How Wide Should an Entrance Tube of an Observation Hive Be?
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Angie Waller writes:
Hi, I am building a natural observation hive inside and need to allow the bees to enter. I have read several varying opinions on how long the entry tube can be. I have seen some that were large like a vent pipe for a stove and were several feet long with a small actual entrance and then there are others that say it should never be more than 3/4 of an inch and no longer than 3 feet. Do you have any insight on this? The hive is going to be an approximately 4-foot x 4-foot area and the bees will be left to live naturally with the exception of needing to be fed in winter.
Rusty Burlew replies:
According to the entomology department at the University of Kentucky, the entrance tube of an observation hive should have an outside diameter of 1.25 inches or an inside diameter of 1 inch. The tube should be flush on both ends, without any lip protruding past the entrance hole. Apparently, a protruding lip can cause confusion, and it may dissuade the bees from staying there.
The tube should be nearly level, although it can be sloped slightly to allow blowing rain to drain back to the outside. The tube should be no more than three feet long.
Other websites offer some wiggle room on the tube diameter, saying plus or minus a quarter-inch will work just as well. So anything between three-quarters of an inch to one-and-a-quarter inch inside diameter should work.