This is my latest "non-standard" hive. I love using observation hives to educate the general public on bees. I've seen a couple larger "colony hives" from somewhere over in Europe, but here in the USA, we need to have "removable, inspect-able" combs. This is my design to be an affordable, movable hive. (my topbar combs have a really solid attachment to the bar, so they can stand a one hour trip in the car with no issue). The blue insulation is what will be used to keep out the light when the hive is not on display.
That design looks really neat, the bees can built to their own shape and such as well. But, how do you keep them from building burr comb all over the place? There is such an excessive "bee space" around the outside, seems like they'd start building all over like crazy.
hocdkeyfan, if I were adding a package of bees to an empty cylindrical hive as this, I'd be very concerned about brood comb. But the way this one will work is that the 8 bars will be drawn out in a double medium hive, with the combs that will be transferred over. That way, I know the combs are well attached to the topbars and the "edges" have been established. Rarely do I see where the bees want to add more comb to the edges once that is established, and I've not had them go past 22" long either, even with side supports (I know they can because I've seen cutouts from houses).
Burr comb seems to be established if they feel the comb is not secure. And if they do build some, the bottom opens up and I'll be able to trim it away. The main point of this hive is customer education and letting them get up close to a full cluster of bees. There have been a few other larger cluster hives that seem to do ok without attaching comb to the glass/plastic.