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

Listening to the Warre hive

Honeybee with pollen

Although we've only had it for a short while, I can tell the Warre hive is good for my beekeeping skills.  I never even considered taking photographs through the screened bottom of my Langstroth hives because I knew I could just take the boxes apart whenever I felt like it, but the camera and I have been making regular visits to the Warre hive to see what's going on inside.  Lately, I've taken to pressing my ear up against each box too, which gives me an indication of where the bees are actively working.  All of this data without bothering the bees at all!

Cluster of beesJust this week, the colony has finally moved down into the new box we gave them three weeks ago.  The slow movement downward tells me that my weight-based guess was right --- the bees hadn't worked on the top box yet at the time we nadired a new box underneath.

Listening at the hive Friday morning, the bottom box roared with bees building comb, the second box roared with bees feeding brood, and the top box produced more of a gentle growl.  I suspect that the bees are using their attic to dehydrate nectar into honey, thus the lower activity levels up top.

In other bee-related news, I never did make a decision about how long to feed our package of bees.  As a result, I'm splitting the difference between the two extremes by letting the colony wait a day or two after each infusion of sugar water.  The white clover is blooming pretty well, but it's been awfully dry here for the last couple of weeks, and I'm just not sure how much nectar the flowers are producing.  My first buckwheat cover crop will probably start blooming in a week or so, at which point, I might cut the bees off their sugar water.

Our chicken waterer keeps the hens happy with POOP-free water.

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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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