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Discussion Starter #23
Does anyone have any recommendations for how much ventilation to open to start out using 3 lbs of bees? I am planning on starting them in the bottom half of the hive. They will have access to all three vertical columns, but only the bottom 4 horizontal rows. That would be 12 frames. There are 4 holes in the top cover of each column and each hole is 1 inch. There is also a 1 inch hole on each end of the horizonal rows (7 on each end). I was thinking of only having one hole open in the top of the center vertical column along with the entrance tube.
 

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wow, ambitious for sure.
my 12 frame out front for our visitors here is tough
to manage.
that's great is it for personal or show for visitors?

we set up ours out in the front yard in a covered enclosure
for people driving by to stop by and check out, I have a cam inside
to watch peoples reactions, it's fun. plus it sells the honey in the stand better.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
wow, ambitious for sure.
my 12 frame out front for our visitors here is tough
to manage.
that's great is it for personal or show for visitors?

we set up ours out in the front yard in a covered enclosure
for people driving by to stop by and check out, I have a cam inside
to watch peoples reactions, it's fun. plus it sells the honey in the stand better.
It's just for me and my family and any friends who happen to come over.
Having one outside with a camera sounds pretty cool.
 

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That is so awesome! I wish I had one.

As for installing the bees, I would put the queen cage on drawn comb in the middle on a frame, and then let the bees crawling through their exit tube (like with a swarm). I think if they smell the queen, they will move in towards her. Then you won’t have to shake bees, and she can get laying quickly.

Good luck, and please keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Here is how the divisions work. The vertical beams are 2x2’s with a 1x2 attached to it with screws. The 1x2 covers where the boxes come together. The 1x2 is removed and dividers can be slid in the front vertically and/or horizontally. The end of the OH is hinged. Three screws are removed and the end opens up so that dividers can also be slid in horizontally. 0323181956a.jpg 0323181958.jpg 0323182038b.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #29
That is so awesome! I wish I had one.

As for installing the bees, I would put the queen cage on drawn comb in the middle on a frame, and then let the bees crawling through their exit tube (like with a swarm). I think if they smell the queen, they will move in towards her. Then you won’t have to shake bees, and she can get laying quickly.

Good luck, and please keep us posted!
How long does it take for all or most of the bees to get from the package into the observation hive? It's been about 10 hours and a bunch are in it, but most are still clustered inside the cage.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I think you should load them onto frames in a regular hive then transfer them into the OH.
I am sure you are right. I ordered 2 packages of purebred Russians in case something went wrong with one package and go wrong it did. The USPS shipped them without the shipping label attached so they ended up in the wrong state. To make a really long story short, I managed to get them several days after they were supposed to arrive but most of one package was dead. The other package was fine except the fondant plug slipped in on the queen. I hope she wasn’t injured. I put the package with almost all the bees alive in a hive outside. As for the package that was mostly dead, I put the queen in the observation hive and then attached the entrance tube to the package. Some went in, most refused to leave. It was a real pain. I don’t know if there are enough bees to get the observation hive going. There really aren’t that many. If the queen outside hasn’t started laying when I check her, I have a backup if I can figure out how to transfer her without her being killed. If the observation hive doesn’t have enough bees to survive (which is likely), then I may be able to move some from my established Italian hive if or wait and move the outside Russian hive into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
How’s the observation hive looking so far? The queen is currently laying at least 1,000 eggs a day. The frames are from bottom up: 1. capped and emerging brood, 2. A mix of honey, pollen, emerging brood, capped brood, and larvae, 3. every cell is filled with larvae and eggs except for a small patch in the upper right corner which should be filled by tomorrow 4. Honey.
I find it interesting that I have not seen a single small hive beetle in the hive or the oil tray beneath the screened bottom board.
0705181535b_HDR.jpg
 

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This thread petered out
What happened? How is the hive doing?
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Sorry, I didn’t know anyone was still interested.
The hive is doing great. They’ve started raising more brood for Spring. I’ll post a few more pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
They had 1 column completely filled and were working on the other 2 columns when winter hit. There were way more bees in there than could fit on 7 frames at that time. They have dwindled down a good bit now, but are still healthy. Hopefully, they will be able to pack it out this year.
 

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Wow! I don't know how I missed this thread originally. Lovely looking hive you've built, and really cool that they've settled in and doing their thing.
I'm curious how active they've been through the winter, and how much stores they consume, compared to a hive outdoors in your area.
Do you/did you feed much?
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Wow! I don't know how I missed this thread originally. Lovely looking hive you've built, and really cool that they've settled in and doing their thing.
I'm curious how active they've been through the winter, and how much stores they consume, compared to a hive outdoors in your area.
Do you/did you feed much?
I haven’t feed them much so far. They consumed about 3 and a half frames of honey and removed the nectar they had backfilled a couple of brood frames with before I started feeding them syrup a couple of weeks ago. They’ve gone through about 3 pint jars of heavy syrup and several pints of water in that time. I have also started giving them pollen substitute since they are raising brood again. Since they don’t have to stay in a tight cluster, they haven’t been eating their way up the combs. They have been consuming the honey from top down. The queen and the nurse bees stay on the bottom brood combs even when there isn’t any brood and the workers have been moving honey down from the top to replace what’s consumed at the bottom. So far, I don’t think they have been consuming an inordinate amount of honey compared to the outside hives. That may be because the outside hives need to generate heat most of the time, but the only time the ones in the observation hive seem to generate heat is when there is brood and then they only heat that small area which has ranged from nothing to just over a frame of brood. The bees in the rest of the hive are about the same temperature as my office.
They are fairly active doing stuff in the hive, but not excessively so. There is usually a large group of field bees that just hangs out by the entrance doing nothing. Flights are limited to when my outdoor hives are also flying.
 
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