What You Should Know




Honey Bees are the only insects that produce food

eaten by man.


One third of our diet relies on Honey Bee



Honey was found

in the tomb of

King Tut and was still

edible since Honey

never spoils. 


Honey Bees

account for 80%

of all insect

pollination in

the world.

Frequently Asked Questions        
Every Hive Case from Bonterra Bees is shipped with installation and "Basic Hive Management" instructions and links to information for new beekeepers. Weather you will be a "hands-on" beekeeper or just want to watch the bees, having an experienced beekeeper supervise and maintain your hive, you will  find easy access to bee information and supplies. We suggest you start by locating a beekeeper or beekeeping club in your area. Just search "beekeepers" and your "state or community" in your browser. And begin your bee knowledge by browsing  "beesource.com" or "Dadant.com" or any of the abundant bee info or bee supply sites on the web. 

Frequently asked Questions


Do I have to know anything about bees to have an Observation Hive?

    No. Generally speaking Bees will take care of themselves and bees know best what is good for bees. Once your bees are installed in your Hive Case the colony of bees will forage food for itself and will create its own habitat needed for its well being. A colony will instinctively self-adjust its work flow and life cycles to the seasons; creating brood, reproducing itself by swarming; collecting pollen and nectar and storing honey and clustering for winter. In most climatic zones your colony will need minimal attention. The exception will be in zones with cold winters and many consecutive "no fly"  days. You or an experienced beekeeper will want to check for colony strength and honey/brood balance in the fall and spring.


Which Hive Case width option do I want?

    Generally you will see all Hive activities in all Hive Case options. The DW 6 and DW 8 and DW10 will require less maintenance than the SW 4, however in the DW 6 and 8 and DW10 you will see less of the queen during the coldest winter months as she will be deep in the "Cluster".

    Two important considerations are; 1. the depth and duration of winter in your area and 2. your desired level of  "hands-on" involvement in servicing your hive.

    First; if winter in your area will have more than 90 consecutive "no-fly" days (days when outdoor temps. are below 40 degrees f.) we suggest you select the DW 6 or DW 8 or DW10. The enhanced clustering in these double wide hives will improve the strength of the hive during and after a long winter.

    In more temperate areas then above mentioned, all Hive Case width options are suitable.

    Next; if you will be "hands-on" involved as a new or experienced beekeeper all options are suitable. In temperate zones the DWs, may not need servicing  for many years. The SW may need servicing in fall and/or spring.

As we've mentioned before geo-specific advice from a local beekeeper is helpful.


What kind of Hive maintenance will be required?

    In the DW 6 and DW 8  and DW10, under normal circumstances, once bees are installed in your Hive Case, they will need little or no maintenance that will require the Hive Case to be taken outdoors and opened.

    The SW 4 and SW5 may require outdoor servicing in the spring or fall.


    In cold climates, for all Hive Cases, if syrup feeding is needed the "hive top feeding station" makes easy work of this task without removing the Hive Case to the outdoors.

    A colony may require outdoor maintenance by you or an experienced beekeeper when;

    You wish to harvest surplus honey.

    A severe or extended winter has reduced colony strength.

    An abnormal dearth of bloom during the summer season has caused a shortage in  honey and pollen stores.

    It should be noted that circumstances such as; misuse of toxic landscape chemicals; severe weather or untreated bee diseases can destroy a colony and replacement bees will be required.



Where do I get bees for my Observation Hive?

    The more local your source for bees the better. Often local beekeepers will be happy to supply your beginning bees. First contact a local beekeeper or a local beekeeping club and ask about getting bees for your hive.

    There are many large beekeeping supply companies and beekeepers who sell bees. Bees come as; "packaged bees (a box of bees and a queen)" and a "nuc (a small hive with bees, queen and comb). The season for getting bees from large suppliers is May thru June. Search; "bees for sale" or  "packaged bees" online.


Should I be concerned about having an Observation hive in the house?

     Frankly there's not much to be concerned about. There will be a slight hum... during the busy summer foraging season. In winter bees are almost silent. There may be slight fragrance from whatever bloom the bees are foraging on and a slight warming on the glass during brood season.

    Your Bonterra Bee Hive Case is a sturdy and secure container. Bees cannot fly out, climb out, or chew out into your home.

    We recommend using safety glass. Your Hive is not shipped with glass.

We recommend you take the glass frames to a local glass vendor. Let them cut and install the glass.



Do I need Hive Case covers?

    Yes. Order one of ours or create your own from a tapestry or dry-mounted poster or artwork. Bees like to work in the dark. You will want the covers on your hive when you are not viewing your bees.


How will my bees get from the Hive Case to the outside?

With the SwingViewTM your bees will exit thru the bottom of the Wall Plate to the outside entrance unit (both included.) No Hive Case routing is needed.

  With the CircleViewTM and TableViewTM your bees will exit thru a Hive Case routing pipe(not included) made of 1 1/2" I.D. PVC; clear or opaque; pipe and couplings and available at local hardware and lumber stores.

   We suggest no more than 8 lineal ft. of routing from the Hive Case to the Outside Entrance Unit and no vertical sections and a minimum pipe ID of 1 1/2".
   All Hive Cases come with a sch. 40, or gray Electrical Conduit ,1 1/2" ID, PVC Exit Nipple and thru-wall tube and outside Entrance Unit.
   PVC Pipe and couplings are available at local hardware stores and online.
  You may use a section of clear pipe for viewing bee traffic, as shown above.



What is the difference between an indoor Observation Hive and a typical outdoor Hive?

  With an indoor Hive from Bonterra Bees you can see your bees anytime, day or night, good weather or bad without disturbing or compromising your bees.

An indoor Observation Hive is not designed to produce excess honey. It is a feral colony of Honey Bees, though in temperate zones with good bloom you may harvest excess honey from the DW Hives.

With outdoor hives,  too often, chances for watching your bees are limited due to weather or your time constraints.

  To see your bees anytime with an Observation Hive, opens up a whole new level of enjoyment and understanding of this marvelous creature.


How do I install my Hive Case?

Installation instructions come with all models.

What is the Multi-use Feeding Station?

  At the top of the Hive Case there is an access port for adding syrup to the feed pan. The feed pan is positioned below this access and on top of the frames in the Hive Case. Should you need to feed your bees you will add syrup to the pan here. Additionally; this port allows you to insert a standard queen cage if you need to replace the queen.

How do I take my Hive outdoors for maintenance?
     Our Hives are designed to need very little Maintenance. Once you have installed your Bees, you may not need to take it outside for many years. If you do, use caution, a hive with  Bees, loaded with comb and honey can be heavy.
 Always have assistance, 2 people are required.
    Instructions are included with every Hive model, for working and removing your Hive to the outdoors.
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