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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    addison,maine,USA
    Posts
    114

    Default SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    I would like to contribute my experience to the often asked question: “Which is best a double-wide or a single-wide design for an Observation Hive”?
    I have had bees since I was a kid and I’m the creator of the Bonterra Bees Observation Hive models and I have had many hours observing ObHs. I‘ve come to know and love bees, however I should add, though disapointing, I’ve never had a two way conversation with one of them, although I've tried, and I must say they have often confounded my predictions and often proven me wrong, kinda like beekeepers.
    .
    That said, we offer both styles but we highly recommend double-wide hives.
    First: “How often will I be able to see the Queen in a DW, double-wide hive”? That is the contentious question I often hear.
    From our experience the Queen will be doing a couple of things in an ObH during all but the deepest, coldest “clustering” part of the winter season. She will be on the viewable outside of a double-wide frame design at least part time everyday. She will be laying eggs, looking for clean, empty cells and at the same time she will be circulating thru nearly the whole hive scouting and collecting Colony status.
    Second: The Queen’s activities are just some of the many fascinating, entertaining and educational bee activities to attract your attention, to watch and learn from. Don’t forget those lazy drones and the many faceted lives of the worker bees with their multitude of duties.
    Third: We believe a double-wide hive is a healthier hive with more frames, more condensed comb structures as in a feral hive, there’s less distance for those hard working little girls to have to hike around the Colony when doing their work, honey stores are closer to brood areas and, importantly, in our experience the double-wide hive will prove to require less beekeeper maintenance.
    Forth: We believe anything less than 6 deep frames is more of a temporary, display hive and it will stand a good chance of dying out and/or will take a lot of extra maintenance. We suggest a minimum of 6 frames. Configuring 6, 8 and 10 deep frames in a double-wide design makes a more manageable height for an ObH.

    Every beekeeper is different and it should be noted that each Colony is different and is an individual maintaining itself in its’ many different environments. We are just saying, in our experience with Observation Hives and with all things considered, we recommend double-wide designs.

    Mark
    Bonterra Bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,188

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    Mark, your website suggests that package bees are one option for installing bees in an OB hive. It would seem to me that adding populated comb frames would be the simplest, but perhaps you could offer some comments on installing a package into a new OH hive.




    Note that Bonterra Bees is a Beesource advertiser. See the ad to the right of the screen. Advertisers help keep Beesource free of subscription fees.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    Thanks Mark
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Washtenaw County, MI, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    I have a double-width, 10 frame observation hive, built pretty much from the plans in Caron's observation hive book.

    Other than wintertime- the queen is often spotted on the outside frame, brood is laid in normal patterns. Since she usually lays the eggs in batches a day or so apart, I see her making repeat trips pretty frequently and just cruising around checking for open cells.

    The glass I used is 1/4" which makes things heavier. Post-build, I have seen some people mention that using thicker glass may help with heat retention/ encourage egg-laying on the outermost frames, but I don't know how much evidence there is to back this up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    I've built a very successful OB hive, 3 mediums, 3 deeps, and can keep it running year round. I'm wondering about double wide as in end to end vs side to side. I think I've seen some like that. I'm considering it for the installation at a park. The location is heated and cooled, but not kept at 92. I also plan on using glass against the bees, but plexi on the side to the public.

    Any thoughts?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,746

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    I very well may be in the minority view here, but to me the purpose of an observation hive is to observe. Not observe some things. Not observe some things some times. But to really observe the bees. To me, you don't accomplish that goal with a double wide OBH.

    I would disagree on the size too. While you might need 6, 8, or 10 frames to make it throughout the year in Maine or NY, it's possible to do it in the south for less. I've made it a full year on three deep frames. That's the size I like. Smaller makes it harder for the bees to maintain a population (they swarm or abscond too easily), and larger makes it very heavy to move in and outside for maintenance.

    But again, I don't think that really matters. An OBH isn't meant to be a stand alone, self sufficient hive.

    If I wanted a self sufficient, stand alone hive that can make it throughout the year with little or no maintenance, and I got a chance to see some of the things the queen (or the bees) did some of the time (and at any one point in time I could observe less than 50% of what's happening) I'd put glass walls on a 5 frame nuc. Or better yet, just constantly open up a hive.

    If you really want to observe, truly observe, the only way to do that is in a single walled OBH. That's my two cents though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,316

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    I have been considering purchasing a 10 frame double wide observation hive. Ideally I would keep it outside on the patio as I would like to be seeing what is happening in my outdoor hives. Can one keep such a hive going year round?

    Also I would like to know how much maintenance such a hive entails. The likelihood of my being able to move such a behemoth is next to zero. Thus I need to keep it outdoors or not need to open it very often.

    What is the reality of keeping such a hive? I do have several outdoor hives.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    north stonington ct usa
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: SINGLE-WIDE vs. DOUBLE-WIDE ObH

    for temp regulating i was wondering how a couple of pains of double insulated glass like the ones found in your home would work has anyone tried this you can buy replacement pains relatively cheap and just about any size you want and if your putting plexiglass on the outside anyways probably doesnt need to be laminated

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