Guest post by Samantha and Daniel Johnson
Have you ever wished that you could share the excitement and interest of your hives and honeybees with others? Wouldn’t it be fun to show people the inner workings of the hive, the day-to-day activity, and the interactions of the bees? But by the time you’ve harvested and bottled your honey and are set up at a farmers’ market for the day, you’re far removed from the real action of “where it all began,” back at the hive. It’s one thing to try and explain your enthusiasm for honey bees to others (“Well, they’re fascinating creatures and are so much fun to watch, and they work really hard, and… ”) but it’s another thing entirely to show others why they should be enthused about bees. But there is an excellent way to display your bees and share them with the world—thanks to a handy little product called an observation hive.
Several beekeeping supply companies manufacture and sell these handy hives, which are fully enclosed units with glass sides that are specifically designed to allow observation of the honey bees in their hive. There are different models in a range of prices from budget-friendly (less than $50) to more expensive (over $500); the less-expensive models sometimes require you to insert your own glass. When you’re ready to start observing, you’ll remove a frame from one of your regular hives and insert it into the observation hive. You can then transport the setup to your destination—whether it be farmers’ market, beekeeping demonstration, or craft show—and set up for the day, resting assured that your bees are safe, sound, and ready to cause a buzz with crowds of people. At the end of the day, simply return the frame to its original position in your hive and store your empty observation hive until your next event.
While we certainly couldn’t say that an observation hive is a “must have” component of a basic beekeeping setup, we can assure you that if you’re looking for a way to draw attention to your booth or share the joy of honey bees with the public, an observation hive is a sure-fire hit.
Excerpted from The Beginners Guide to Beekeeping written by Daniel & Samantha Johnson. All rights reserved.