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

Swapping Warre hive boxes


In the wild, honeybees start at the top of a cavity and build their comb straight down.  When we add supers on top of a Langstroth hive, we're asking our bees to do something counterintuitive, and sometimes they balk, especially if you're asking bees to build without foundation.  Warre hives usually prevent this problem since you nadir (add boxes below) instead of super (add boxes above), but the first few weeks after package installation, I generally see the same issue.  Which is all a long way of explaining why I opened up the hive rather than just putting a new box underneath when a photo up through the bottom showed that the bottom box, at least, was crammed full of comb.

Building comb up

Sure enough, the top box was completely empty...except for two bits of comb that the bees had started building up from top bars of the box below.  I scraped away those pieces of comb, put the quilt onto this full box (now the top box), and added the empty box underneath.  I didn't perform this swap last year, and I suspect that's why I ripped comb apart when I finally opened up the hive to inspect in September.

I think the technique for installing a package in a Warre hive could be tweaked to prevent the need to swap the boxes a couple of weeks in.  Or perhaps I should just automatically swap the boxes when I take out the queen cage a couple of days later.  I'll ponder that for the future, and will enjoy our happy bees for now.

The Avian Aqua Miser is Mark's invention to prevent handling manure and worrying over chickens running out of water.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

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.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.