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

Should I harvest honey from a new package hive?

Accidental self

This is what I look like when I accidentally take a picture of myself running away from the bee hive after sticking a camera underneath and disturbing about a hundred bees who were sheltering there since they didn't fit inside.

Bees building combThe smaller photo is the picture I took up through the hive bottom before the flash set the bees off.  That's right, our strongest hive has already partially drawn out the comb on their fourth Warre box (equivalent to a Langstroth super in size).  I was alerted to the congestion by the now-typical bearding at the hive entrance, which brings me to my conundrum of the day.

I definitely need to add a new box to this hive since the fall nectar flow just keeps getting better.  The question is, do I cut down a Langstroth box to make a fifth Warre box (relatively easy since I ordered extra top bars this summer, but potentially heavy lifting to get a new box underneath); do I take the unused fourth box from the hive that Napping catswarmed this spring (easy, but risks bothering that hive twice for no reason if the nectar flow continues long enough that they need a fourth box despite their slow start); or do I harvest one box of honey from the strong hive and then put the empty back underneath?  I was leaning toward option one until I realized how hard it would be to lift up three full (and one partially full) Warre boxes to get a new one underneath.  All suggestions (except for Huckleberry's admonition that we should all just finish our naps) are appreciated.

Our automatic chicken waterer makes it easy to leave home for the weekend without worrying about your flock.

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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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I'd lean toward harvesting one box and letting them fill it back up. I don't have the strength or the boxes to do big stacks of supers, so we keep an eye on things and skim off the extra to harvest a little at a time. That said, we're novices and work with lang boxes, so my 'advice' isn't worth much.
Comment by Robin E. Thu Aug 22 08:06:47 2013

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