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So i have a good friend who is fascinated by the social insect world, he has various ant colonies etc. When i mentioned you could do an observation hive and watch the bees do there thing he flipped his lid.

We have agreed that a standard observation hive isnt suitable for his setup.

What ideas/what have you seen people do to take a standard hive and make it observable? We are kicking around the idea of a custom box with glass back pannel that is placed up against a house window so that it can be observed from inside.

what are your thoughts of combining a setup of a standard observation hive, 2 frames deep stacked 4 high for a brood box with an "exit" to a second "outside" langstrom style hive for additional space and honey. The idea is gatherers have to come in a tube, into the observation hive, up through it and back out to the rest of the hive. Are there any inherent problems with such a long trip inside the hive?

a follow up question.... If your going to build a custom observation hive, is there any good reason to stick to haveing to place langstrom style deep frames in it? (other than convenience) Are there practical limits to the size of a single sheet of drawn comb? I assume this has been investigated in the past. It was my understanding that langstrom chose his deep frames based on observed size of natrual brood nests as well as keeping in mind a size that wasnt to difficult to maneuver for inspections. (Old Dadant deeps being slightly biger than standard deeps today....)
 

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Michael Bush, who was it a cpl hundred yrs ago who had the "Book Hive"?

I knew some folks in Wmsbg,VA who had an observation hive in their down stairs rec room. It was 6 frames tall.

Your idea could work, but you'd have to confine the queen to the observation hive part or you wouldn't observe much. Seems to me that 2 side by side frames stacked 4 high would be enough. You could always design the hive so you could add on to the top, if more space was needed. Some folks make comb honey on top of observation hives.
 

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Search OB hives but you won't really see the queen nor her activities unless you go single frame deep. I've got a single frame 5 deeps hive that I can watch like a fishbowl.
 

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>Michael Bush, who was it a cpl hundred yrs ago who had the "Book Hive"?

Francis Huber

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Huber.1.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/xstar.htm#Huber's New Observations Upon Bees

A glass observation hive outdoors creates a whole new set of problems. Much better in the living room...

First these is the sun heating it up, then there is the heat loss from the glass. A regular hive with a window in it and foundationless frames might be a better plan.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LangDeepObservation.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm#pictures
 
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