Have you ever wondered how a bee colony works? Have you ever seen one up close and personal? I know I haven’t and quite honestly, I never gave it much thought until I attended the North Carolina Maker Faire last year. That was where my husband and I met Jimmy Chalmers, a bee-keeper.
So what does bee-keeping have to do with being a maker? Everything, if you want to see how bee colonies thrive and watch them make honey! I spoke to Mr. Chalmers about his latest project that involves building a new type of observation hive for bees.
“A natural/wild hive is never seen by the human eye.” He explained. “They are deep in hollow trees, tucked under rock faces or in the walls of old structures. Without X-ray vision, it would be impossible to see and observe the bees in daily living.”
A standard built observation hive generally only has three or four frames of bees. Because of its small size, the hive cannot sustain itself long term and can only be maintained for approximately two years. Jimmy has now been working on a design for an observation hive that has five frames of bees in an enclosed ‘dark’ hive body, with an additional 2-3 frame observation hive sitting on top. The new design provides more frames for the bees and the production of honey, and who doesn’t like the idea of more honey?
His design also consists of frames that are stacked vertically, with both sides visible. This will allow the observer to watch the bees carry out their daily work in keeping their small colony viable, and for a longer period of time. Pretty awesome if you ask me!
To learn more about Mr. Chalmers and bee-keeping in general, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/frontporch_bees and look for him at Maker Faire NC this June.