The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Installing a package into a Warre hive

Queen cage in Warre hiveIf you understand the basics of bee package installation, putting a package into a Warre hive is absurdly simple.  You'll want to start with two boxes, with top bars in place in the bottom box and absent in the top box.  Set aside the cover and quilt for now and get your package ready.

After prepping your queen cage, simply lay it flat on the top bars of the bottom box.  You don't want to set the queen cage on the bottom of the entire hive because she'll need bees to cluster around her for warmth during the first couple of nights before she chews her way free, and the bees will prefer to hang out above the ground.

Now pour the worker bees into the empty top box.  This procedure becomes much more complex if you made your Warre hive in the traditional manner, with fixed frames.  In that case, you either have to pour bees into an inverted top box and flip it into place, or run the bees up a Replace top bars in Warre hivewhite sheet or towel into the box.  Luckily, Mark installed pins in my Warre hive so I can move the frames as needed.  I'll still keep my  hands off as much as possible to maintain the integrity of the hive.

With the queen and workers in place, you can replace the bars in the upper box.  This would be a good time to have a bee brush on hand, but it also works to just lower top bars slowly enough that bees can escape out from under them.

Inner cover in Warre hive

Blowing is another method of getting bees out of your way as you place the burlap inner cover, then the quilt box on top of the hive.

Quilt and roof of Warre hive

Entrance feederWe filled our quilt box with straw, but you can use any insulative material.  (It's best to do that before the bees are buzzing around your head.)  The roof slides right down over top of the quilt, sealing the insulative material in with an inner mouse board, but allowing air to flow under the eaves.

The entrance feeder for my Langstroth hive fit into the mouth of the Warre hive once I put a cinderblock underneath to support it.  This narrows the entrance quite a bit, so I'll probably find another place for the feeder once the bees are really up and running, but it'll be good enough for now.

Weekend HomesteaderStay tuned for tomorrow's post, which covers removing the queen cage and making sure the first combs are being built straight.

Meanwhile, don't forget to preorder a copy of my paperback, chock full of projects to make your homesteading adventure a success.

This post is part of our Bee Package lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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