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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    I went out and checked on my first Warre hive yesterday. I started them late April with a package and checking them yesterday I found 2 fully drawn boxes and a half drawn box. The top box is quite heavy and is mostly honey judging from weight. I smoked the bottom of comb a bit and found some capped brood but I can't imagine there are two many in there. The second box down was lighter with more brood as far as I could tell (tried not to disturb them much.) The half drawn 3rd box looked to have 4 fully drawn comb or so which I didn't inspect and just left it where it sat. Considering we had about a 5 week drought in Michigan this summer I am happy with how well they seem to be doing.

    Overall the bees seemed very healthy, active, and are still foraging aggressively. Each comb is completely covered with bees from top to bottom in all boxes. They are situated next to a field of golden rod which has just started to bloom so I am assuming I have 4+ weeks of nectar available provided the weather stays warm. Presently my plans are to check the hive again when the golden rod stops blooming and harvest the top box (provided it does not contain brood) and leave the 2nd and 3rd boxes (assuming the bees have finished drawing the 3rd box out.) So I have two questions?

    1: Is it reasonable to expect the bees to finish the third box so I can take the 1st and leave them with 2 fully drawn boxes?
    2: How confident should I be in them having enough stores for the winter if the top box contains only honey at harvest time when they would just be finishing what would be their second of two wintering boxes?
    Last edited by Ambassador; 08-26-2012 at 03:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Thought I would toss a few pictures of the hive on here for good measure...=)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,297

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Since this is a first year hive and there seems to be a large number of bees in the hive I believe if it were me I would just let them have all three boxes to go through the winter. You are further north than I am and your winters are longer, they may end up needing all the stores they can gather.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Probably good advice. Better to leave it than to have them starve out. You can harvest it next year when you are better able to judge your hives.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

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

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    I'm with www and ccar2000. I think two full boxes are pretty much the minimum, but I still might take a small sample because its hard to resist.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambassador View Post
    I went out and checked on my first Warre hive yesterday. I started them late April with a package and checking them yesterday I found 2 fully drawn boxes and a half drawn box. The top box is quite heavy and is mostly honey judging from weight. I smoked the bottom of comb a bit and found some capped brood but I can't imagine there are two many in there. The second box down was lighter with more brood as far as I could tell (tried not to disturb them much.) The half drawn 3rd box looked to have 4 fully drawn comb or so which I didn't inspect and just left it where it sat. Considering we had about a 5 week drought in Michigan this summer I am happy with how well they seem to be doing.

    Overall the bees seemed very healthy, active, and are still foraging aggressively. Each comb is completely covered with bees from top to bottom in all boxes. They are situated next to a field of golden rod which has just started to bloom so I am assuming I have 4+ weeks of nectar available provided the weather stays warm. Presently my plans are to check the hive again when the golden rod stops blooming and harvest the top box (provided it does not contain brood) and leave the 2nd and 3rd boxes (assuming the bees have finished drawing the 3rd box out.) So I have two questions?

    1: Is it reasonable to expect the bees to finish the third box so I can take the 1st and leave them with 2 fully drawn boxes?
    2: How confident should I be in them having enough stores for the winter if the top box contains only honey at harvest time when they would just be finishing what would be their second of two wintering boxes?
    I'm in the same boat as you, except my bees have finished the third box as well. When I posted a similar question a while ago on a couple of forums (here included), the advice from everyone was, "Leave it. Find out what the bees need to survive winter in your climate, with your hive location. Take any extra in the spring."

    So, I'll be leaving 2 full boxes of honey above the box that is mostly brood. I'm in zone 6A for reference. (SLC, UT)

    It is awfully hard to stare at that much honey and not take some, though...

  7. #7

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    I say leave them all three boxs for winter, and add a box in the coming spring. Thats what I will do with mine if they are lighter than expected.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    I figure my warré holds about 32 pounds a box. According to the pdf referenced on this page a lang in new york state can be expected to go through 60-80 lb during winter.

    The average size of a honey bee hive in the wild in Ithica, New York was found to be 45 litres by Thomas Seeley. I figure 2.5 of my warré boxes would be about 45 litres.

    I certainly think going with 3 boxes over winter is a good idea.

  9. #9

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Yes, you can always rob the top box in spring when the Dandelions bloom. Then nadir 2 empty boxs, and let them have at it again!
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Thanks for all the input! I think I will indeed leave 3 boxes for the winter as you have suggested. Perhaps I will steal a comb from the top box though....just to make sure they are doing it right of course. =)

  11. #11

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambassador View Post
    Thanks for all the input! I think I will indeed leave 3 boxes for the winter as you have suggested. Perhaps I will steal a comb from the top box though....just to make sure they are doing it right of course. =)
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    So we are in week three of the golden rod bloom here in Michigan and temps are going to dip down in the 60's for a high come Monday. I'd like to still take a comb or two from my Warre which I expect to have 3 fully drawn boxes by now with the third probably a mixture of empty comb/brood/ and some honey. After what temp should I no longer be opening the box and is there a particular section I should take a comb from? I was going to take one or two from the top at one side or the other. Suggestions?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    Wow tough call on the temp. Obviously there are a lot less bees home on a nice sunny day and it takes a lot of bee shivering to warm a hive back up, but if you're quick about it you could probably open a hive down to the low 70's. I would either take the frames from the side or (if you don't have fix bars) slide the remaining frames back together to leave the gap on the side.

  14. #14

    Default Re: First year - First hive...enough to harvest?

    I open mine up even in the forties, just be quick about it.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

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