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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Gonzales, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    171

    Default Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    I just recently finished building my observation hive, I went ahead and built panels to cover the windows to keep the light out for whenever it wasn't in use. In my general reading and research, I got the impression that was universally accepted and Standard operating procedure.

    However, I stumbled across this quote in a Research paper titled "The permanent observation hive"...

    "Incidentally, I note that in the 30 years that I have managed observation hives, I have always kept them in
    a lighted room, either from a window or artificial light from a bulb, always shielding them from direct
    sunlight. I have never seen any evidence that exposure to light stops the hive from functioning normally.
    It is true that bees are extremely phototropic, and that if you suddenly raise a window shade they will all,
    in one collective movement, move towards the source of light. But, after a while, once the source is a
    constant part of their environment, they will soon resume normal behavior."


    Here's a link to the full article, the above quote is from page 11. http://www.classroomhives.org/wp-con...eff-Murray.pdf

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    In my very limited experience (see below), you can leave the cover off if the hive isn't baking in direct sun and the bees will function fairly normally. My hive did have some propolis blobs building up on the walls and I covered for awhile thinking that they would just cover the wall with propolis if I didn't, but then I just stopped and left it 100% uncovered and the propolis never really became more than a few blobs here and there.

    Regarding my experience: it's with an all-acrylic, full sized warre-style hive where the bees can move between eight layers of comb, so management/bee behavior may be a bit different, depending on how big and wide your hive is.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    If you leave the cover off for about an hour they will start running on the glass. Eventually they will give it up, but it takes quite a while. My take is that the light stresses them, but they will eventually stop freaking out about it... I've seen many observation hives in nature centers and museums that were open all the time. We do some at the state fair every year that are open to the light all day every day. They also run on the glass sometimes (but they are also confined). Usually some pollen snaps them out of that...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,389

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    For those of you who have purchased upright observation hives..not the box with a view window above...which product did you purchase? Are you happy with it? Is it a huge amount of work compared to a standard hive?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    I have a Draper that is on a lazy susan. Tempered glass. I reworked it to take four mediums and a homemade glass frame feeder. I also added glass on the inside of one side because it was 2 1/4" between the glass. It needs to be between 1 3/4" and 1 7/8" between the glass. I have 2 Van Frisch from Brushy Mt. I added a 1/4" screen mold behind the hinges and a couple of short piece of it behind the door for a stop so I could increase the space between the glass form 1 1/2" to 1 3/4". The 1 1/2" works if the bees build their own comb in the hive, but it doesn't work when you pull comb out of an established hive. Any anomaly in the thickness of the comb creates problems at 1 1/2", and there are always anomalies...

    I have a Tew (from Brushy Mt.), but it's mainly for taking somewhere and then bringing them back and putting them back in their real hive. I converted it to have a tube so I could have it free flying, but the bees never thrived in it. It was also 1 1/2" and needed to be expanded.

    I have two of the Ulster's. One deep from Brushy Mt. and one medium, I think I bought it from Honey Run Apiaries, but I don't think they have them now. They are nice for taking bees somewhere to show, but not really a free flying observation hive.

    Observations hives are not so much more work, as they require more tweaking. They don't have much room and they tend to boom or bust. Sometimes you have to set them back because they are prospering too much and sometimes you have to boost them because they have dwindled, especially in late winter.

    I highly recommend having one in your living room. You will learn SO much about bees in even one day of watching them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    995

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    Thanks MB, now the million dollar question, if you were only going to have one in your living room as you suggest, which would be your choice?
    20 hives, 10 years, T and TF, All local stock

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Necessity to cover viewing windows???

    There are a lot of observation hives out there that I've never tried... All the ones I have I've had to rework to some degree or another. The one I usually have in my living room is a Draper that had too much space between the glass so I reduced the space with an extra piece of glass on the inside. It took two deeps and two shallows. I converted it to four mediums and a glass frame feeder (so I can see when it's full or empty). I added a bit of ventilation. One hole over the frame feeder so I can fill it. Another to the side with #7 hardware cloth on it so I can feed pollen. It has a lazy susan on the bottom so it will rotate. Nice when you're sitting on the couch and want to look at the queen who might be on the other side. It has tempered glass which is easy to clean with a razor. The other one that I have had in the house is a Brushy Mountain Van Frisch (I don't know if they still make them or not, as I haven't seen them in the catalog in recent times). It had too little space between the plexiglass so I had to add 1/4" space. The plexiglass is trickier to clean without scratching but a rubber spatula and FGMO works pretty well. I have not had a Bonterra (I see the ad on my right) but they look nice enough. I have not had one that I didn't have to rework. I typically have to add something to keep the frames from sliding over against the glass when hauling it in and out of the house to work it. I also have an Ulster hive in both medium and deep but have not kept them in the house, just used them for demos. I tried to set up a Brushy Mountain "Tew" hive for a free flying observation hive, but they never really thrived. But it has worked well for demonstrations. I recut the grooves in the side so I can put a Dadant deep frame in it, or a deep frame or a medium frame (the notch for the medium frame is a little lower so you can see more of the frame).

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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