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Warre - new box

 
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What Now?
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Coventry, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:03 am    Post subject: Warre - new box Reply with quote

As I understand it when using a Warre hive you add new boxes on the bottom. If I'm correct about this .... what do I do? I have 2 very full boxes. I added a new one at the bottom at the start of the season and my dear bees have done nothing at all in terms of building comb, taking up residence and enjoying the extra space.

Indeed it seems as if they have started moving into the top 'insulation' space.

Should I worry?; should I do anything else? Is this normal?

I'm tempted to put the empty one on the bottom - onto the top. What do you reckon?

As always - thanks very much.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1525
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can get a bar out from one of your original boxes and move it to the new box and replace the empty bar in the box you took one from they should then move down. Alternatively you can do as you suggest and super instead of nadiring.

Two weeks ago, when I harvested the third box from mine I put the new one on top.

Dave
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mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 268
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard others say the bees can be reluctant to move down although I have not had this happen. I agree with Dave, moving one comb down gives them a ladder to work with and should do the trick. Personally, I would not super with an empty box, but if I had a box of drawn comb, I would. My own garden Ware is doing incredibly well this year. Just had to nadir a fourth empty box as the bees had built down to the floor. Lifting three full boxes to nadir is probably at my physical limit. I shall worry about the next lift if and when they fill that fourth one. Good luck.

PS. What do you mean by building in the insulation space?
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1525
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I shall worry about the next lift if and when they fill that fourth one


I would always harvest some rather than going up to a stack of five boxes. Unless absolutely level too much danger of it tipping over.
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Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Coventry, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks, Thanks a milion for your helpful suggestions. Most grateful.


This afternoon I went down and moved the empty bottom box up to the top.

The top bars were all so well propolised in that taking out a 'bar' to move into the new box felt like it was going to be a lot of effort and the bees seemed unhappy enough as it was.

In that empty bottom box it did look as if some comb making may have just started, but I didn't investigate too closely. I've got 'observation' windows so I'll have a peep next week.

Re: The top 'insulation box'. The Warre hive I have has a box on the top, about 4 inches deep which I am told is like a topper, it's base is / was of hessian and into it I'm told you place 'stuff'. Insulation for the winter - so I did.

If you are getting the feeling that I am pretty new to this and 'finding my way', you are right!!

Thanks again.
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mannanin
Scout Bee


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 268
Location: Essex. UK.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I see what has happened with your insulation area. (Generally known as the quilt.) if the bottom of the quilt is made with hessian/burlap as in the original Warre design, the bees can chew through and gain access into the quilt. If that is the case you should be able to remove the quilt and fit a plastic mesh bottom that will prevent ingress by the bees. I am sure Abbe’ Warre’’ would have done this if plastic mesh was readily available in the 1930’s.
Just to make sure you have this right, you should have your flour pasted hessian cloth directly above the bars of your top box and then place the quilt (now with a plastic mesh bottom) on top of that. Hope that’s all clear.
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Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Coventry, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for this.

What you describe is exactly what has happened; the flour 'soaked' hessian has indeed been chewed through.

I will follow your very good suggestion in a week or so. Thanks.
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Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Coventry, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for your help and suggestions.

I moved the bottom box in which the bees were doing nothing to the top, a super, about 2 weeks ago .......... and still they are not taking up residence and making comb.

There are plenty of bees, coming and going. Should I be concerned or just have faith that 'they know what they are doing', and let them get on with it?

I haven't yet made a plastic mesh for the top which is maybe the next job. The flour soaked hessian is in place but the bees have snuggled in underneath it.

What do you reckon? Thanks again.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1754
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you place any comb or foundation ladders in the top box to encourage the bees to build in it?

When you say....

Quote:
The flour soaked hessian is in place but the bees have snuggled in underneath it.


What exactly do you mean?
Did you replace the flour pasted hessian that had been chewed through or are you saying that they are still partially up inside the quilt and you haven't attempted to replace it yet. If they are up in the quilt, how many bees are up there volume wise? ie. a cup full or a melon size cluster etc? Has some/much/all of the litter dropped out of the quilt and down through the hive and if so, are they building comb up there? If yes, do you know where the queen is? Having a void in the middle of the hive may cause issues if the queen is up top and the brood nest is near the bottom and this could easily have happened when you inserted that box if they do had built comb up there.

It is really difficult to figure out what is going on without seeing it or at least some photos of it.
In my opinion, this is one of the situations that makes a Warre less suitable for a novice beekeeper. The inability to inspect it fully and establish where the queen is and understand what is going on.

It may be that due to the hot dry weather there is a nectar drought and they will not build comb if there is no nectar flow.
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What Now?
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 54
Location: Coventry, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara .. thanks for your reply.

I didn't put any comb in the top box to encourage the bees.

Most of the bars have a line of wax along them; I thought that was a method of trying to encourage the bees to get started.

I didn't replace the hessian that they've built comb under, and I haven't tried to replace it.

I'll need to have a look to see how many bees are up there, but I'd hazard a guess at a tennis ball or a bit bigger, but I don't think a melon.

I don't think anything much has dropped through the hive.

I don't know where the queen is.

I'll maybe try and take some photos, but it wont be until next sunday at the earliest.

At the last look at the hive - I didn't go inside - there still seemed to be plenty of activity.

Thanks for your time and comments.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1754
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are they right up into the quilt then or do you have an eke below the quilt that they can build come in above the top bars of the new box you supered.

Generally if you super a box, you need to provide a ladder or two to encourage them to climb up and then build down. A comb removed from the box below and swapped or a strip of wax foundation fixed to a couple of top bars in the new box and hanging down the full depth of the box somewhere near the middle to draw them up to the top bars above to then cluster and start building downwards. Otherwise they will sometimes build upwards from the top bars in the box below the empty one and that can create problems separating the boxes once they have made some progress. Obviously you are not having that problem since they are not building comb in there at all.

My concern would be that if they started building comb in the quilt and the queen moved up there and then you put a box in between, she will not cross the void created by the empty box to return to the brood nest in the lower boxes and the nurse bees below might start raising an emergency queen in the bottom boxes because the queen has effectively abandoned that part of the brood nest due to your inserting an empty box in between. Of course she might still be in the lower boxes happily laying. Let's hope that is the case. It can be so easy to unwittingly cause a problem like that.
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