Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    143

    Default Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    It has been a couple years since I've ran an observation hive and I'm having a problem/concern with one I recently setup. It is a 12 deep frame vertical observation hive (2 frames wide, 6 frames tall). I transferred the bees and frames out of a double deep hive. Observation hive is queen right as I kept track of the queen during transfer and made sure she was safely in. Hive has plenty of resources. Hive have 6 reasonably large screened vents along the sides. Made the transfer last Sunday (6 days ago) when it was bright/sunny and about 57 degrees here. Going from a double deep to the vertical structure of the observation hive I tried to keep pairs of brood frames together and in the lower section of the observation hive and honey frames in pairs toward the top, so the structure is obviously different than what the bees configured in the double deep to an extent. The problem/concern I am having is that a large portion of the bees are rushing around constantly, they are loud/roaring. The observation hive is in our classroom space which we mostly keep at 57 degrees in the fall/winter except when we have a class which is once every couple weeks...so it is 57 most of the time. I've tried feeding them some water, tried feeding them some syrup with feeding stimulant in it. I've left the covers on to block out light....at night with the classroom dark I've experimented with leaving them off and they rush around constantly. I put rigid foam over the glass thinking maybe they are too cool....but to me they act like bees that are too hot.. They have outside access and some go out the tube, but its been cold and snowy here since they went into the observation hive.....at a loss right now so looking for ideas how to calm them down or what other issues I should look at.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    St. Charles, MO, USA
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    There are a lot of variables with observation hives. If possible, post pictures of the hive, air vents (possible too much ventilation), entrance, etc. Also, if you have an infrared thermometer, take temperature readings of the brood area. That would help greatly in being able to diagnose the problem.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,774

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    I saw my smaller observation hive do that when I first installed them at the garden center. We left the 1" foam insulation and blanket on them for about a week to let the bees get used to where the real entrance was and now we can leave it uncovered all day long without an issue. We do still add the insulation back at night since the checkout area gets down to about 50 on some nights.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Athens, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    Yeah, it can take a long time for them to get used to the new digs. I loaded a 5 frame nuc into a 2x4 a few years ago in season and they took over a week to settle down. That one has a top entrance which probably caused a little extra confusion.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    Thanks for the info...it makes me feel a little better that it could take a bit for them to get used to the new space. I checked their temp today with an IR thermometer and basically they are 98.7 all throughout which to me would be typically temp. Below are some photos of the setup. They bees have found their entrance/exit and are using it (to exit for sure, not certain about coming back). They crawl up the clear tube which has a piece of heavier twine in it that they can grab onto if needed (that is the way one of the local clubs observation hives at the county fair has been setup for many years and while I was skeptical it would work, I am surprised at how fast the bees figured it out). One concern I have is that our observation hive is a little over 6 feet tall with a bottom exit....their exit out of the building is about 9 feet above above their bottom entrance...it is a long trek in my mind but the bees seem to navigate it fine, but I might change that so they exit out more horizontally through the lower sidewall of the building.
    IMG_0677.jpgIMG_0679.jpg
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    Manufacturers and Purveyors of Fine Beekeeping Equipment

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    It seems that they are starting to settle down finally. When I set the hive up it had plenty of honey/nectar since we had been feeding them when they were in their langstroth hive outside and they had stored honey away as well. A this point we have a jar feeder on the top and since they are more active they are eating away their reserves but not taking syrup from the feeder. I put some feeding stimulant in the syrup, changed out feeder jar to one with a very flat top instead of a recessed one to make sure there wasn't a problem with accessing the feeder...but they still seem dis-interested in the syrup even though there are a lot of bees up by the feeder...put some syrup on the hardware cloth that the jar feeder sits on and the bees there don't stick out their probiscouses like they are starving/eager to get syrup...so still concerned. This observation hive is a lot bigger than the ones I ran in the past.
    www.capitalbeesupply.com
    Manufacturers and Purveyors of Fine Beekeeping Equipment

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,774

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by capitalbeesupply View Post
    ...not taking syrup from the feeder. I put some feeding stimulant in the syrup, changed out feeder jar to one with a very flat top instead of a recessed one to make sure there wasn't a problem with accessing the feeder...but they still seem dis-interested in the syrup even though there are a lot of bees up by the feeder...
    Mine at the garden center have typically been going through a quart of syrup a week, until last week when it abruptly came to a halt. I think there must be some fall/winter nectar that they are feeding on instead. I see you are in WI, so a lot colder than here in VA, but might they be foraging on something instead? Also I found that a drop of Anise oil is a huge feeding stimulus.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Observation Hive Help/Opinions Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    Mine at the garden center have typically been going through a quart of syrup a week, until last week when it abruptly came to a halt. I think there must be some fall/winter nectar that they are feeding on instead. I see you are in WI, so a lot colder than here in VA, but might they be foraging on something instead? Also I found that a drop of Anise oil is a huge feeding stimulus.
    I might try making a new batch of syrup with the Anise extract in it. Originally I had taken some of our extra heavy syrup, cut it about 50% and added some HBH in it, but I dunno, they aren't interested in it...I've used the anise extract in the past for bee lining and it works...it might give these bees something different to work on.....
    www.capitalbeesupply.com
    Manufacturers and Purveyors of Fine Beekeeping Equipment

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