Portable Observation Hive

 One of Rolla Bee Club's students checks out a visiting observation hive full of bees.

One of Rolla Bee Club's students checks out a visiting observation hive full of bees.

Portable Observation Hive

There are a number of portable observation hives on the market. Most of the ones I have seen add one frame of bees to the visible area, leaving the rest of the colony behind. The challenge with that design is that the bees are separated from the queen and, within a short period of time, become agitated when they can't smell her pheromone. That means whatever is being observed is not regular behavior but stressed behavior.

Two of my beekeeping friends came up with this improved model. The observation hive is basically a nuc full of bees, or five frames of bees in a box that fits the frames. Four the frames are in the bottom box and the fifth frame is in the observation area.

The colony is intact and the bees are going about their business in a much more normal way.

 One of the favorite beekeeping past times, trying to locate the queen.

One of the favorite beekeeping past times, trying to locate the queen.

When not in use as an observation hive, these bees can be left outside just as they are.

The handles on the sides make moving the observation hive box easier.

 These observation hives are fun to watch.

These observation hives are fun to watch.

We often have an observation hive at our spring and summer club meetings so anyone thinking about beekeeping can watch the bees up close.

Heck, even experienced beekeepers enjoy settling down in front of the observation hive and watching the bees!

Charlotte