Constructing an Observation Bee Hive is written by Malcom T. Sanford, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida. It includes simple plans for building an observation hive, and tips on maintaining a hive if you plan to keep bees in it for longer terms, rather than simply for a display.
(You may recognize Dr. Sanford’s name as the entomologist who updated a classic beekeeping book by Richard E. Bonney for the Storey Publishing company’s Down-to-Earth Guides series in Fall, 2010.)
If for some reason the FullScreen and Download buttons at the top of the embedded document aren’t working for you — those darned computers! — you can download a printable PDF version of this document at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG32000.pdf directly. That way, you’ll be able to see the measurements and instructions on the observation hive plans included.
Build or Buy an Observation Hive
If you’re looking for an alternative style, plans for building a 3-Frame Observation Hive are available free at Bee Source. Also, a fellow on the Beemaster’s International beekeeping forums has posted step-by-step photographs and description of building an observation hive.
Long-time Central Beekeeepers’ Alliance member Earl Gilbey has a four-frame observation hive that may interest and inspire you, too — see Inside An Observation Hive to read about it.
If you’re not into woodworking, you can still enjoy bee-watching as a hobby. you’ll find a remarkably wide range of observation hives for sale at Draper Bee — some of which are quite showy, more like livingroom furniture! — or visit Dadant to see a nice simple 2-frame observation hive priced at just under $100 US (plus shipping, of course).