Observation hive question
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  1. #1
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    Default Observation hive question

    Hi all I just built a med over 2 so hive. Same one as in the free plans section. Put in 2 frames and an empty med but the 2 frames but they were thight up to the glass where the capped honey is. Will they be able to clean this up and chew back the high spots or is it not going to work out? What's my options. I could Un cap it i guess and put it back..

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Athens, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    They will uncap it over time and take it back just enough away from the glass. One risk is a buildup of SHB while they can't get to it.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    I agree with Brushwoodnursery. If the population of the OH is enough, they'll chew the cappings away and maintain the bee space. From here its a race between the bees and the SHB. If the bees make it, all is good. If the SHB get to it before the bees do, all may be lost.

    You should have sufficient time to sit back and watch. In a few days check to see if you have any SHB issues. Recheck every day to few days. If you end up having problems, switch it out with a thinner capped frame, or uncap and put it back (probably not the preferred route).

    Because its an OH, this gives you a great opportunity to observe the process.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Leave the covers off till the bees fix it. they will work in the light but the SHB don't like the light.
    I leave mine uncovered most of the time so as not to change the environment on them all the time.
    Zone 6b 1400'

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I agree with Brushwoodnursery. If the population of the OH is enough, they'll chew the cappings away and maintain the bee space. From here its a race between the bees and the SHB. If the bees make it, all is good. If the SHB get to it before the bees do, all may be lost.

    You should have sufficient time to sit back and watch. In a few days check to see if you have any SHB issues. Recheck every day to few days. If you end up having problems, switch it out with a thinner capped frame, or uncap and put it back (probably not the preferred route).

    Because its an OH, this gives you a great opportunity to observe the process.

    Well it appears that they have laid some eggs in one corner. Can i scrape that portion and larva out or am I pretty much smoked? The issue i have is they have all their resources on this frame and eggs and brood so taking it out to freeze will most likely doom them. I don't know if they will be strong enough to remove and replace everything intime. Will they be able to survive the winter better so its less of a worry?

    Also do you shut down the exit at night or when its cold?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by Boardrida20 View Post
    Well it appears that they have laid some eggs in one corner. Can i scrape that portion and larva out or am I pretty much smoked?
    You can. I don't know if it'll be enough, but I'd give it a shot.

    When you scrape that portion out, uncap the part that's giving you a problem with an uncapping fork, or if you don't have one a regular fork. Get it down to size and hope for the best. Watch it for the next few days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boardrida20 View Post
    Also do you shut down the exit at night or when its cold?
    No. They'll regulate their temp just fine, provided your ventilation is right.

  8. #7
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    Sep 2016
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    NY
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    You can. I don't know if it'll be enough, but I'd give it a shot.

    When you scrape that portion out, uncap the part that's giving you a problem with an uncapping fork, or if you don't have one a regular fork. Get it down to size and hope for the best. Watch it for the next few days.



    No. They'll regulate their temp just fine, provided your ventilation is right.
    Thanks for the response! I haven't had to deal with them in a situation like this so its going to be a learning curve.

    When I take the OH out side to work it whats the best procedure as I'll be disturbing the brood nest with all the bees. I'm planning on catching the qn to keep her safe then pulling frame and doing what i need to do. Do you then replace and close back up and install back or do you leave the hive window cracked so they can return?20171002_082150.jpg

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Observation hives, particularly ones that are less than 8 frames, are an oddity in management practices. Too many bees and they will swarm. Too few and they'll peter out. Finding that sweet spot is a little difficult, as they can quickly get away from you (either increase or decrease in population) within a matter of weeks. Having a fully established colony to rob brood from, or add brood to, helps.

    That having been said, I'll mention this because I see it from the photo, that hive looks underpopulated for this time of year. If you have a second frame of brood to add to it, I would. If not, if you can add some nurse bees (shaking probably two frames worth should do the trick, maybe less) I'd do that instead. If not, you can sit back and watch. Although I'm not sure they'll make it through winter. The glass (or plastic) of an observation hive window will suck some of the heat away from the brood nest, especially in a single frame deep OH, which makes population size important in fall through early spring.

    Anyway, to answer your original question, close the entrance of the OH (if you have to, stuff a sock in both ends). If you can, close it near the OH and near the window. Cary the OH outside, right outside the window where the entrance is, open up the OH and move all the frames that you won't be working on to a 5 frame nuc sitting on the ground. If the queen is on the frame you need to work, gently move her to the other frame (no need to cage her, in my opinion, but you can if it makes you more comfortable). Shake off all the bees into the nuc box from the frame you want to work. Do what you need to do on the frame, then when you're ready put the frame you worked back into the nuc box and let it sit for about 10 min (so the bees, and probably queen, can make it back onto the frame you worked). Open the OH as wide as you can, put the frames back in and shake out any stragglers from the nuc box. Give them a few min, then coral the stragglers in using your smoker. Close up the hive, move it inside, and open the entrance. The nurse bees that can't fly should have stayed on the frame of brood, or been shaken in from the nuc. The rest can fly, so will make it to their entrance which was only feet away from where you worked it.

    Don't forget to close off the entrance when you do this. Don't ask me how I know

  10. #9
    Join Date
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    NY
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Observation hives, particularly ones that are less than 8 frames, are an oddity in management practices. Too many bees and they will swarm. Too few and they'll peter out. Finding that sweet spot is a little difficult, as they can quickly get away from you (either increase or decrease in population) within a matter of weeks. Having a fully established colony to rob brood from, or add brood to, helps.

    That having been said, I'll mention this because I see it from the photo, that hive looks underpopulated for this time of year. If you have a second frame of brood to add to it, I would. If not, if you can add some nurse bees (shaking probably two frames worth should do the trick, maybe less) I'd do that instead. If not, you can sit back and watch. Although I'm not sure they'll make it through winter. The glass (or plastic) of an observation hive window will suck some of the heat away from the brood nest, especially in a single frame deep OH, which makes population size important in fall through early spring.

    Anyway, to answer your original question, close the entrance of the OH (if you have to, stuff a sock in both ends). If you can, close it near the OH and near the window. Cary the OH outside, right outside the window where the entrance is, open up the OH and move all the frames that you won't be working on to a 5 frame nuc sitting on the ground. If the queen is on the frame you need to work, gently move her to the other frame (no need to cage her, in my opinion, but you can if it makes you more comfortable). Shake off all the bees into the nuc box from the frame you want to work. Do what you need to do on the frame, then when you're ready put the frame you worked back into the nuc box and let it sit for about 10 min (so the bees, and probably queen, can make it back onto the frame you worked). Open the OH as wide as you can, put the frames back in and shake out any stragglers from the nuc box. Give them a few min, then coral the stragglers in using your smoker. Close up the hive, move it inside, and open the entrance. The nurse bees that can't fly should have stayed on the frame of brood, or been shaken in from the nuc. The rest can fly, so will make it to their entrance which was only feet away from where you worked it.

    Don't forget to close off the entrance when you do this. Don't ask me how I know
    I had started a mating nuc to make sure I had a sure mated queen for another hive and rather than shake it in figured build an observation hive to tinker with.. Will scratch my itch during the winter i figured. I do have other hives but worry about draining to many nurse bees from them at this point. Flow is shot for the season. Figured i could feed pollen and sugar to stimulate some extra brood. I'll monitor the SHB and if i can resolve that I'll then spare some nurse bees from the other hives.

    I have 3/4 inch vent holes on the sides and top. How much ventilation is necessary for them?

    Thanks again I really appreciate the input and will keep you posted.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Observation hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by Boardrida20 View Post
    I have 3/4 inch vent holes on the sides and top. How much ventilation is necessary for them?
    More important than the amount of ventilation is the location. Cross ventilation can cause them some problems. For example, if you have one 3/4" vent hole opposite the entrance, and the wind blows in the entrance, across the brood, and out the top, that could be problematic.

    If you put the bees in there with enough time, they'll close up the vent holes that they don't need. I've had them close vent holes with propolis in the fall only to chew them open in the spring. That lets them regulate it themselves. If they don't close it up and you put your hand over a vent hole and feel a draft, you can close it up with duct tape.

    But generally, they take care of those issues if they have sufficient population sizes.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Forsyth, Missouri
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    663

    Default Re: Observation hive question

    If that is a current picture of your OV hive you need to get a lot more bees in it.
    They should have at least 2 drawn frames with bees on them this time of year.
    If they draw any wax it will be to finish the bottom frame and then little else till spring.
    You may just end up watching them die with all that open area to defend off SHB.
    Zone 6b 1400'

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