Observation hive extraordinaire

Inspiration for Mike’s observation hive.

Do you remember this observation hive? This photo, and several others, was sent to me by Carl Uhlman who had seen the hive when traveling in the Netherlands. Many people fell in love with this monstrosity, and the photos keep reappearing on Pinterest and various other sites.

However, I don’t think anyone was more inspired than Mike Southern. He was so enthralled with this hive that he built one for an education project he was working on. This morning, Mike sent me a link to his Flickr account so I could take a look.

I was bowled over—the size, the workmanship, the design—everything is awesome. You’ve got to see Mike’s photos. Don’t miss them!

What I want to know is how do I get one? It would look great over my dining room table.




There use to be an observation hive long ago at the Science Museum in Raleigh NC. The bees came and went to it through a plexiglass tube right through the wall. It was very interesting for the children (and adults) to watch.


Rusty, that is amazing! I have been searching for an observation hive that is good for the bees and this looks like it!

Darwin Deming

Super cool! I’ve always wanted to have an observation hive like that. Thanks for sharing!


But mike’s observation hive is not nearly as observational as this one… this is amazing… wow..


Fantastic! This definitely is the best observation hive I’ve ever seen!


This is absolutely beautiful! Do you think Mike would share or even sell a copy of his plans?



What do you think?

Mike Southern

I am currently working on a business plan to offer hives of this design with bees, management and an educational input in the area within a 30 mile radius of my home (Just north of Lowestoft, Suffolk in the UK).

I would be very happy for my design to be used further afield – any suggestions as to the best way to share plans on-line, with the facility to collect a modest payment in return?




I will e-mail you with some ideas.


Hello Mike,

I have some friends who have had great success selling things over the Internet using Pay Pal to settle payment.

Mike Southern

Thanks Sharon, I like that idea, I guess it avoids the cost of setting up payment facilities of my own.
I am becoming increasingly aware that I need my own website as well!

I’ve been thinking today about making the hives flat packed all joints and rebates cut but without the glass, whether shipping to the U.S. from the UK would be prohibitively expensive?

Thanks for the input :)



I agree PayPal works well, especially across international boundaries.


I like Carl’s design so much that I am going to try to come up with some drawings on how to build one. This would look awesome in a storefront or office!

Thanks for sharing both Mike’s and Carl’s pictures!




Mike Southern

College Farm is in South East Norfolk in the UK, as far as I’m aware there isn’t a current link to any college.