Honey Bee Observation Hive 8-Frame Setup How to Start Keeping Bees with a split!
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Honey Bee Observation Hive 8-Frame Setup How to Start Keeping Bees with a split!

October 23, 2019


okay so today what I’m showing you is
something that I’ve always wanted to have and that’s an observation hive and
this is an observation hive I purchased as an already assembled kit it comes
with everything except the glazing so we have to do that ourselves but this is
called a swing view hive it holds eight deep frames and I’m gonna go
step-by-step how to set it up and I had a special order this plexiglass I got
the thick stuff so it’s a little over a quarter of an inch thick and it’s
clarity is perfect it’s acrylic and of course you have this paper on it that
you have to peel off and make sure that your dimensions are perfect because you
don’t want to have to cut the Plexiglas yourself and this particular company I
will give you a link for them but they do custom cutting for you and they were
within a sixteenth of an inch to my dimensions the next thing you have to do
is bed the glass in a hundred percent pure silicon that’s rated for all
weather conditions and that’s what we did we put this little can bead down and
now we’re gonna drop in the Plexiglas and remember you test fit it dry before
you put this in to make sure you don’t have any problems and now once it’s in I
go around the edges and I press it up to make sure that the silicon bead goes the
full width of the joint we don’t want any movement in this we definitely don’t
want bees and debris to get between the Plexiglas and the frames that came with
this observation hive and they mark the sides a and B and we’re looking at the
top there and that’s actually a feeder screen and this is the B side it’s all
framed up you can see that there’s a full bead of silicone there and you can
later come and cut it off with a razor blade if you want to take out that
excess I ended up just leaving it but make sure that you absolutely fill the
joint just for a lot of reasons with strength being the first so we have the
a side and the B side nice and strong you have the option of course to finish
these frames finish the woodwork the exterior of it I wouldn’t put any finish
inside or just leave it plain and I’m leaving it plain this is the silicon
tube that I used 100% silicone totally stable inert material once it’s dry you
want to make sure when you’re using this stuff that you have plenty of
ventilation going and then once you have put the Plexiglas bedded in the silicon
into these frames give them at least 24 hours and here we are at the shed that
I’ve decided to put the observation hive in and this is the included landing
board that goes with it and you have to drill a 2 inch diameter hole from the
inside before you of coarse screw this on here and they use two inch grey
electrical conduit the plastic stuff that’s rated for sun exposure and i had
to do some modifications on the inside here because I’m using 2×4 supports and
this shed was Amish built so the dimensional lumber is a fall like when
they say 2×4 it is four inches so I had to chisel some of that out and we’re
vertically mounting these two by fours so they’re glued and they’re screwed in
because it’s gonna hold quite a bit of weight remember this is an eighth frame
observation hive and that’s eight deep frames so let’s say at the outside 20
pounds per frame so you’re looking at yeah quite a bit of weight if the thing
actually filled up completely with honey we know that’s not likely but if it did
you want to definitely be able to support it and this is the swing view
mounting bracket that goes on the wall some people actually put this thing
inside their house I really didn’t want to do that I couldn’t think of a great
way that I wanted to keep it plus inside your house sometimes you have to tend to
that you’d have to pull the thing off and carry it outside and so that you
could access the bees and do some maintenance with your observation hive
so here I’m just eyeballing the again it’s electrical conduit that came with it
and you can see that it’s already cut out there that landing board has a
receiver for it that’s perfect I did not glue or do anything other than
friction set that and when you put the the plate on for
the wall it also has a recess that houses that tube that the bees will use
to go in and out and at the top there’s that threaded grommet so that you can
put the bolt through the top on the bottom which is where the bees go in and
out it has that nice piece of angled wood that supports it and then again a
little tail piece of electrical conduit sticks out and the swing view is
actually going to turn on that so what they want you to do is put down some
beeswax so that it can sit on that and that becomes the gliding surface and so
here we are showing you the frame again without the glazing yet and this is that
little piece I talked about and these are clumps of beeswax that I put down
there and we’re just going to use the weight of the swing view itself to smear
that around and of course beeswax is pretty stable here it is mounted now and
again you can see that the joints are cutout dedos or whatever you want to
call that that will accommodate the frames and I’m going to show you
step-by-step how I set it up and those are order 20 threaded studs that are
there that will hold the frames on so it looks pretty good stainless steel
screens and again little segments that have been cut off of electrical conduit
that act like spring clips they hold it in there so it’s easy to remove if you
have to get inside also if you needed to close off the entry and exit point there
is this little galvanized piece of Steel there and it comes with a screw so I
just pulled it out which opens it up so the bees can come and go and then I just
put that screw back in the hole there so I don’t lose it but if you ever have to
close off your observation hive for transportation that’s the plate that you
put in the other thing is I’m going with acorn plastic frames these are food
grade plastic frames that come with a heavy heavy coat of beeswax on them in
the past I’ve used Piergo and these are what I’ve gone to now so and the green
stuff is actually drone frame so you’ll see that the the cell size is much
larger and people use that to get drones to
develop and they use that as some kind of protection for varroa because I’ll
just pull out the drone and then here’s the white frames it comes in white
plastic or black I prefer the black because I’m a photographer and I’m
trying to get a look at egg development larvae development and a lot of things
that are going on which is why I have the observation hive to begin with the
green here I’m just showing it to you’re really close and they’re marked on the
top again is your acorn frames and I’ll put a link to that in the description
one X means it’s dipped once 2 X dip twice and 3 X triple dip or what they
call heavy wax coating the more wax you have on these frames the more readily
your bees will start to draw them out and make their their honeycomb on that
so we’re gonna get to see all of that and it’s one of the great things about
having an observation hive because we get to watch them draw out comb and
start to occupy the hive now if you want to put in wooden frames or
something like that go ahead because then you’ll be able to watch how they
draw out comb without foundation and that company I believe also sells
plastic frame foundation without the full frame but I just personally prefer
the full frames and we’re gonna have both in care so the top four frames will
be the new acorn variety which now I prefer they don’t flex in the middle and
they don’t distort as much as the Piergo frames which are going to be the
bottom four as much as those did and those were out
in my beehives so the next thing I have to do is bring in some frames of bees to
populate the hive so I’m going to a hive that has a lot of activity they’ve got
some brood in there and I’m going to light load the observation hive because
again I want to watch them expand so I’m gonna pull some frames that have some
brood and some resources on them and I want to put those inside the frame and
then I’ve mail ordered in this Weaver queen which is a survivor bee line
they’re varroa resistant they’re super hygienic
and she comes out of Texas and there are workers of course in there because the
Queen can’t feed herself and you’ll just put her on top of all the frames inside
the observation hive and then what I did later was I just pulled that gray clip
out and the stainless steel screen and then used forceps to withdraw the cage
so you want to make sure of course and pulled the plug on the sugar side and
now we’re doing something different here normally you’d be Re-Queening because the
queen would have died and you’d have a queenless hive that means that the bees
that would be in there would be looking for a new queen and would readily accept
a new queen that’s not gonna happen here because we’re pulling frames from hives
that have Queens and those bees have pheromone associated with the Queen in
the hive they’ve come from so again here’s my first frame we’re gonna put
that in there and again I don’t want fully drawn out frames I don’t want them
to be complete because part of the fun is in watching them draw out wax on
their own and watching the colony establish itself and you notice how calm
these bees are you also want to position them carefully you don’t want to put it
right up against the surface where the Plexiglas will be because you want to
maintain these space they’re thinking about where the comb will be and how far
drawn out it will be and then leave additional bee space 3/16 of an inch
roughly is good but remember that once you close it up you’re not gonna have
access to move these things around so positioning them carefully now will be
worth its weight in gold later so what I’m doing is I’m putting the
frames in one by one and going back back out to the apiary collecting other
frames now look at this one it’s absolutely loaded with pollen there’s
also capped honey there so these are resources that the bees are going to use
to expand their colony now I did have to put on some protective clothing
remember I’m getting into hives and I am taking away their brood if you
want to kick off a defensive response from a colony of bees pull some brood
frames and you’ll see that they will really want to get you away from those
resources much different than if you were just pulling honey supers so here
again I’m just being very careful in the alignment of these frames now these are
all worker bees most of them my target bees of course
are nurse bees bees that are still in there cleaning stages feeding stages for
larvae and those that would otherwise occupy brood frames and that’s
because they haven’t been outside of their hive yet they don’t know where
they live all of their experience in life has been inside the hive so that
means hopefully that they will be better prepared to occupy this hive and stay
where I put them because the hives that I’m pulling them from are within a
hundred feet actually of this observation hive in the shed that it’s
in also you get a glass jar with a tin cap on it that is your feet our jar goes
right on the top there and I’m putting of course 50/50 sugar water and I use
super filtered water and I heat it up and sanitize it carefully before I put
that on the hive and here it is all together an eighth frame swing view hive
and if you’ve been watching any many other videos that show macro video
close-ups of different behavior whether it be a queen laying eggs or whether it
be baby bees hatching or the development of larvae that has all been filmed in
this observation hive and because we’re in the shed and now you can see there
are larvae there very small ones to the left and again here’s the reason why I
like the black plastic frames and in this case from acorn is because the
contrast there lets me see eggs better and lets me see developing larvae and
here we have a collection of bees that aren’t doing a lot
now but what they are is forming a physical barrier around these larvae to
keep the cooler air from getting to them and here is what looks like the start of
a queen cell but what they actually did within days after installing these
frames is they they dismantled that they chewed it all apart and some of these
little areas here are packed now with pollen pollen varies widely in color it
could be cheeto yellow or it can be very pale green and in some cases almost just
off-white and look at this variety of pollen here as soon as a worker comes in
and unloads the pollen directly into the cell a worker bee then goes right in and
starts to mix that pollen and seal it up with a little bit of honey and actually
the pollen will ferment in these cells so if you can smell it if you open up a
pollen area that’s been there for 48 hours you start to smell that it is
fermenting and actually the two-day-old pollen that’s been stored is most
frequently used by those nurse bees so here we are again I want you to notice
this behavior here’s the Queen and her workers and they’re in this cage look at
the abdomen of the occupants of this colony right now they are trying as hard
as they can to sting through that screen see how they bend their abdomens towards
the occupants of this little queen cage they’re trying to kill off the occupants
and the reason is they perceive the pheromone of this Queen and these
workers as alien to the hive and they definitely don’t want them there so
we’re gonna get back to that later now we’re gonna show here that there are
resources see the pollen in the top and then we also have honey lower down all
around the brood that are currently hatching here and that’s a convenience
thing the nurse bees don’t have to go very far to get resources to feed these
baby bees of course once they’re capped they’re not eating anything so it’s only
during the larvae stage that they’re being fed and then they’ll come out of
there capping on their own these baby bees will go right to work
they turn into nurse bees themselves and will turn around and attend to those
other developing larvae now here we are back at the Queen this is 24 hours later
notice the body posture of the bees that are on that screen now their abdomens
are laid out straight and what they’re actually doing is sticking their heads
in and extending their tongues to make sure that that Queen has plenty of food
Queens do not feed themselves they’re only fed by nurse bees in the hive so
now it’s safe to pull the plug and release that Queen into this new colony and here again we’re just we’re actually
shooting this through the opposite screen there are vents left and right
top and bottom and here’s the Queen out on her own and she is fertile and she
set right about laying eggs the only thing that really held her back in this
new hive was the number of cells that were available for her to lay in she
laid an egg in every single cell that was not occupied it was a fantastic
experience now the observation hive is set up and
ready to go and now all we have to do is drink coffee and watch and learn about
what goes on inside a honey bee hive I hope you’ve enjoyed watching this and if
you want to see bees at your leisure protected from weather I suggest that
you get an observation hive of your own or maybe even build one thank you so
much for watching this video and thank you again for your interest and honey
bees I hope this was helpful see ya!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. it would be like having a fish tank in the wall – so interestying – beautiful pollen – Its fantastic to see a baby bee hatch
    I notice that u have a large space up and down do u think they will fill it with propolis or burr comb ?

  2. Thanks, Fred! The shots towards the end of the workers posture with bent abdomen trying to kill the caged queen were excellent. I have often seen the bees accepting the queen by trying to feed her through the cage, but I have never seen them before they began to accept her and as they were trying to sting her. Love the quality of your videos. A lot of effort goes into making them. And what were those…chicken noises in the background towards the end?

  3. I enjoyed the video and wish I had a place to set one up. I used to keep bees but no longer have a place to do so. This brings back a lot of memories and I am learning new things from your videos as well. Thank you for doing this.

  4. I love your observation hive almost as much as your video and presentation. Thank you for putting high quality bee information onto the Internet.

  5. So well done and thoroughly enjoyed watching this. Thanks for taking the time to film and edit all of these videos. I know they take a good deal of time to do.

  6. So well presented. I learned so much. Please keep posting. I have a new appreciation for bee keeping and how bees new hives are started!! Thank you.😀😀

  7. Hello Fredrik. I like your videos. Which method of combating Varroa mites is common in the US? Does anyone use heat treatment (Thermal processing of bees)? What do you think about this method? (I'm from Siberia, near the Baikal.)
    Sorry if I write incorrectly: I do not know English well.

  8. I did not see any covers to give your bees darkness in the hive. Do you throw some cloth over it, or are they fine with light coming in?

  9. I would say a MUCH more instructive model of installation would be to put in feral stock with their natural queen, no feeder, no plastic, no foundation at all. The genus Apis has existed for millions of years, drawing its wax, with a variety of cell sizes on each comb. I do a lot of structural removals and have all my students get their first hive from such a feral colony. Going to be contracted to install such a observation hive in a grocery store soon—no plastic,

  10. Good day Frederic. Thanks for your canal and video presentations. Great help and ideas. I would like to ask you a few QQ in regards of collaboration. I AM NOT THE SPECIALIST in this field, I am director of the project of land development in Far East of Russia. In our group of environmentalists a few families looking for the best and modern technology in bees – honey production to use as a family business in our region. Please replay me to my FB page. THANKS IN ADVANCE! https://www.facebook.com/EcoWellbeingTourismRussia

  11. I am from Far East of Russia. In 2016 Russian Government lunched new program (http://www.atimes.com/article/russia-great-land-giveaway-far-east/ ), I formed Public organization and we got over 10 acres of land on the Lake in conservation aria. The most desirable enterprising for us – The Bee-kipping, because of the influential communities, which uses old tradition skills & experiences. AS far i know, today we have HUGE PROBLEM with preservation of the environment and safe the most rear , valuable type of bees. Recently ( 3 week ago) was important forum, where Russian bee-kippers community rise number of QQQ to local Administration , which would be more effective with WORLD WIDE open-minded people to protect and grow this traditional enterprising of Bee-kippers. Our organization in Far East of Russia is joint World – Wide Forum , as we are planing to develop the best strategy for our enterprise. THANK TO ALL for your advises!

  12. My goodness these videos are better then the PBS so interesting and informative so addicting wow I'm loving it !

  13. At a local nature museum many years ago they had an observation hive inside. The colony died during the winter from unknown causes. This was about 40 years ago, before all the colony collapse and mite infestations came about. Do you know if problems existed that had to be overcome doing this? I thought it was too artificial or temperature difference outside and inside hive during winter. Or maybe just bad luck?

  14. This is absolutely fascinating. It's so cool to see you interpreting correctly their behavior. I wonder if there was a possibility of the workers never accepting the new queen. Also, naturally the inside of the hives is always dark; does this glass and the light that shines upon them makes a difference for them? Thanks for this great video.

  15. Thoroughly enjoy that so much I come back every now and again just to see it. Shame you took the colony out and haven’t used it. My guess is without having easy access to the frames it makes it tougher to care for and maintain.

  16. Giday Fred thank you so much I have enjoyed your videos , As a starter in apiaristism question that word ? I have ? So much to ask , ? Where to go ask here in Australia , Cheers , and keep it going great work beesknees.

  17. Man, that was so much fun to watch. When i service my hive, im always trying to find my queens, getting to see yours in action was incredible

  18. Thank you very much for taking the time to make this lovely video. I always wanted Bees but don't have the time or space. Thanks again

  19. Fred … I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your presentations. I have learned many things about bee keeping from your videos … And I really enjoy the relaxed and gentle way you narrate your stories. Thanks, George Miller

  20. WOW! LOVE this idea! It gave me a desire to build one up here (The Great Snowy North). Any chance of a 2nd video showing the full indie of the shed? I mean to see the space with the hive in it.
    Also: what about using a flow hive in this fashion? (in a shed). I'm just wondering about maintenance/inspection. If you open the hive in the shed, how do the bees that come out (in the shed) get back into the hive? (My brain is just full of ideas and questions!)

  21. Yet another enlightening video Fred! These creatures are amazing. We could learn a lot. Definitely not democratic. Everyone has a job… born into it or changes with time but no arguments and every thing functions… The colony, as an organism, just knows what to do.

  22. What stopped all the bees you put in there from just leaving and returning to their original hive? Also the new queen wasn't immediately accepted but with the passage of time she was, do you know what changes that allows this? She has to prove her royal bloodlines or something? (grin).

  23. Fantastic footage Fred. It surely brings beekeeping into a whole new world of the unknown. As I strive for smarter beekeeping methods, this is surely another mile stone where lessons are learnt and the fun begins! Love it.Thank-you!

  24. That was one of the best videos I have seen about bees. Watching the queen be accepted, laying eggs, and a bee hatching was fascinating! thank you for showing the video, and I plan to have an observation hive someday!

  25. Fabulous. I thought this was recent, but it appears this is the observation hive you’ve been using for awhile? Do you deal with swarming, etc differently for your observation hive versus normal colonies? Great video.

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