I just had to share my latest observation hive. This is a DIY hive my father built for me around 2 pieces of 16" x 20" picture frame glass so it was very inexpensive. I normally use it for 3 day exhibits like the county fair, but I'm hoping that EAS will agree to have it at their week long August meeting in Hampton, Virginia this year.
On July 4, I took a strong topbar hive and used 2 of the brood combs as the backbone for the OH. It was set in the same spot as the old nuc so the forages took to it just fine. I've had syrup feeders on it constantly since the change out. They have built out 1/2 of the interior which is 24" long by 21" wide by 4" deep. I removed the interior feeders the other day as the comb was extending down to them and am now using a small animal water bottle for the syrup, the kind with the metal ball on the end. It is mounted to the outside of the hive for easier refilling and they are taking about 24 oz per day of 1:1.
The queen has laid up every bit of new comb with brood and there is just a thin band of honey at the top. I'm sure as the summer progresses (and the comb grows in the next two weeks) that they will use the top portion with emerging brood for more honey stores.
I plan to use this OH for the Isle of Wight county fair this year and having the solid sheet of comb is really cool compared to using 2 bars. You can really get a feel for how a beehive operates when you see something like this in action. Not sure what will happen to it for the winter. They are typically pretty mild in VA, but I'm not sure I want to leave it outside, even with 2" of foam on either side of the glass. I will have to talk my husband into letting me have it inside on the porch, or get the garden center where I work to "host" it for the winter months.
Here is another update on the progress of the observation hive about 9 days after the first video. 2 small hive beetles eliminated. Wished I had my camera on when I returned it to it's proper location at 7 pm that night. All the forages that were packed with pollen were waiting in bewilderment as to where their home had gone. Obviously had all been foraging on the same plant, a dark yellow, orange pollen that resembled a squash blossom pollen.
This video link is to my FB page. It shows the final observation hive setup that I was able to take to the 2018 Eastern Apiculture Society meeting. It was outside in the apiary, but the free-flying bees were bringing in pollen and nectar so we were also able to observe waggle dances, etc. Next stop for this Observation Hive will be the Isle of Wight Virginia County Fair, Sept 14-16.
my observation hive is spending the winter at the garden center where I work. It's been a boon to help sell the local honey we bought from a beekeeper in the area. Next year, they are letting me keep hives at the corp office so we can sell our "own" honey. Still working on getting the operation manager to allow a full sized, year-round hive. This one will be ready to swarm at the end of April if I leave it there.