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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Looks good. The warre I supered this year still swarmed after drawing out two supers of comb and filling it with honey. Both supers are capped and they are now drawing and filling a cut comb super I put on after the swarms--took about four weeks after the swarms before they started working it but are working fast now.

    This time last year we were already in a dearth. With all this rain we may even have a good fall flow this year. Was going to harvest now but they are still bringing stuff in. Won't be long before the asters and golden rod starts to bloom.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Willow Springs, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    This is very cool! Thank you for sharing the experience with us. I wish my wife would let me try an observation hive like this one, she hates the idea of having bees in the house.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    This time last year we were already in a dearth. With all this rain we may even have a good fall flow this year. Was going to harvest now but they are still bringing stuff in. Won't be long before the asters and golden rod starts to bloom.
    I see lots of goldenrod coming into bloom now. The hive has eaten all their nectar and even uncapped a bit of honey last week, but they seem to be keeping pace. Lots of yellow-brownish pollen (clover?) and even some bright orange (goldenrod?) coming in today.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach K. View Post
    This is very cool! Thank you for sharing the experience with us. I wish my wife would let me try an observation hive like this one, she hates the idea of having bees in the house.
    One of the big reasons I wanted to do this was so that my family would "get" what I was going on about when I'd come back all amazed and starry-eyed about the latest cool thing the bees had done. And they really have enjoyed watching the bees without all the hot and bother of going out to the beeyard. We've had visitors who just hang out in the bee room and forget to join the party, they're so entranced by the hive... I hope you can convince your wife to try it out one day!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    So, I see some people posting about the great drone kick-out. Ours was a couple of days ago. Here is the entrance tube two days ago, jammed full of reluctant drones...

    drones blocking entry tube.jpg

    A close up (worker bees are barely getting through the top part of the tube):

    drones in entry tube close-up.jpg


    And one of the few remaining in the hive, getting bitten and tugged and chased about. I see only a couple drones in and around the hive today. Lots of dead drones outside. Bees have eaten all the stored nectar and had just started into capped honey stores when the drones got the boot. They are still bringing in a lot of pollen and raising brood. I don't think that we're in a complete dearth due to our unusually cool and rainy summer, but there's a lack of abundant flow this past week:

    harrassed drone on empty honeycomb.jpg

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    957

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Do you have plans for this hive or can you tell us where you got your acrylic ?

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Central BC, Canada
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Oh. My. Think I know what we'll be building this winter.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Do you have plans for this hive or can you tell us where you got your acrylic ?
    I do not have any plans, sorry... we kind of of figured it out as we went along. I used warre dimensions for the inside of the boxes and worked out from there. It will depend a lot on the thickness of the plastic that you work with. The exit at the bottom is the dust collector attachment from an old router that's been melted a bit to get the shape we want (just to give you an idea of our operation!).

    I ordered .25" thick clear cast acrylic from a company called Professional Plastics. I had them cut pieces to size and then my husband helped me cut the rebates out on the table saw. Cast acrylic is wicked expensive, just to warn you, but we didn't have lots if experience working with acrylic and the cast type is supposed to be easier to work with and last longer, etc.

    The base and lid are plywood framed with walnut. The lid has a screen built in so that I can feed if necessary (also ventilates).

    I ordered the exit tube from McMaster Carr. Get a little extra tubing because the tube is pretty stained from all the pollen: I'm planning to replace it with new (or try to clean it) once the bees go into cluster this winter.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Margo View Post
    I see lots of goldenrod coming into bloom now. The hive has eaten all their nectar and even uncapped a bit of honey last week, but they seem to be keeping pace. Lots of yellow-brownish pollen (clover?) and even some bright orange (goldenrod?) coming in today.
    Yeah, I took the top honey boxes off my warre last week when the foraging really slowed down (left one box for them to use during the dearth). Left it on my langs as the outside frames were not capped--will probably pull the capped frames this week-end when I fire up my new maxant extractor.

    No golden rod here yet but if you are seeing buds then I'm not far off. From my notes last year the golden rod was blooming around 20 Aug. This is the first summer since I moved here that I haven't needed to water the garden so if we are ever going to have a strong fall flow then this year will be the year.

    We'll have to stay in touch. I am probably moving to Thailand next fall for three years and will need a responsible party to watch over the bees--if you'd be interested (currently the warre, one deep lang, one medium lang, and a medium nuc). You can e-mail me offline at jeffrey.w.clark1.mil@mail.mil Hopefully they all survive the winter--it's feeling like it might be a cold one.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    I notice that Home Depot has 8x10 glass or Lexan. Lexan is tough. If you used 2x2 corners, slipping a 10" piece into a groove and siliconing it in place might offer an idea how to do this, cheaper. Glass ~ $1, Lexan ~$3. That's $12 per box. Some wood cost savings. Or just make the rear wall, a larger window... maybe dbl-glazed. (...which I did, dbl-glazing.) 8" tall is about right, as well. No cuts to do. (I cut mine w a table saw, having gone to a shorter box, by the time I got to doing windows.) <Bill*SF*9c - San Francisco area>

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    An update on how this hive has done over the winter. As background, it sent out a small swarm in early September - I caught the swarm, with queen, and re-hived it outside. Then I left town for 10 days. I don't know if the observation hive has a viable queen in it - there were still some drones around when it swarmed, and I saw no laying worker behavior when I returned. They may have a brood nest in the center - I can't tell in this kind of hive. I thought about trying to requeen them, but then I thought, "Eh, let's see what happens." Population is currently less than there was in the fall, but not miserably small, either - they're loosely filling two boxes. I keep thinking I see young-looking bees, but I'm just not sure. Could all the bees now in the hive have lived since early September? Keeping in mind that September had a big flow on and they were pretty active until November?

    Other than the unknown queen situation, the hive has been pretty uneventful. I reduced the entrance to the hive for the winter. I have left it uncovered. The observation hive bees are definitely more active than the outside hives and go out on sunny 40 degree days - the outside hives generally get out and about on sunny afternoons when it hits the upper 40's (except for my white langstroth - they need the temps to get into the mid-50's). The observation hive has not tightly clustered except for very cold days.
    Despite the swarm, I have not needed to feed or do anything, really - I can still see some capped honey from the sides. It gives me some reassurance that the outside hives still have stores.
    The bottom has stayed pretty clean - not as polished clean as in the summer; there are some dead mites and wax bits, but they clean the dead bees out pretty quickly. There just haven't been that many dead bees.
    There has been no condensation at all since temps dropped in the fall. The bees did propolise the top vent down to 2" circular hole: here's a picture:

    propolized-top-vent-copy.jpg

    Some day soon I want to clean the entrance tube, which is pretty pollen-stained, but other than that, I'm planning to wait until there's honey to collect before messing with this hive again. Unless they're queenless!

    As a side note, I do think there are cheaper ways to make this hive - some wood walls instead of all acrylic might be one way. I'm not sure if that would complicate construction. And I'm not sure if the bees would chew silicone - they chewed out and removed all the rubber bands in the hive and also chewed out and removed the mesh face to a queen cage I put in there last summer.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Margo View Post
    An update on how this hive has done over the winter. As background, it sent out a small swarm in early September - I caught the swarm, with queen, and re-hived it outside. Then I left town for 10 days. I don't know if the observation hive has a viable queen in it - there were still some drones around when it swarmed, and I saw no laying worker behavior when I returned. They may have a brood nest in the center - I can't tell in this kind of hive. I thought about trying to requeen them, but then I thought, "Eh, let's see what happens." Population is currently less than there was in the fall, but not miserably small, either - they're loosely filling two boxes. I keep thinking I see young-looking bees, but I'm just not sure. Could all the bees now in the hive have lived since early September? Keeping in mind that September had a big flow on and they were pretty active until November?

    Other than the unknown queen situation, the hive has been pretty uneventful. I reduced the entrance to the hive for the winter. I have left it uncovered. The observation hive bees are definitely more active than the outside hives and go out on sunny 40 degree days - the outside hives generally get out and about on sunny afternoons when it hits the upper 40's (except for my white langstroth - they need the temps to get into the mid-50's). The observation hive has not tightly clustered except for very cold days.
    Despite the swarm, I have not needed to feed or do anything, really - I can still see some capped honey from the sides. It gives me some reassurance that the outside hives still have stores.
    The bottom has stayed pretty clean - not as polished clean as in the summer; there are some dead mites and wax bits, but they clean the dead bees out pretty quickly. There just haven't been that many dead bees.
    There has been no condensation at all since temps dropped in the fall. The bees did propolise the top vent down to 2" circular hole: here's a picture:

    propolized-top-vent-copy.jpg

    Some day soon I want to clean the entrance tube, which is pretty pollen-stained, but other than that, I'm planning to wait until there's honey to collect before messing with this hive again. Unless they're queenless!

    As a side note, I do think there are cheaper ways to make this hive - some wood walls instead of all acrylic might be one way. I'm not sure if that would complicate construction. And I'm not sure if the bees would chew silicone - they chewed out and removed all the rubber bands in the hive and also chewed out and removed the mesh face to a queen cage I put in there last summer.
    Hi Margo, great ob hive! Keep posting your progress….it is so interesting, I would love to have one myself, but need to have a few more years under my belt….I just bought an Ulster Ob Hive from Brushy Mtn. and can't wait to use it for the kids….thanks for posting all this info and keeping us updated.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,191

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Curious as to it has been with this hive over the winter. Have you treated it all?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    Curious as to it has been with this hive over the winter. Have you treated it all?
    I've done zero treatment. No chemical treatments, no natural alternative treatments, no strategic herb plantings, nothing special in the smoker... nothing. Last summer I requeened all my hives, including this one, with VPQueens granddaughters... they're supposed to be VSH. Time will tell, but so far all my hives are alive. In the past, I've tried doing no treatments with regular Georgia-Italian packages and none survived the first winter. But I messed with them a lot, too. This bunch I've left more alone. I can see little mite bodies on the floor of this hive sometimes... in the summer, they clean the hive floor perfectly, but the bees seem to leave things a tad messier in the winter.

    Observation hive bees are flying today. They do still have honey. Outside hives are quiet. I saw a little bit of a pale yellow pollen on their legs during a brief warm spell at the end of February, but it got snowy and cold again. But things are supposed to warm up!

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Hi Margo, great ob hive! Keep posting your progress….it is so interesting, I would love to have one myself, but need to have a few more years under my belt….I just bought an Ulster Ob Hive from Brushy Mtn. and can't wait to use it for the kids….thanks for posting all this info and keeping us updated.
    Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful experience with yours... my kids really do enjoy it.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Lots of activity in this hive (and outside hives) yesterday and probably today... and here's a picture of the hive this morning. You're looking at the two upper boxes from the rear side of the hive. The third, lower box is pretty much empty. I thought the bees had all left because they've been loosely filling both these boxes most of the time, but I think they're all just tightly gathered in the upper box. Bees sure can compress! I hope it's because there's some brood in there. Temps yesterday were in the upper 50's and there was a bit of pollen coming in.

    clustered-bees-in-March.jpg

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Some more pictures of the hive now... the hive has suddenly taken on a faint warm honey-hive scent. We had temperatures in the upper 60's for a couple days.

    Some early nectar in the upper box:

    first-spring-nectar.jpg

    The hive floor in March... this is the messiest it has been all year:

    hive-floor-in-March.jpg

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this. I read it from the beginning and was excited to follow the progress and find out what happened in the winter.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    Thanks. There's surely a queen in there as they're still going strong, gaining population and just to make me extra happy I just saw some capped worker brood.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: My full size warre style observation hive

    I see the bees festooning for the first time this year. Also, I changed the entrance tube. Details and photos below for those who are interested in construction.

    Bees just starting to festoon in the lowest box:

    festooning.jpg


    On a cold morning last week while the bees were in cluster we unscrewed the entrance tube from the window board and pulled it off the hive:

    entrance-tube.jpg

    I put a tissue and a sock over the hive entrance:

    socks-in-open-tube.jpg

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