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.