did a landing space because I read they prefer it and I wanted a place for an entrance feeder. Later I added the limiter for a 3/8" hight down to 1/4". Just today I added two entrances on the side where the roof is hinged. I used a frame from a window screen to limit the side openings to 3/8" high. They are at floor level so dead bees can be pushed out easily and the bees will enter at an upward angle. The chains keep the roof in place when it's open. This way, when I'm working the hive I have a lot between me and the bees. The roof is covered with self-adhesive, reflective roof flashing.
By the way, I built the whole thing of aspen plywood mostly because I just like how it looks, works and weathers. My budget was $50, top bars and all. The top-bars are red oak with a strip of aspen. The handles I put on the top bars are just big fence staples, but you can't pull them out and they are easy to hold with gloves. I also plan to make a rack and these would make it easy to hang the bars over a tray I plan to use. I'm CHEAP!. I got my brother to buy my jacket and hood with promise he would be paid back with 2 lbs. of honey. My sister bought my smoker and jar-type entrance feeder for the same deal.
You probably noted there is no window on the side. There won't be. On eBay I found a $22 (postage paid) borescope that works with my netbook. Note: I already had a CD drive to load the software. The way my entrances are set up, I will be able to put the borescope on a stiff wire with a bend at the end and view any part of the hive. This hasn't been tested with bees, but it works GREAT. It's my theory that the bees will be less disturbed by the 4 LED lights from the borescope (which can be dimmed) than having the whole side of the hive opened to the sun. I hope to post videos.
SO!, What do you think? Can you help me with photo upload?