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Why are the bees not going down?

 
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mrspicklebockle
House Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 23
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:58 pm    Post subject: Why are the bees not going down? Reply with quote

I added a new box to my warre hive weeks ago and despite the other boxes being packed to the rafters (and possible QC spotting) they are not building down? Any ideas why? Could there be something about the bottom box/ entrance that they don't like? Should I replace it?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

I'm no Warre expert but I believe many people experience this problem. The solution is to move a comb or two into the bottom box to encourage them to go down or place the new box on top... ie super instead of nadir. You will need to supply a couple of the top bars with a full length strip of wax/foundation to act as ladders if you super it, to encourage them to build comb from the top down rather than the bottom up in that box, or transfer a couple of bars with combs from the box below (outside bars are probably best to ensure there is no brood in them).

Of course you can always just leave them as they are but be prepared to catch and hive the swarms that will no doubt emerge in due course.

Bees don't necessarily prefer to live in such a large cavity in my experience.... why else would a swarm opt for the 40litre cavity over a bigger one. Increasing the volume of the hive thereafter is for the beekeeper's benefit, to increase honey production. A colony will happily live and thrive in 2 Warre boxes and swarm multiple times each year. They just won't produce an excess honey harvest. They don't realise they are supposed to pay a tythe to their landlord!!

So basically, no, there is nothing wrong with your bottom box, they just don't need it for their purposes..... which is survival and swarming. 2 boxes are enough to survive winter and build up sufficiently to swarm and then fill with honey to get them through the next winter....

Good luck with them whatever you do and keep us posted with how it goes

Best wishes,

Barbara
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This hive is either too weak or it simply already decided to swarm. (Nadiring has been done way too late.)

You need to nadir in mid March latest. Once they are in a swarm mode, they swarm. So expect a swarm in the next weeks.

In a lot of cases, the hives are simply too weak. Keep strong hives and you never experience difficulties to accept and fill a nadired box.

I don't think emaciated hives are natural but strong thriving hives are. What else do you find in wild animals in general.

Could you post some pictures of the colony? A quick look may reveal some more details.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernhard you are indeed the king of the warré, but I would suggest that saying "keep strong hives" to someone having difficulties is as useful as saying "buy a winning lottery ticket" to someone with no money. We play the numbers we have.
Sometimes they don't go down. From all the posts I have read there seems to be no one obvious reason. Some bees suit warré management techniques some do not. I beliebe evwn bernhard only nadirs his colonies the first year then supers the second. He wrote a really good article on it which is on the forum somewhere.
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mrspicklebockle
House Bee


Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 23
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:09 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks so much you three- food for thought Smile

I'd be really keen to read the article about "nadiring colonies the first year then supers the second." I'l try and find it but I'd be grateful if anyone has a link to it Smile
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Fyrefly
New Bee


Joined: 28 May 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Parkland County, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Were you able to find that article on nadiring? I am in the same boat.
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Robert
Guard Bee


Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 66
Location: USA, Spring Branch, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the same issues with getting them to move down. I had "ladders" of foundation in each box yet they would not move down. I kept looking in the observation windows and the top boxes just kept getting packed fuller. When they decided to move down they finally did, not when I thought they should but when they knew it was time. I've also had them build in the bottom box first and then move up when they felt like it. Good luck.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fyrefly wrote:
Were you able to find that article on nadiring? I am in the same boat.


Sorry for the delay on this. I couldn't find the article anywhere on the forum but did (eventually) find a pdf copy I had squirreled away somewhere. I have asked Bernhard permission to share it as it is expressly his work. I do not know how to share pdf but have put it on my blog to view.

http://augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/the-ponderings-of-bernhard/

With regard to them moving down. This is a common complaint of new warré-ers. Ladders certainly seem to help but from what I have found in my extremely limited experienced it is all about timing. Just putting a box on garentees nothing. My warré did nothing last year. They were a small June cast swarm that filled a single warré box very quickly and then did nothing. They then successfully over wintered and are now building down into the box below. Having said that the warré my dad has was populated one month ago with a prime swarm and they moved down very quickly into the second box and have been given a third. Timings for the colony and timings for the nectar flows are essential.
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Fyrefly
New Bee


Joined: 28 May 2015
Posts: 6
Location: Parkland County, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for finding that article. And thanks to Bernhard for sharing as well.
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