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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    98

    Default Moving down into the next box

    My bees have filled up the top box with comb, in fact, they filled the top box quite quickly. However, they don't seem to be going down into the bottom box - I have been expecting them to start drawing comb in the bottom box for a couple of weeks. the hive is real active, and seems to be doing well.

    Any ideas? Do I just sit back and wait - or should I do anything to encourage them to build comb in the lower box.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Any chance you could shift a small piece of comb into the lower box? If there is no flow on feeding would help, but of something is flowering forego the feeding.

    Edit- I am having a similar issue. Moving a comb down is your best bet to get them to move down. As I am in the main flow right now I supered with a seed comb above.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Why not just reverse the boxes. This works fine for thousands of beekeepers and millions of hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    if you have a screened bottom board its to light for them down there. swap boxs and let them move up, or split them and put some frames in each box.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Remember that we are in the warre forum. Nadiring is a fundamental concept of warre hives. I am not against supering a warre but you have to decide how you want to keep bees. Typically in warre hives comb isn't easily movable. So simply splitting the comb between two boxes may not be an easy task. You could simply put a box on top, but again you have to decide how you want to manage your warres. If you put an empty box on top you will likely lose any chance at removing combs. If you seed that box with a comb, the bees will be more likely to draw comb as you desire them to. If you want to stay closer to the warre philosophy you would do nothing. If you want to do something, but stay as close to warre principals as you can then I would put some comb into the lower box.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Okay - I wimped out.... This is my first ever hive. I went out and started taking the hive apart - then added a box to the top because I wasn't sure I wanted to disassemble the entire hive by myself and put another box on the bottom. i was hesitant to take the main box off and set it on the ground with all of the bees zooming around!

    I do wonder if the light coming in from the screen bottom is what is keeping them from moving to the lower box. I think I might go out this weekend and put some poster board underneath the screen.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Cohasset, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I just ran in to this problem myself. The top box was full to the bottom with comb and bees, but even with short foundation starter strips on the bars in the lower box (which have lead to perfectly straight comb above) they would not move down. Given their population I was afraid they might swarm. I used a custom hive tool my extremely tallented wife forged for me to free up the bracing on one bar and moved it down. Within a few hours 1/3 of the lower box was filled with busy bees building new comb on the starter strips. I think the biggest risk to this maneuver is damaging the queen. I had a 1 in 8 chance of her being on the bar I was working with and even going slowly the hive tool could cause collateral damage. I REALY hope to avoid doing this again. This is my first year with a Warre is I didn't see another option. In the future, when harvesting I plan to leave a couple of inches of drawn comb on each bar, and use that to seed the boxes as I nader them- as I have seen recommended on this forum.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Another option is to just do this routinely as a part of your management strategy. It will require you to open the hive, but it should work. What you'd do is shift a comb down into a lower box before things get fully drawn out. When the box is fully drawn, it's hard to do. If you do it before things get fully drawn, it should be easy. I have done just that in the past. Just find a medium sized comb that hasn't attached to the sides yet. May also get easier with time if you extract some.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I too have/am having similar issues....If given the choice, which combs would you move down (comb number one and eight being the ones on the sides)?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Whichever comb you can get out. It will most likely be one on the edges.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Quote Originally Posted by adam@azapiaries View Post
    Why not just reverse the boxes. This works fine for thousands of beekeepers and millions of hives.
    With frames, maybe. With a Warré, putting empties on top risks construction of Tower of Babel comb (built upward from top bars) -- you don't want to go there!

    Try priming subinserted boxes' topbars with beeswax strips (see youtube) or known-disease free comb.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bowling Green, KY
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I did the exact same thing last week, and was VERY sorry I did. They started building comb on top of the top bars of the bottom box AND joined it to the seed comb I had attached to one of the top bars of the supered box. yesterday I had to go in and shave off everything they had done in the last week and it was an awful mess with tons of very angry bees. The worst thing was that numerous bees were killed. Warre is non-invasive for a reason, which is a lesson I (and the bees) have learned the hard way. I'll try to insert a pic of what they had done.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    You should have let them finish it off, fill it with honey, and harvest it. Who cares how they build comb if you are just going to harvest it. I have supered my foundationless Lang with a single comb and every single comb came out ok.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Oh great.....My bees have been frantically building from both the top and bottom of the upper box now. I am hoping that since they are going so strong that I can just hang tight and maybe they will just connect it all the way and I can cut the comb with a fishing wire from the bottom of the upper box when I harvest the box at a later date.

    Like most lessons, it seems that I have to learn them the hard way.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    To avoid the issue of them sitting in one box to perpetuity, I have begun adding boxes on top and the bottom of my Warre hives. When adding on top it is critical that you move at least one comb upward from the box below (or have some on hand) so that they don't build the "Tower of Babel" that A.S. Templeton was describing. It's not foolproof, but it seems to minimize it. I also move a comb down when nadiring. This way they can go whichever direction they'd like.

    Matt

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Norristown PA USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Hey GMCHARLIE I just caught your comment on the light from the screened bottom. I had not heard that before. Can you expand on it any?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    if you have a screened bottom board its to light for them down there. swap boxs and let them move up, or split them and put some frames in each box.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Roxbury, MA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    if you have a screened bottom board its to light for them down there. swap boxs and let them move up, or split them and put some frames in each box.
    I'm having a similar issue - do you think adding a third box to darken the second one would help? Or maybe lemongrass oil? Or some combination of both?
    HoneyintheRox.wordpress.com
    1 KTBH / 4 Foundationless Lang / 1 Warre

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Or maybe a bottom board/slatted rack?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Did Warre address this issue in his writtings? It seems as if the bees just don't naturally move into the bottom box without some assistance.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Strong colonies/large swarms tend to move down without issue. Weaker colonies/smaller swarms tend to be slower or need some coaxing. Warre recommended populating with more bees than the typical 3lb package, so maybe that's part of challenge.

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