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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.
Thanks for the info. I find it interesting they haven't eaten all their stores. I have always heard that insulating or wrapping hives led to running out of stores sooner since they were warmer and active and eating more. It sounds like your bees settled down and slowed down even though they're fairly climate controlled and much warmer than your outdoor hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
It’s Spring and they currently have 5 good frames of brood. The frames have about 8,400 cells per frame, so that’s about the limit if a queen is laying 2,000 eggs a day. A lot of bees hang out in the 2 covered columns especially at night when all the foragers are home. They also have pollen stored on the frame nearest the entrance. They like to hang out the window and wave at the neighbors on warm evenings. 0423190827d~2.jpg DSC06050.jpg
 

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I'm planning an new OH and would like your advice, please. I'm doing my WindOH style again. It's a very wide window so I can go 2 frames wide by 3 or 4 high. It will be 2 frames deep. How big are the holes between your sections? Does the queen move easily from one to the next or has she stayed on one column?
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I'm planning an new OH and would like your advice, please. I'm doing my WindOH style again. It's a very wide window so I can go 2 frames wide by 3 or 4 high. It will be 2 frames deep. How big are the holes between your sections? Does the queen move easily from one to the next or has she stayed on one column?
The holes are ¾ of an inch. But, this is actually one of the things I would have done differently if I was making a stationary observation hive. But, since I need to roll mine from one wall to the other, I decided not to risk the structural integrity of the boxes by making longer oblong holes to allow the bees easier movement or using multiple pairs of holes offset from the center.
The old queen never left the column I introduced her to. The new queen that went on her matting flight 2 days ago has been in all 3 columns, but spends most of her time in the same column the 1st queen used. She isn’t laying yet though. When the new queen goes from box to box, she goes under the bottom. Because of the way the frames I am using are built, I realized that would likely be the way the queen would have to move when I built it. I am using Honey Super Cell fully drawn plastic comb. They have a spacer that runs the full length of both ends of the frames so that when you place them into a normal hive the bees cannot go around the ends, but have to go over the top or under the bottom of the frames. When placed in my observation hive, the space between the “glass” and those spacers is just enough for the workers to go around and get to and use the holes between boxes, but too small for the queen to go around. I could have cut those spacers off and might do so someday, but wanted to keep the frames completely interchangeable with the frames in my Langstroth hives.
Since you are probably using regular frames, you shouldn’t have the problem of the queen not being able to get to the holes. And, since you are making a smaller stationary observation hive, you can do the holes differently without worrying about anything breaking.
If I was building an observation hive like you are describing and I wanted to make sure that the queen went from one column to another, I would cut oblong 3/8 inch holes that line up with the gap between your front and back frames and extend at least half the height of the frame. I might leave a 3/8 inch space between the glass and sections of the support beam in the middle that the frames will be resting on like the one pictured here: https://illawarrabeekeepers.org.au/observation-hive-bob-perkins-legacy/
That might result in the bees building comb from the frames all the way over to the support beams. If I was using traditional frames without full length spacers and wanted to make sure they didn’t build comb between the frames and the support beams, I would cut pairs of either circular or oblong holes lined up with the center of the frames. My bees have not tried to fill in the ¾ inch holes between the boxes that are lined up with the center of the frames. But, if I was making oblong cuts, I would keep it to 3/8 or ½ inch.
 

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Thanks for the details. I want to be able to slide doors to shut the holes. Going to allow it to be operated as one or two colonies. It should be pretty cool to shut it in spring and watch which side didn't get the queen make a new one. It will have top entrances out each side which can be closed as needed. I'm working on whether or not the doors will hinge or just unscrew and pull off.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Thanks for the details. I want to be able to slide doors to shut the holes. Going to allow it to be operated as one or two colonies. It should be pretty cool to shut it in spring and watch which side didn't get the queen make a new one. It will have top entrances out each side which can be closed as needed. I'm working on whether or not the doors will hinge or just unscrew and pull off.
Sound cool. Keep me posted.
 

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ffrtsaxk, it's been a couple years since you last posted on this thread - have you maintained two colonies, or is a single colony using the entire space? Also, how do you go about maintaining the hive? Do you find a need to swap out frames and such? Or is it so large that they don't get crowded?
 

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Discussion Starter #50
I have maintained it as a single colony. They have plenty of space and haven’t gotten overly crowded. So, I normally don’t need to swap out frames. But, they did go through the usual reproductive swarming process once this Spring (I learned a lot watching it happen on this scale) and I pulled a couple of frames out at that time with queen cells on them to make a split after they got a mated queen back. I left a few cells to see how that worked out. It was really cool watching the workers keep virgins captive inside their cells and feed them through holes and seal them back in and trying to keep the new queen from killing them. There was a whole lot of drama in there during that period and later as well, way more than in my small observation hive. The new queen got herself slightly stung by a worker when trying to kill a virgin in a cell in the Spring and I think that may have led to her laying doubles. They tried to supersede her, but that ended with a civil war in the hive with workers killing each other and the virgin. I harvested honey from it as well. I finally decided to requeen it because the queen was still laying doubles a lot. That was a real eye opener. After getting rid of the existing queen and waiting until they were hopelessly queenless, I added a queen and a couple frames of bees from a nuc with a screen in between them. When I combined them, it went nothing like either of the scenarios I would have expected. Once the new queen was accepted, she started laying and has been laying ever since. It’s January and they still have brood and are doing well.
That is the extremely abbreviated version of what has happened. I did a presentation on it at the local association with lots of videos and photos and I managed to keep it under 2 hours. Everyone loved it.
 

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Your project is inspiring; I definitely need to build something like this. The OH is indoors, right? Do you roll it outside to maintain it? Or can you segregate and remove individual frames?
 

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I did a presentation on it at the local association with lots of videos and photos and I managed to keep it under 2 hours. Everyone loved it.
I'll bet. Next time you make that presentation, let me know. You're only a 5 hour drive away:D
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Each frame is in its own box, so I slide dividers between them and take one box out at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
I'll bet. Next time you make that presentation, let me know. You're only a 5 hour drive away:D
I was asked to consider doing a breakout session at the state field day which I think is in March. But, I was told I would only have 20 minutes. So, I wouldn't be able to cover a lot. I'm still thinking about what I could cut and include. I'll be doing a presentation for new beekeepers on running an observation hive at the PBA workshop on the 25th, so I've spent my time working on that and haven't actually done much for the state presentation yet besides think.
 

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ffrtsaxk, Your OH is three frames wide - do you find the colony spreads out side to side, or do they tend to stay in a relatively narrow column?
 

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Discussion Starter #56
ffrtsaxk, Your OH is three frames wide - do you find the colony spreads out side to side, or do they tend to stay in a relatively narrow column?
Both, once the queen starts laying she moves up and down in the column she is in and stays in that column. The workers place most of the stores in the same column as the queen, but also utilize the other columns for stores and hang out in the other columns at night and when there are too many bees to fit comfortably in one column. They also like to use the bottom frames of the column closest to the entrance for the dance floor and for storing pollen. Right now, the column furthest from the entrance has the brood chamber and most of the honey and pollen stores, but they also have 3 frames with pollen in the column by the entrance.
 

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This is a work of love Henry Long, thanks for keeping this thread going. It’s great. Who ever knew the drama that goes on in a hive.?Honey bees are amazing. Thanks.
 
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