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

Nadiring a strong hive

Honeybees with orange pollen

I slipped out just before dark to take a photograph under our three-box Warre hive to see if bearding really meant they were running out of room inside.  It's a good thing the bees were slowing down for the night, because even the underside of the screened bottom was coated with bees!  The out-of-focus photo below is the best shot I could get inside, but it's pretty easy to see that the bees needed more room.

Congested hive

Unfortunately, the next day it rained.  A two-hour break in showers was enough to get the bees out and moving, so I figured I'd be able to nadir the hive, even though I knew they'd be unruly.  I suited up very carefully because overcast days are the worst time to open up a hive, and the bees were definitely displeased with my actions.  Good thing I've got a few years of beekeeping under my belt now and know to just take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and let those angry ladies batter themselves vainly against my veil.

Worker beesI didn't want to bother the colony longer than necessary since the bees were so upset, so I just plopped the fourth box underneath and went to peer at the entrance.  Warre hives have smaller openings than Langstroth hives do, and this is one day the bees could probably have used more room.  There was a traffic jam of bees coming and going, but I was able to see a lot of brilliant yellow-orange pollen on several of the incoming bees.  Sounds like the colony is still beefing itself up by raising more brood --- here's hoping they don't eat through their winter stores too quickly with so many new mouths to feed.

I haven't written much about my other two hives in a while, but that's because they aren't as busy.  The workers are all out harvesting the current nectar-and-pollen source, but I don't see any signs that either hive might be running out of room.  If anything, I might end up taking the fourth box out from under our two-year-old hive and giving it to our package hive if both colonies keep acting the same way in the near future --- the package hive has been filling boxes like crazy, while the two-year-old hive seems quite content to use two-and-a-bit boxes for the foreseeable future.

Our chicken waterer is perfect for chicks from day 1, preventing drowning and disease.

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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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