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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Gonzales, Louisiana, USA

    Default Construction advice needed...

    Going into my second year as a Beek, I'm thinking it's time to get around to making an observation hive. This is something that's been on my Beekeeping "to do" list. Personally, I could put it off a little longer, but my wife has been itching for it, plus I think it would aid me in learning more about the girls.

    After much though and research, and realizing that my woodworking skills are average at best, I've decided on the 8 frame medium detailed at Honey Run Apiaries.

    LINK to PDF of Plans

    My question is, and what I'm debating....Is it really necessary to build the outer frame with 2X4's? He does refer to the construction being "heavy duty" to be dog, cat, and child proof....NONE of which I have.

    I'm thinking 1X4's would make it a lot less bulky looking, not to mention a bit lighter...but just want to make sure it's still structurally sound.

    Also, I'm toying with the idea of leaving off the jar feeder, since I'm trying not to feed unless absolutely an emergency I'd simply insert a frame of honey instead.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Redlands, CA USA

    Default Re: Construction advice needed...

    I built one last year with standard 3/4 inch oak scraps which were littering my workshop. Plenty strong enough using biscuits, deck screws and tightbond III glue. I used 8 frames, 4 high by 2 deep, with acrylic faces on either side. Free standing on a 1x6" plywood base. Installed four frames from a nuc. After about 6 months, the bees are still going strong, but have very little honey stored due to our prolonged drought in Southern California. I would recommend having some way to supply syrup. Not so easy to add a frame of honey!

    On mine, a feeder port was built to the base and I have used 1:1 syrup about 25% of the time, based on the amount of nectar and honey observed. I haven't yet taken it apart to clean the acrylic--make sure the observation glass is a bit tighter to the frames than is suggested in most of the plans to avoid wax formation. I'll have to break it down soon, since the top board is cupping badly due to the moisture from the hive, though the bees don't seem too interested in leaving through the gaps. Next time I'll seal the wood with more coats of linseed oil.

    Trying to be prepared for the flow this time...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Blacksburg, VA

    Default Re: Construction advice needed...

    You'll find that it is much easier to have the feeder in place when you need it, rather than take the hive outside and disassemble it to add a honey frame. Also if you take the observ hive somewhere they cannot forage, you can feed them during the interim.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Columbia, Missouri, usa

    Default Re: Construction advice needed...

    Follow this good info. You will need a feeder. Remember, when you take the hive outdoors to add that honey frame - all those young bees that crawl out of the hive have never flown yet. How will they get back in? I have had my bees make a 18 inch long "bee chain" ladder too allow the young to crawl up to entrance. awsome!! Wish we still had the pictures.
    12 hives - 7 years (also had 7 hives in early 1970's) T as needed - zone 6


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