Observation Window for Hexagonal Beehive




Introduction: Observation Window for Hexagonal Beehive

About: Variety Show of content; always original, usually unique, sometimes silly. For lots more content, join me on locals.com! (NHgoodlife is link)

A few months ago I built a really cool Hexagonal Beehive(and won lots of prizes on Instructables for it!)


It was now time to build another box to give them more room to build comb.

This time I wanted to incorporate an observational window so I could see what those fuzzy little girls were up to.

Step 1: Measure and Create New Sides

I guess I could have referred to my 'ible, but I thought a photo with a tape measure of the subject at hand would be more relevant.

Same process as before, marking a pencil line on my saw platform took the guesswork out of making precision cuts.

Step 2: Cut Out Door

I figured the easiest method would be to cut out the door with the bandsaw.

I had to cut through, so no problem with reattaching it with a dowel and some glue.

I let that dry for maybe an hour.

Step 3: Planing and Window Cutting

The door piece was too small to run through my new planer, so I ran it through my jointer. Worked great!

I needed to shave the same amount off as the piece of plexiglass that I'd be laying against it.

Using the cutout door as a guide, I made a slightly larger square outline onto the scrap plexiglass that I had.

I cut that out on the bandsaw. I didn't realize or forgot how smelly that was. I realized that when I came back into the shop to do more work. I mention this so that if you ever need to cut plexiglass, Ventilate!

Step 4: Insert Window Into Side Panel

I just used a box cutter as guide scores to route out the small grooves to allow the plexiglass to recess into.

I then used my chisel and wooden mallet to finish the work, then sanded with a hasp file to clean things out.

I decided against using stinky glue to adhere the plexi onto the wood. The silver Pella tape I used, I believe which is intended for roofing applications, worked like a charm.

Step 5: Assemble Box

With my Hexagonal hive I attached the sides in a professional, clean way; I used biscuit joinery. I didn't have the time or patience for this now. The bees were running out of room and need an additional box quickly.

I glued everything flush, tightened with a ratchet clamp, then used my nail gun to insert a bunch of 2" nails through(the tiny, finishing kind).

Step 6: Handles, Both Kinds

By both I mean the handle for the door, and also lift handles for the new hive box. Again, I wasn't going for fancy, as my previous copper handles, but strictly quick and functional.

I used picture hangers as swing/latch locks for the door and a leftover bell hanger for the "pull knob".

I glued small wooden rectangles of leftover cedar for the box lift handles, also nailing them in.

Step 7: The Slats

I didn't router the tops as I had before to allow the slats to sit into. I only wanted half the amount of frames, so figured I could just hand-chisel a groove out to allow them to sit into.

I first thought I would individually create their seats, but that was dumb as the whole groove was much easier to just chisel out all at once. I then glued the spacers(for bee space) in between them.

Step 8: This Was Unfun!

I am not a fan of disturbing the bees. I really hated this part. Disturbing my beautiful, happy girls, and possibly crushing a few in the process.

: (

I tried to pick up the main hive boxes - but they were too heavy! My bees are apparently very happy and productive!

They had pretty much run out of space; I should have done this a month ago.


Anyway, I finally accomplished inserting the new box without getting stung or crushing more than a handful of bees(that's the part I hate!) The bottom unit is turned one side too many, but they will figure it out just fine, it is really just an aesthetic thing for me.

This is a picture of the observational window. They were really active and busy just 2 hours later, figuring out their new addition. I mean, I basically rearranged their living room and dining room - How would you react?!

The photo seemed nice at the time, but being reflective, it seems to have captured the trees, rocks and even my shoes. Even though, the energy of the bees should be apparent, and my view of them was very clear.

Outside Contest 2016

Participated in the
Outside Contest 2016

Outdoor Structures Contest

Participated in the
Outdoor Structures Contest

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Participated in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Unusual Uses Contest

    Unusual Uses Contest
  • Robots Contest

    Robots Contest
  • Reclaimed Materials Contest

    Reclaimed Materials Contest



Question 8 months ago on Step 8

I like your design and the execution looks great. I will be bee keeping for the first time this spring and am gather info on, "how to". Do you incorporate a queen excluder to separate brood and honey supers? If not, and if you can where would you put one in your design?
All the best, Robert


Answer 8 months ago

No, no queen excluder. Seemed unnatural. Good luck and have fun!


Reply 8 months ago

karen and I both admire your hive design and I did a bunch of reading on Warre hive management and now understand that an excluder is unnecessary. I hope my build turns out as nice as your's. Love the windows.


5 years ago

The observation window should be facing the back of the hive (optimally). Bees sense threats around the entrance.

Neat idea and well executed. It really fits in with the asethicic of the hive.


Reply 5 years ago

It is in the back-ish. The gable is now not over the entrance. The hex boxes were really heavy with goodness, and so I couldn't make that final turn up and around without anxiety of crushing more of the innocent cuties. : )


5 years ago

Such a good idea!

I have windows on some of my hives and it really gives you a little glimpse into their amazing world. Especially good for new beekeepers or those, like me, switching from Langstroth to Warre.

You'll have to update us on their progress through the dog days of summer!