Alright everyone, I made one last modification to the observation hive that I think you should be aware of. Not necessary, but if you are going to the trouble why not.
One of the main problems with an observation hive, is whenever you open them up to do regular maintenance, or move them, you have the potential of stressing them out to the point that they think their hive isn't suitable for their needs. So, just like an individual who is renting a crappy apartment when they can afford better, they move. I'm of course referring to absconding.
In the past I've just let them do their thing, if they liked their home after a tough move, a queen marking, or some regular maintenance, so be it. If they didn't I would be fine with them being happy some where else. Last summer I lost two hives to absconding. I'm done with it.
So I tried closing up the hive for a day or two, and giving them a chance to calm down and realize their home isn't so bad after all. This of course prevents a hive (who has few forager bees as it is) from getting pollen, nectar, water, propolis, and what not. But more importantly, one time I forgot to open it back up and remembered a week later.
So now I don't stop them from leaving, but I restrict the queen's movement for a few days through the use of a queen excluder at the entrance. This just makes sure that if the queen tries to leave, she'll be stopped most of the time, and I'm given the opportunity to fix the problem or they are given an opportunity to realize their home is some sweet digs. The queen excluder is NOT an attempt to prevent swarming, as it would be an ineffective attempt. I wished to incorporate the queen excluder into the observation hive, instead of taping it to the window as I've done before.
So I started with a 10 frame plastic excluder and cut a square out of it.
I then took the square, and trimmed a it down to a 1.5" circle. I then took the original sliding valve strip of wood that goes on the underside of the hive, and drilled a 1.5" hole below where the original entrance hole was. From there, I put the queen excluder circle in place and glued it with some Guerilla Glue.
The goal is if I wish to keep them in place, I slide the strip of wood so that no hole matches up with their normal entrance, blocking off the flow. If I want un restricted flow, I slide it so the unrestricted hole is in place. If I only want to restrict the queen, I slide it even further so that the queen excluder is in place.
I then moved the base and the stand over closer to the wall, attached a 45 degree pvc pipe to the pipe flange that was running through the stand, and attached a clear plastic hose to the pvc pipe. That of course goes to the wall, giving the ladies an entrance and exit.
Then, of course, moving the rest of it in place.
And last, but certainly not least, the weather was warm enough last weekend that I was able to stock it with some bees.
Thanks for stopping by!