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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    2

    Default can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 boxes?

    Following the Warre system, a beekeeper harvests the top boxes full of honey in the fall and leaves the bottom 2-3 for the bees to over-winter.

    But my bees (a swarm caught from bee tree in mid May) have built comb in the top 4 boxes already and will soon start on the bottom (5th) box. I don't want to add a sixth box should they fill up the 5th box. What to do? If they fill up the fifth (bottom) box, would it be okay to harvest the top box in July or early August and add another 5th box below? I really don't want to have a six box hive, it just seems too tall/unstable. I also don't want to lift 5 boxes to put a sixth one underneath. I don't have a lift.

    Has anyone else harvested honey from a Warre mid-summer? How did it work out? Any informed suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Judith in Denver, CO

    ps: I've never actually harvested honey from a Warre. Last year and the year before my bees never got past two boxes in this drought-stricken semi-arid environment. This year there isn't a super abundance of forage but we had a really slow and late swarm season - half the number of swarms were caught state-wide as normal so I think that although there isn't super-abundant forage, there aren't too many other hives to contend with for it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    Hello Judith,

    of course you can harvest now or even sooner. And often you have to, for example to treat against varroa or to avoid crystalizing honey in the combs.

    What you could and should use is a bee escape. I use the Nicot bee escape with an inner cover. See:

    (view upside down)

    This bee escape covers a hole in the inner cover.


    You break down the hive from above (use a little smoke), one box by the other. Turn around the boxes and look from beneath if the box is solid honey or if it contains brood. (The bee escape doesn't work with brood.) If you hit brood, leave that box in place.

    Put an empty box on top, than insert the bee escape, top up with the honey boxes.

    Install the bee escape in the early morning. Come back in 24 hours the next morning and the bees left the honey boxes. (Again, if there is no brood.) Only few bees can be found in the honey boxes.



    A faster way to remove bees is with a leaf blower.


    Regards,

    Bernhard

  3. #3

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    This is how you proceed after all bees are out.

    With a long bread knife loose the sides of the comb.


    Best is a bowl that is 300mm x 300mm in square, put two bars on top and on that the hive box. After loosing the sides flip over the box, and from above cut diagonally under the topbar. From both sides. The comb comes off and drops into the bowl.

    Here I simply made a cut in the center of the comb and let the half of the comb drop in a round bowl.


    Dice the comb with the knife.


    Into the press.


    It would be better too use a pressing bag, so you can remove the wax rests in one go.


    Looks tasty....


    I got to taste it. ink:




    Press with care. Slow. Pull until you feel a resistance. Wait. Pull again. This way it works pretty good. Takes 10 minutes.

  4. #4

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    If you don't use a pressing bag, you got to scratch the wax rests out of the pressing cage.


    The residues of the pressing I put into a pan. I slowly heat that pan with wx and honey, making it both liquid. Then I let it cool down slowly so wax and honey seperates. The honey I use for mead making. Wax goes into candles.


    After waiting some time - so the wax floats up - I start filling the jars.


    The honey folds into the glass jar..



    Bernhard

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    East Lansing Michigan USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    Great info and photos Bernhard. Danke Schoen!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    Thank you Bernhard! It is much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    If you don't use a pressing bag, you got to scratch the wax rests out of the pressing cage.


    The residues of the pressing I put into a pan. I slowly heat that pan with wx and honey, making it both liquid. Then I let it cool down slowly so wax and honey seperates. The honey I use for mead making. Wax goes into candles.


    After waiting some time - so the wax floats up - I start filling the jars.


    The honey folds into the glass jar..



    Bernhard

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Boyds, MD, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: can I harvest honey from a Warre in late July /early August to avoid having 6 box

    I recently harvested several warre boxes of honey. I had a hive six boxes high and one five boxes high. Way more honey than I expected from these warres' first year. We still have a nectar flow, so I had success using the following technique:
    An hour or so before dusk, on a warm/hot evening, I went out to the hives and gave them a very little puff of smoke. Then, working from behind the hives, I removed boxes until I saw brood. I set the honey boxes down closely behind the hives so that they were resting on their sides, comb perpendicular to the ground. I left the quilts off the hives but replaced the burlap loosely so that the bees could enter from the top. Then I waited. Within 15 minutes, most of the bees were on their way back into the main hives. Lots of fanning and marching but the hives stayed very calm. I replaced the quilts and took the now mostly bee-free honey boxes away to the back porch where I cut off the combs much as Bernhard describes and then returned the empty boxes to the hives.
    I think you should only do this if it is warm, with a flow on, and be sure there is absolutely no brood in the boxes... one box of bees lingered and I realized they still had a tiny patch if brood in the box. And I'm really new at this so it might have been dumb luck! But it went very well, very calmly for me and the bees.

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