Display Tower with Frames

Display Tower with Removable Frames

Note: This is a new design and is still being tested so availability will be limited to “beta testing” boxes.

Sarah from Bee Yourself Brisbane Native Bee Business, was looking for an observation hive so she could show her customers the inner workings of a Stingless Bee colony. We threw a few ideas around in a brainstorming session trying to achieve something that was easy and practical to use by way of being able to remove, split and swap frames. It’s quite possible that the result was actually very complicated! 🙂

The tower has a door each side so it can be fully opened up and viewed from both sides so this allows plenty of light in for viewing.

This observation hive is based on using two standard frames internally. These frames can be removed, split and placed in to other display towers of the same design. Each frame has a volume of 3 litres.

Below: Two types of frames, the full frame and the splittable frame.

Below: The bee entrance is half way along the side in the middle. There’s a narrow “bee space” or bee access area between the two internal frames.

Note: This is a new design and is still being tested so availability will be limited to “beta testing” boxes.


Tips for getting it set up

It’s up to you how you want to get bees in to the box. This process requires you to have some knowledge about Stingless Bees. There will be many different opinions on the best way to do it.

Internal Frames: The box is supplied with two internal frames. 1 x “1 piece frame” and 1 x “split frame”.

Option 1. Transfer a colony in to one of the frames. Id suggest using the frame that is cut in half as it will be easier to access and also be easier to access at a later date if you want to split the brood. You can transfer some brood and a small amount of stores in to the half frames.

Option 2. Budding/Eduction. I’ve added some holes to the back of the main outer frame and plugged them with dowel. The dowel can be easily pushed out so you can set up your Budding tubes. You will need to drill a corresponding hole through the internal frame to match your tube size. See photo below…

Blocking off access

A thin plastic sheet or steel mesh can be used to block access to frames. This could be done while changing frames or left there so the bees only use one frame.

Compatibility with OATH

Below: If you want to get a fresh start with new frames in the observation box you can remove the clear plastic covers and use the old frame on a standard OATH box.


Honey Tree Mod – “Rough Prototype”

I’m just playing with this idea at the moment. Intended for demonstrating honey pot layer construction, not efficient honey harvesting. Easily fitted to the existing frame.


Update below – 22/08/2020

I now have a Display Tower connected to another full colony. This is called Budding/Eduction. A tube connects the two boxes.

This is an unusual way to do it. With a normal Eduction you direct the bees through the frame or box to which you want them to create a colony. This design directs the bees through a narrow passage and the frames are off to each side.

They are happily traveling through the middle access section and some are investigating the top frame which is a good sign because they haven’t blocked it off. The bottom frame has been blocked off with a clear sheet so they can’t access it.

Update below 29/12/2020

Four months has passed since connection to the mother colony. The bees have been happily using the exit and investigating the top frame but they haven’t been enthusiastic about building a colony in the frame.

Today I noticed new structure and quite a few bees wondering around in the frame. A great sign!

It’s interesting to see what the bees do with new designs. We must have patience 🙂