View Full Version : Observation hive...

Feb 8th 2012, 09:22 PM
Ok, last year's observation hive was a complete and utter failure... I want to try it again, are there any recommendations on styles of observation hives?

Feb 8th 2012, 09:38 PM
I bought the bonterra plans, nice hives. I went and picked up my rough cut today. 70bucks worth of maple. Ready to plane if I only had a planer lol

Feb 9th 2012, 05:51 AM
What set-up did you use Ben? I am curious as to what works as well. I built one 3 years ago and have yet to put bees in it. I keep saying "this is the year" and then stuff gets in the way.
I like the look of the "Ulster" with the 5 frames below and the one frame above for observation. It looks like it might be easier on the bees.
This is mine. (maybe this year) :lol:


Feb 9th 2012, 06:56 PM
nice perry

Feb 9th 2012, 08:50 PM
That's very nice Perry, but I don't understand how it works... how do you swap out the bottom frames? Do you have to remove the glass?

Feb 10th 2012, 05:52 AM
Thanks Ben:

Yeah, both sides have lexan that slides up (the wood cover that does the same over the glass was removed for these pics,). Then each frame just pops out the front or back, whichever you choose. The top bars just slide into those grooves.
There are cork plugs over screened holes on the sides and the top has 3 screened holes as well. The entrance is in the block on the right side of the hive, opposite the feeder. There are little lexan slides that open the entrance and also access to the feeder.

Feb 15th 2012, 08:48 PM
Perry, I like that design and I think I'm going to try to make something similar, but I am wondering how the top fastens down to hold in the lexan and allow it to be carried using the handle. Also, could you take some pictures of the little lexan slides that open the entrance and access to the feeder?

Finally, what did you use as a finish for the wood to make it look so nice?

Feb 16th 2012, 08:12 AM
Hey Ben:

I can't remember exactly the finish, I think maybe golden oak?
When the lid is down, it holds the lexan sides and the coroplast covers in place. The lid has to be totally open for those to slide up and out.






The last one just shows the entrance at the other end, pretty basic.

Indiana Dave
Feb 16th 2012, 08:17 AM
Wow, that looks great, Perry!! You did a wonderful job. Please let us know if you decide to put bees in it this year and keep us updated when you do.

Mar 20th 2012, 02:41 PM
If you can get a copy of Manual 42, of the California Agricultural Experiment Station Extension Service "FUNDAMENTALS OF CALIFORNIA BEEKEEPING", aside from all the excellent general information, it includes a simple building plan for a 4 frame observation hive. It's very easy to make and includes basic instructions on setting up and managing the observation hive.
The one big problem with observation hives is that bees have a hard time regulating the temperature because of the large surface area that is exposed. As fascinating as it is, you can't expect to kep it populated all year unless you live in the tropics.

Mar 20th 2012, 05:00 PM
Perry I loaded up a loaner obs hive to bring into the house to show the kids. Just did overnight. It was loads of fun and they could see how the bees work. With a young Perry in your home give it a try.

I am building my own this year from Brazilian Cherry , plans done...

Mar 20th 2012, 05:30 PM
Zulu, bee sure to post some pics! :thumbsup: Also, if I had to do it again, I would put hinge doors on instead of the lexan that slides up and down. I think it would be easier to access the frames that way. A person could always use a hive tool to pry open the doors, I have a feeling once propolized, the lexan will not slide so easily. I understand that using vaseline on the edges of the lexan keeps them slideing longer.

Mar 20th 2012, 07:21 PM
Yep, sorry for the big lags but I'm between flights, sitting in Charlotte airport now, was in Nashville before.

My plan has hinges on front, frames slide in, and I was thinking of doing 4 frames total, and thus having two doors, so only two frames at a time are open.

I will take pics as I go.

Apr 18th 2012, 12:49 PM
I understand that using vaseline on the edges of the lexan keeps them slideing longer.

Wouldn't that also kill the bees?

Apr 19th 2012, 12:05 AM
Wouldn't that also kill the bees?No. You just use enough to keep them from propolizing the clear sheets into the groove they slide in......

May 12th 2012, 10:47 PM
Perry your observation hive is beautiful. I have been trying to get my husband to build me one. He just hasn't had the time. Hopefully this summer. We borrow one from a friend to take to the local farmers market to give talks and to schools for talks. It is such a great teaching tool.

Oct 10th 2013, 05:54 PM
Perry.... do you have plans for this observation hive?

Oct 10th 2013, 07:33 PM
I do tec, I sent them to you in a pm.:wink:

power napper
Oct 19th 2013, 07:08 PM
Nice looking ob hive Perry.
Years ago I built a four medium frame ob hive, grooves cut in for sliding double strength glass into, it worked beautifully until the propolis seized the glass, ended up hacking the outside edge off the groove to enable the glass to be removed.
Today I just put some bees into the ob hive again, a bear destroyed a small hive that I had sitting in yard beside my chicken coop, bear really did a job on it and no queen can be found, had a nice frame of brood that the bear did not destroy so rubber banded the brood into a frame that was not broken, installed what was left of the colony into the ob hive and hung on wall for my "bee tv" , I imagine the bees will make a queen cell from the brood frame but it is too cold now for successful mating if the bees do succeed in raising a queen. I still enjoy watching them.
If I were to build another ob hive it would only have three medium frames with single strength glass that sits on each side held in place by plastic mirror clips.
One more insult the bear achieved was my six frame dadant extractor was sitting outside so the bees could clean up the honey, the bear kind of beat it up, not round anymore, big dinge on side, now have to disassemble and see if I can straighten out the stainless.
My fault, should not have left it sit out overnight.

Oct 20th 2013, 07:00 AM
Hey PN.
I elected to go with a heavy plastic (lexan)? type material instead of glass. I have heard that vaseline in the groove the plastic slides in prevents the bees from propolizing it in. I have also thought that if I was to build another, it would have a door that opened on one side instead of the groove.
As far as leaving the extractor out overnight, been there, done that. Who would have thought what happened to you would happen? What are the odds? :???: