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2016.12.30 - Initial posting of the project page.
Apid Research Platform
A top bar observation hive built to test various design ideas and collect data.
Status: Testing
License(s):
Scale Diagram CC-BY-NC
,
Images CC-BY-SA
Binaries: Scale Drawing
Fig.1 - Honey bees in the Apid Research Platform building new comb.
Fig.1 - Honey bees in the Apid Research Platform building new comb.

The Apid Research Platform allows for long-term observation of a honey bee colony with minimal disturbance. The design has been described as a "hive in a box" and that statement is largely accurate. The inner portion is similar to that of a traditional top bar hive, but constructed of glass instead of wood. This is entirely enclosed in an outer, insulated wooden shell.

Some other design features included in the Apid Research Platform are: a screened bottom area to allow waste and mites to fall through, rigid foam insulation on all sides to allow better thermal regulation, locking side observation doors, removable roof and floor, and specially designed bar rails and top bars to mitigate bee death from accidental crushing.


Fig.2 - The frame of the outer shell.
Fig.2 - The frame of the outer shell.

Fig.3 - The inner glass portion is similar in design to a traditional top bar hive.
Fig.3 - The inner glass portion is similar in design to a traditional top bar hive.

Fig.4 - An interior view of the entrance holes to the hive.
Fig.4 - An interior view of the entrance holes to the hive.

Fig.5 - Exterior view of the outer shell and one of the doors that allow observation of the colony. Silicone caulking affixes the glass panes to the metal rails.
Fig.5 - Exterior view of the outer shell and one of the doors that allow observation of the colony. Silicone caulking affixes the glass panes to the metal rails.

Fig.6 - Is this a falcon-wing door or a gull-wing door? Whatever it is, when the doors are open the colony is able to be safely observed.
Fig.6 - Is this a falcon-wing door or a gull-wing door? Whatever it is, when the doors are open the colony is able to be safely observed.

Fig.7 - A new top bar design that will be tested in the Apid Research Platform.
Fig.7 - A new top bar design that will be tested in the Apid Research Platform.

Fig.8 - The top bars sit below the top of the hive.
Fig.8 - The top bars sit below the top of the hive.

Having the upper surfaces of the top bars be both concave and recessed was done to mitigate bee casualties when opening and manipulating the hive. When traditional hives are opened for inspection, honey bees can get smashed on any number of flat surfaces on the top bars or the hive. By having the top bars sit on the corner of a metal rail and by minimizing flat contact surfaces, inadvertant bee deaths should be reduced or elimininated.


Fig.9 - A screened bottom.
Fig.9 - A screened bottom.

Fig.10 - Another reason for top bars that sit below the upper surface of the hive is to fit a layer of rigid foam insulation.
Fig.10 - Another reason for top bars that sit below the upper surface of the hive is to fit a layer of rigid foam insulation.

Fig.11 - Tango two-niner requesting permission to land.
Fig.11 - Tango two-niner requesting permission to land.

Fig.12 - A colony of bees is settling into their new residence. This view shows the completed aluminum roof of the hive as well as the wood box in which the bees arrived.
Fig.12 - A colony of bees is settling into their new residence. This view shows the completed aluminum roof of the hive as well as the wood box in which the bees arrived.

On warm days when flowers are in bloom, activity outside the hive can become quite vigorous.

A more typical scene of activity outside the hive.

Q & A

What kind of research is being done with this hive?

Novel top bar designs intended to produce straighter comb and reduce bee casualties when manipulating the hive have already been tested. Studies regarding population variations throughout the year are ongoing.


How do I build one?/How much does it cost to build?

This hive was purpose-built for research and is not intended to be a DIY project. Nevertheless, the available scale diagram and images should be sufficient if one wishes to replicate it.



Notes