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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shavertown, Pa, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Warre Winter and Honey

    Just registered with this site and I really enjoy reading all the comments. We've been raising bees in Warre Hives since 2009.

    I could never understand why we harvest honey in the fall. Why are we taking away honey stores at the time they need them the most? I believe that the fall honey harvest is a necessity of the Langs, that has somehow become accepted as a rule. The Lang Hive must remove their supers in the fall, otherwise the heat needed for winter survival will escape into the supers where the queen can not go. This is neither right or wrong, it is just something to be done with this style Hive. We never touch our hives in the fall, only in the spring.

    Also saw some posts on how many boxes are needed. We have 7 hives (started with 2). We have had successful overwintering in hives with only 1 box of honey. They dont need a lot in the Warre design.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    That's interesting! So do you have two boxes total per hive (brood box and honey box)? How early in the Spring do you harvest your honey? And how much honey do you harvest per hive? Thanks in advance for your response.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by ckohl View Post
    Just registered with this site and I really enjoy reading all the comments. We've been raising bees in Warre Hives since 2009.

    I could never understand why we harvest honey in the fall. Why are we taking away honey stores at the time they need them the most? I believe that the fall honey harvest is a necessity of the Langs, that has somehow become accepted as a rule. The Lang Hive must remove their supers in the fall, otherwise the heat needed for winter survival will escape into the supers where the queen can not go. This is neither right or wrong, it is just something to be done with this style Hive. We never touch our hives in the fall, only in the spring.

    Also saw some posts on how many boxes are needed. We have 7 hives (started with 2). We have had successful overwintering in hives with only 1 box of honey. They dont need a lot in the Warre design.
    Thanks for that data point! You and I are in just about the same plant hardiness zone. I went with 3 boxes this winter, based on the "better safe than sorry" advice that I got here. But no one was from exactly the same weather conditions. Hopefully, if my bees do as well as yours do, I'll have a full box of honey to take come March.

    I am a bit curious though, do you *usually* only winter in just 2 boxes, or is that just an example of a situation that has worked out on some occasions?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shavertown, Pa, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    For winter we usually remove empty boxes from the bottom. That translates to 5 of our 7 hives being 2 boxes high. All of these 5 hives were started this year from swarm captures in June. they all have a full box of on top and a partially filled second box below. The remaining 2 hives in our yard are older. One is wintering with 3 boxes and the other is wintering with 4. We'll harvest honey from these 2 older hives in the spring. The 3-box hive wintered last year in a single box, by May it was incredible, and threw a swarm in June (which we captured). We can never tell what's going to happen from one season to the next.

    Weather here has been cold consistently since before Thanksgiving (november). It's supposed to warm up to the mid 40's by Wednesday. I hope it gets just a hair higher so I can see which hives are still active.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    I think honey store requirements are partly dependant on the number of bees in the colony. I don't think I'd try wintering a large colony on 1 box.

    I started a warré from a swarm last spring. If I didn't harvest I would have had 5 boxes going into winter. I left them with three. I'm predicting that it's more than enough and that 5 boxes would have meant a larger space to keep warm. I'll see what happens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    I love the idea of leaving them alone all summer. Plenty of time to get sealed up and ready for winter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shavertown, Pa, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    [QUOTE=Beekeeping.IsGood.ca;883483]I think honey store requirements are partly dependant on the number of bees in the colony. I don't think I'd try wintering a large colony on 1 box

    Isgood - overwintering in 1 box was scary for us. I would have bet they were not going to survive. It was not by choice though, that's all the comb/honey they produced last year. But, as I mentioned, they came out in spring with a vengeance, doubling and tripling their numbers, then swarming by June.

    You achieved 5 boxes from a swarm colony in one summer???? Sweet Fancy Moses! You must have the mega colony of all time - and plenty of good fertile ground for them to forage. Congratulations, I honestly didn't think that was possible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    I need some advice on my single story Warre...We are experiencing a warmish break in the rain and cold winds. My bees have been active whenever the temps get into the 50's with the sun out. My little Warre never expanded into a second box, so I removed it on the advice of others so they wouldn't have to provide any extra heat. Now I'm wondering if I should add it back for them to expand into before they swarm. Can anyone look at the video showing the front and the back of the Warre through the observation window to let me know if I should add a box now (February)? I don't want to do it too soon because I know the winter winds and rain will return with a vengeance.
    http://solarbeez.com/2013/02/03/bees-active-in-winter/
    Thanks,
    Pat
    Oregon Coast

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,992

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    I don't see what harm there would be to have another box on the bottom. I would add one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    The population doesn't start to rise until there is some nectar flowing, so they won't need any extra room. They may have spend a bunch of effort getting the box sealed up and you wouldn't want to break all those seals. (I've had hives seal up 1" dia. upper entrances.) ... so I would just leave them alone, but I'm really not an expert so ...

    and ... nice blog!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shavertown, Pa, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    Hey Pat. Great looking hive and surprisingly active for February. Of course I'm in Pennsylvania and won't see grass that green till late April. Regarding your question about naidiring the extra empty box, I would definitely go ahead and put it on asap. There is no downside to doing this as the hive heat rises (not trying to be facetious here) and will not be "sucked out" by an empty box underneath. By contrast, based on the activity of your colony at this point you are rolling the dice on when/if the swarm response will be triggered. once that happens, there's no stopping it - especially in february.

    Good Luck and keep us posted
    Chris Kohl
    Sweet Valley Hives

  12. #12

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by ckohl View Post
    ...taking away honey stores at the time they need them the most? ..., only in the spring.
    Sorry to be direct: but this is rather wrong. Bees need about 1 kg food per month during winter and even less in a Warré. In Spring they do need 4-5 kg food per month.

    And this is why the bees need stores in Spring most urgently - not in fall or winter.

    Also remember that the brood nest size is decreased in autumn, no warmth needed. In Spring the brood nest size increases. This is the time where peace, warmth and a lot of food is needed most necessarily.

    I find the honey harvest the most disruptive activity of the beekeeper that both puzzles and shocks the bees. Not much of a problem in full strength in summer and fall, but a serious one after surviving a winter.

    So harvesting in Spring is the opposite of what I consider good bee care.

    You said yourself that bees don't need much throughout winter. In a hardiness zone like mine they need one full box of food and do not have to starve. In colder climates you need two boxes and a candy board as an insurance. That is it.

    So why leave the surplus honey atop the hive over winter? The quality of honey is best when fresh!

    A lot of french beekeeper do harvest several times a year from a Warré with a clearer board/bee escape. I do, too. Since it is a necessity because of early varroa treatments.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    The main issue with leaving it all winter and harvesting in the spring is that it is usually crystallized by spring.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    I tried to comment earlier but it didn't seem to post. So I apologize if this is a repeat.

    My comment was: If I understand correctly, some beekeepers feed their bees with dry sugar in the late summer to fall. So why would allowing the bees to eat crystallized honey be any different? Wouldn't that be better than letting them die of starvation?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    " So why would allowing the bees to eat crystallized honey be any different? Wouldn't that be better than letting them die of starvation? "

    I think mr. bush is suggesting spring harvests are a problem because it is harder to harvest crystallized honey.

    So far, it seems to me, everyone agrees that you should leave enough honey for winter and probably spring too. Some just feel you don't need to leave them all the honey.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by solarbeez View Post
    i need some advice on my single story warre...we are experiencing a warmish break in the rain and cold winds. My bees have been active whenever the temps get into the 50's with the sun out. My little warre never expanded into a second box, so i removed it on the advice of others so they wouldn't have to provide any extra heat. Now i'm wondering if i should add it back for them to expand into before they swarm. Can anyone look at the video showing the front and the back of the warre through the observation window to let me know if i should add a box now (february)? I don't want to do it too soon because i know the winter winds and rain will return with a vengeance.
    http://solarbeez.com/2013/02/03/bees-active-in-winter/
    thanks,
    pat
    oregon coast
    yes add that box or before you know it they will swarm on you because it got a little crowded remember a warr hive is only half what a lang is , put the box!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    May I suggest you put ladders in the empty box to encourage the bees to build down?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Warre Winter and Honey

    > My comment was: If I understand correctly, some beekeepers feed their bees with dry sugar in the late summer to fall. So why would allowing the bees to eat crystallized honey be any different? Wouldn't that be better than letting them die of starvation?

    I allow them to eat crystallized honey all the time. Yes it's not only better than starvation, it's better than sugar syrup and many other options.

    >I think mr. bush is suggesting spring harvests are a problem because it is harder to harvest crystallized honey.

    Exactly.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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