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Opening the Warre hive for the first time

Opening the Warre hiveWhen I delved into the Warre hive for the first time last week, I learned why I sometimes see Warre beekeepers with a wire tool a bit like a cheese-slicer.  The boxes aren't as keen on coming apart as Lanstroths are, so I accidentally ripped part of a few combs in half when they stuck to the top bars of the hive body below.  I guess I'll have to rig some kind of wax-slicer for the next time I open the hive...a year from now.

In the meantime, we'll be pouring sugar water down the bees' gullets to make sure they double their winter stores in the next month.  Except for only having only one box full of Warre hive boxhoney, the hive looked quite healthy, with a lot of new workers about to hatch out and get to work collecting ragweed pollen and goldenrod nectar.

I also noticed that my ant problem had been taken care of with a biological control --- a skink moved into the quilt.  I love how the neglect method solves so many farm pest problems.

We bought all of Bradley's father's honey this summer since we want our bees to keep everything they produce during their first year.  I'm debating splitting the hive next year and spending another year without homegrown honey, or trying to find a local nuc next spring to increase our apiary while allowing this first hive to feed us.  Even though the decision seems far in the future, we learned the hard way that tracking down local bees should be started early, so we'll probably choose between our options soon.

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free alternative to traditional filthy waterers.


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