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Author Topic: Observation hive as cell starter/finisher  (Read 624 times)

Offline yes2matt

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Observation hive as cell starter/finisher
« on: March 26, 2019, 08:46:01 am »
I have an "Ulster" style observation hive, five deep frames down, one up in the glass. There is QX between the main part and the glass part.  The main part is double screen mesh bottom.

What would happen if I used this as a starter box for a rack of grafted cups? Or as a starter/finisher box? Could I move the graft frame up into the observation part once they get it started in the main part, so to watch them finish off and emerge?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Observation hive as cell starter/finisher
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 08:52:50 am »
The problem with the 5 frame starter box is that it is only good for 24 hours on hot days and 48 hours on cool days. I?m assuming that the QE is between the upper  and lower section like mine. If so with a standard Nuc, it is hard to keep a lot of bees in the top, we use these boxes at the fair bee booths every year.
To try to make it work, after 24 hours, go in and remove most of the cells to another finisher box. Then make the Nuc queen right. Pack it tight with bees and put the queen cells above the QE. Now it is a small finisher. Put covers on the windows and keep it from getting to cold and too hot. Use thick blankets when cold and shade when hot.  Make sure the bottom keeps good air flow. It can probably handle 5 cells.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Observation hive as cell starter/finisher
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 01:22:26 pm »
You want a high density of bees and a lot of resources to get a queen well fed.   Also because they will start and complete more cells.
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Observation hive as cell starter/finisher
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2019, 07:13:08 pm »
I agree with both comments above.
You need a lot of bees and resources present right where the cells are.  I doubt they will spend much effort on queen cells up top in the glass box when all the bees and the resources are in the nest below.  imho - not a good idea.

As an alternative perhaps consider doing the starting and finishing in regular populous hives. Then move a few of the cells nearing emergence into your observation hive  Once the cells are capped, the observation hive will certainly be able to look after a few of them. They may care for them up in that glass area but would not be surprised if they abandoned them.

If you just want to observe the queen rearing process, a good way to do that is as simple as removing the queen from the observation hive.  That will initiate emergency queen cells within 2 days.  If they start QC on a well resourced framer, you can then move the frame that the cells are started on up to the viewing area. Check it daily, take photographs each day for a blog, etc.  They may not like it there and ultimately abandon it for the other cells they will have started below tucked away out of your view.

All in all, neat idea.  However imho do not be disappointed if the results are less than fruitful.

The best observation hive queening I have had is in a regular two frame, 1 over 1, glassed on both sides.  I put an old queen in it.  she had great bees but had really slowed down.  The bees superseded her after a month. The new one emerged, killed off the other cells, left for a day, mated, came back, and laid up a huge patch.  I soon had to move them out into a full body hive and ultimately sold her as a nuc.  I put another old queen into the observation hive.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 08:26:18 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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