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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vashon Island, WA, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to the forum.... Lots of great information here!
    I was having the same problem getting my bees to move down into the bottom box. I recently saw in a few of Phil Chandler's videos that he was using wood chips and other organic matter in the bottom of some of his hives as an experiment in creating habitat for beneficial critters that normally exist in feral hives.
    I built a screened bottom "sump" of sorts with an entrance notched at the top and filled it with wood chips and pine needles. I am waiting to see if this might encourage them to use at least part of the bottom box????? I am hoping this will solve the light issue and still provide some ventilation without it being too breezy to keep warm. It may also absorb excess moisture if needed. I live near Seattle so excess moisture is always an issue. We'll see.?
    I tried to insert some pictures but it's not working ; (

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    East Lansing Michigan USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    The Warre Store posted this on their Facebook page...

    Although your bees will likely build out the upper hive body in no time (often only a week or so), they will not immediately follow-up by building out the lower one. Folks sometimes become concerned that the bees are not moving down as quickly as they think they should, but here's why: Your bees will not build more comb than they can protect and cover. Once they've built out the top box and the queen has laid all of that comb up with brood, the bees will cover and care for that brood until it emerges. Once there is a larger bee population (about a month after the initial installation), construction will begin in the lower body. Don't get impatient and don't switch the hive body positions, putting the upper below the lower. This seems to be a popular thing to do, but if you do this with a Warre top-bar hive, the bees will likely build upward into the top box and cause a real mess. If you're using a modified hive with foundation, you can change the box positions without this concern, but it isn't necessary and may not speed things up much anyway.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newberg, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I'm a total beginner, this is my first season with bees and I have them in 2 warre hives. During one inspection the top box had 6 bars built with the middle 4 already attached to the sides. I took a smaller outside bar out and moved it down a box. The bees continued building the top box and by the time they were working on bar 8, they were already working on the smaller one I'd moved down. Since then they've started two more next to it in box 2 (from the top). When that box gets 75% built, I'll probably move a small unattached comb piece down again.

    My second hive was started from a local swarm and is a bit behind. But earlier in the week I did the same thing in their hive. They do use that small comb piece as a ladder and should start working on it again in a couple of more weeks.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Here's what I think is happening, as I have experienced with my Warre as well as my Langstroths:

    The colony starts on installation with a limited number of workers to build comb, forage, nurse the brood, etc. They will build enough comb for the queen to lay in and for storage of nectar and pollen. The population will decline initially until the hatch-out rate exceeds the mortality rate of the older bees. It doesn't make sense for them to make more comb than they need to fill their current needs, since they can only keep a limited amount of brood warm. Once the first brood cycle emerges, you will see a dramatic increase in population, and you also will see the beginning of rapid expansion of comb, but it still may not extend into the second box. Now the queen has much more room to lay in for the next brood cycle, and the population will again increase dramatically in another three weeks along with another expansion of comb. When they need the space to expand into the second box is really just a matter of the starting population. They do not need any encouragement to expand into the second box. It's all a matter of population and how much brood they can tend to and keep warm with the existing population. They will expand into the next box when they are ready.

    Ricky
    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Finally a reasonable explaination. Makes total sense. Thanks Ricky.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    East Lansing Michigan USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Warre Store posted again on this subject:

    I think the biggest myth in beekeeping is that "bees like to move up" when building their nest. This is absolutely false! Bees absolutely do NOT prefer to move upward and if given the option, will always start building their combs at the top of a space and move down! In Langstroth beekeeping, the bees are FORCED to move upward by starting with only one hive body and then adding to the top of the hive after that first body is mostly built out. If you start a Langstroth hive with two boxes stacked, the bees will build out the top box first and then move downward. This is the natural way they work. It IS true that bees HATE to have vacant space above the brood nest, so when an empty box is added to the top of a hive they will (usually-not always) work diligently to fill it.

  7. #47

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Best is to try and see yourself. My way is: nadir in the first year, super in the second year. It is the best way to get decent, healthy and strong colonies. At least in my region. (All beekeeping is local.)

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Hi Bernhard, can you explain why you feel it's better to super in the second year? Is it a matter of established colonies being better able to handle the air space above the brood nest? Or does a space above the brood nest encourage an established hive comfortable on it's comb to make new comb?

  9. #49

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    In the first year the bees establish a nest. That is not the case in the second year. The nest is established and there is no other worry than foraging for honey, increasing brood and multiplying by swarming. So in the first year it works pretty well to nadir the new boxes. Under some circumstances this can be true in the second year, too. If the bees winter on an unestablished nest, say because the nest has been started late in the season, they go down pretty well with wintered wax builders. (Skeppists do this by shaking bees at the end of Octobre.) Or if the Spring flow is really bad. No flow, not much building. A nadired box prevents the bees from swarming. The combs build in a nadired box in Spring with a weak flow are useless, most of the time. Lots of drone comb and combs with wider cells than normal. No good for any brood and you seldomly find brood in it. I use such boxes to super when the main flow hits, so the cells get used for storing honey in them.

    Bees like to store honey overhead, simple as that. So if there is no interest in building the brood nest downwards, there certainly is an interest to increase the honey comb space above the broodnest. The good thing about supering is, that you prevent the broodnest from backflooding with nectar. So you keep the queen on laying eggs, so swarm tendencies are low. That is especially true for older queens. Young vigirous queens lay eggs at a fast rate, outrunning the incoming nectar most of the times. Older queens can't keep the pace. Supering helps in both cases.

    If your main flow is late in summer, than you can nadir, let them swarm early (or do splits by the boxes) and increase hive numbers before the flow. Where I live there is a Spring flow only. Very early. Supering helps in this case.

    All beekeeping is local and one has to try different things, working out the optimum. As a rule of thumb and it works pretty well in many locations: First year nadiring, second year supering.

    Try to super first with drawn comb. You can use half-finished boxes from the bottom, not finished last summer for example. Once it depopulates when clustering for winter I take those boxes and store them during winter just to super them next Spring. After they took the super I super again the next one. Can be starter strips with some sort of ladder.

    I suppose in a natural setting the bees fill any cavaties with lots and lots of comb. A lot of comb space seems most natural to me. Bees entering a cavity fill it with comb in the first year. Another swarm may enter the same cavity and fill it with more comb. And so on. So in the end there are huge combs.

    Bees can buffer incoming nectar in empty combs that I call buffer space. Temporary storing space. The broodnest can increase while the honey stores get refilled for the next winter. (Also note that the water content is reduced, so for 1 part of honey four parts of nectar must be stored temporarily.)

    In a manmade bee hive the space is very limited and backfilling of the broodnest occurs quickly. That is a manmade problem. (Since we can't transport full tree trunks...we have to use smaller hives.)

    This calls for manmade - called it unnatural if you like - solutions like supering. In my experience in my location it helps the hives thriving. I get a honey harvest, strong hives. Nadiring only produced no harvests, barely enough winter stores for the bees (often I had to feed) and weakened hives with health problems. Of course a lot depends on the nectar flow situation where you live. Mine is Spring flow and nothing after.

    Nadir in the first year of establishment of the hive and super in the following years. Give it a go.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    angola,ny
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Is it recommended to move 2 drawn frames from the bottom brood box into the top (newly added) brood chamber to entice them 'up' there? And when should I stop feeding them? Our weather here NE continues to be cool bet 60-70F.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Hi Cacklewack,
    I think these are your hive kits I bought last year. I had some problems getting the bees to go into the next box also. I didn't want to use foundation and I didn't have much comb...so I built some cedar "t-posts", melted wax on them and used a few precious pieces of comb 'welded' to the t-posts. It worked so well, I've now got a honey bound problem which I will fix in a couple of days. I took some photos to illustrate.
    http://solarbeez.com/2013/06/19/honey-bound/
    I like your hive kits and added the second Warre (the one on the right) this year.

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    After reading about the "Tower of Babel" problem, I realized that was ME in spades. I had finally got the bees to move, but it was always UP. They would start building upward to connect comb to the t-post ladders I had built. Not cool. I knew I would have to deal with it sooner or later, but thanks to Bernhard I think I managed it by using a thin stainless-steel wire tied onto two broom stick pieces of wood and 'sawing it back and forth.' Very little damage to the bees or the comb. The hardest part was cracking the boxes apart to slip the wire between.
    I took some pictures and video to illustrate.
    http://solarbeez.com/2013/06/26/fixi...bound-problem/
    I was tempted to harvest that beautiful honeycomb, but held off. If the bees fill the empty box during this blackberry nectar flow, I'll harvest the top box. If not, that'll be their winter stores.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    To DARB, I wouldn't be too quick to accept the explanation you posted from the Warre Store. I say this because if you removed the top bars from the lower boxes the bees will continue to build. If the Warre store quote was accurate then the bees would stop building with or without the lower top bars in place. I believe the reason they stop building is because they perceive the top bars in the lower boxes to be the floor of the hive. Many of the solutions presented here like moving comb, or building "bridge" like solarbeez described is a much better solution.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I don't think they see it as a floor, I think they see it as an obstruction. It gets in the way of their ability to keep everything tight together.

    In my experience they do move down to the next box but it takes them longer. If there is eggs or honey in the box below they seem to build egg or honey combs right beside it instantly.

    Lots of bees hang out in a empty bottom box and pass through it to go to the entrance. It might be a matter of the young comb building bees are a bit shy to travel over obstructions?

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    @Beekeeping is good - whether it's a floor or obstruction is almost a matter of semantics. The result is the same. The bees don't move down into the successive boxes as rapidly as (we think) they should.

    Your statement "In my experience they do move down to the next box but it takes them longer" actually identifies the crux of this thread. Why does it take them longer? More importantly, what can we do to eliminate this apparent reticence to build in successive boxes (aside from removing the top bars as described above)??

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopsbees27 View Post
    @Beekeeping is good - whether it's a floor or obstruction is almost a matter of semantics. The result is the same.
    It's an important distinction. The result might be the same but the solution, if any, might be different.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    something I learned this year. pull a small piece of comb while you still can. early after hiving before its attached to anything but one bar, keep in a safe place and when nadering, you can easily add this as one of the bars. Now if I could only figure out how to pick up 4 boxes, alone, to nader!

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bethany, OK
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    I've returned to beekeeping after 30 years when I kept bees for an FFA project for a few years. Decided to go the Warre route. I installed a BeeWeaver package in April. In early May, to encourage my bees to move into the second box, I moved a couple of frames down. But when adding the third box, everything was propolized down tight and so I just nadired the box.

    I read this thread back in late May when I noticed that my bees had not moved down into the third box. So I closed the screened bottom. They were pretty aggressive that day, and since I'd been checking them pretty much bi-weekly, I decided to quit messing with them and let them do their business.

    Now it's August and I noticed what I thought was some comb being built down onto the bottom. I decided it might would be a good idea to add a fourth box. Since it is so hard to look and see what's going on, I put my little video camera in the box that I set the hive one when adding a box.

    After adding the fourth box and getting everything cleaned up, I went in and watched the video - much to my surprise and chagrin, the third box has no comb in it. Yikes - here it is middle of August and I'm now worried about them not having enough stores for winter. The hive felt like >50 pounds lifting it - but only two boxes.

    Now I have two boxes drawn on top and two empty on the bottom. Am I in trouble?

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shavertown, Pa, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    DrDWilliams, I don't believe you are in any trouble at all. I am attaching a picture from one of our Warre's that I took on March 9th 2013. The colony was hived from a small swarm on Father's Day of last year (2012). It failed to fill even one box by autumn. We were certain that this colony and one just like it were doomed. Clearly there were not enough honey stores, bees, etc... We were delighted to find that we were dead wrong about how much the bees need to survive winter. Specifically the prolonged cold, miserable winter we just experienced here in Northeast Pennsylvania - a winter that provided frost on Memorial Day weekend before finally letting go. Both of these hives have expanded rapidly this year and are doing just fine. The other 8 Warre hives in our apiary all came through the winter as well. I don't believe you have anything to worry about. We have had Warre hives since 2009. We have seen multiple hives overwinter on 1 box of stores, and the aforementioned 2 hives over wintered on far less. Good luck! Chris - Sweet Valley Hives

    P.s. windows in the boxes are an incredible upgrade for answering the "what's going on in there" question.

    image.jpg

  20. #60

    Default Re: Moving down into the next box

    Quote Originally Posted by DrDwilliams View Post
    ... not moved down ...were pretty aggressive that day, ...lifting it - but only two boxes.
    Just guessing, but it seems the colony requeened by themselves. Supersedure. Or swarming.

    Lifting: I never lift more than one box. So I dismantle the hive, turn the boxes upside down (like a skep) and have a brilliant view on what is going on. You also put the boxes on their side for a detailled and decent inspection.

    This way (this a German Warré beekeeper):



    That colony was started in June 2013.

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