Ulster Observation Hive

Discussion in 'Building plans, blueprints, and finished projects' started by d.magnitude, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I'm not a skilled woodworker by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm thinking about trying to construct an Ulster Observation Hive like that sold by Brushy Mt. http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Ulster-Observation-Hive/productinfo/U501/ The design really appeals to me; I just can't see spending $135(plus shipping) for one.

    Does anyone else out there have one? I'd like to ask a couple specifics about the design, or maybe even see some close-up pics. Of course, if you've got one just laying around, maybe you ought to just sell it to me ;)

    Thanks, Dan
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Looks interesting. I have what may be a silly question but according to the directions you find the queen and put her in the upper section. Is there something that prevents her from going back into the lower section? Is there a screen or something? Is this upper frame completely seperate or is there something that allows her phereomones to keep the whole thing calm? Other than that it looks great!
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    As I understand, there is a strip of queen excluder between the top and bottom. When you move the frame w/ queen up, you fill the space in the bottom with a division board feeder. The idea is that the nuc stays queenright, and it can stay in this configuration for a couple of days (I probably wouldn't leave it that long). Seems pretty nice, huh?

    One of my questions is about how that queen excluder is mounted in there. I was talking to someone at my bee club last night who has one of these, and she's going to bring it next time for me to check out.

    -Dan
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Dan:

    Looking at the Brushy ad it says that bees can be kept in it for several days (assumiing they mean not let out at all).
    I built a regular 3 frame with the help of a cabinet maker buddy and some scraps. I've had it now for over 2 years and still haven't put bees in it yet as I don't have a building to keep it in and run a tube out. It would be great at the Farmers Market. When we finally find a place to buy I will set it up first thing. I do like the idea of the Ulster though, with 5 frames you could keep them in the observation hive for a longer period before transferring them to a regular hive body.

    Perry

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  5. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Perry,
    That OB hive looks beautiful. That would certainly draw a crowd at the market. Unfortunately, I'm in the same boat as you, I don't think I'd be able to keep it in my house now. Also, I know very little about maintaining an observation hive year-round. Do you need to be constantly taking frames out and adding empty comb to keep them from running out of space?

    Part of what I like about the Ulster is that it's just a nuc, which is a concept I get, and I like to have 'em around anyway. Plus, you can easily isolate the queen to point her out. I guess that's also a downside, as you need to find her to put her up there in the first place, huh?

    -Dan
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Dan:
    I looked after an observation hive for a few hours at the farmers exhibition (Nova Scotia Beekeepers Assoc.) and it was a huge draw for folks of all ages.

    As far as how to properly manage them I'm probably in the same boat as you knowledge wise, never done it. I assume that you would have to pull frames from time to time, allowing room for some growth but not too much (I guess swarm cells should be easy to find! :mrgreen: ). I would think if the top frame is getting full of honey, just swap it out. I used a real good plastic glass for the sides and they slide up and out. If I did it again, I'd probably try to have one whole side be a door that swung out. I have this feeling that after the bees get at it, that plexi will be harder than heck to slide up.

    I agree with the nuc/ob hive combo idea, it seems to make sense, it would give you more time between manipulations.

    Perry