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New Bee

Joined: 03 Jul 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:43 pm    Post subject: What to do next? Reply with quote

I am extremely new to beekeeping and built my first Warre hive this winter and subsequently installed approx. 5lbs of bees and a queen in May. Around the beginning of June I nadired a third box, and have not inspected my hive since. Having said this, the hive seems extremely active, there a lots of bees flying in and out w/pollen. I was told that a Warre hive should not overwinter with more than 2 boxes, so my dumb question is how am I supposed to reduce the size of my hive this fall to 2 boxes? I have Mr. Heaf's books and several others but I am confused on what to do. Any advised would be appreciated.
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Golden Bee

Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1551
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually my Warre on three boxes. Any more and I would have to strap the hive down to the floor to cope with the winds we get even if this is only on three or four days spread over the winter/spring. If I did want to reduce the hive to two boxes, I would put a clearer board with bee escapes in it between the top two boxes and then when all the bees had gone down, harvest the honey from the top box. I only have one Warre hive and the queen often lays in the bottom three boxes so, it is four and five that I tend to harvest.

Hope that helps.

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Scout Bee

Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 289
Location: USA, Colorado, Denver

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to beekeeping in a Warré!
Long story short, I have always overwintered with 4 boxes. I found that the two additional boxes allow for a buffer zone between the cold air at the entrance and where the bees are clustered. I’ve seen my colonies cluster below the comb, down in the next empty box. The winters here in Colorado can be quite cold, therefore the buffer zone helps the bees. Having the boxes in place before they ramp up production in the Spring means that I don’t have to bother them during that timeframe.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

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4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.