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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
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    9

    Default Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    OK, installed a package in May of 2011. The bees never really progressed past the first box that year so naturally we didnt harvest. Last year the hive expanded rapidly and grew into the second and third box, and just started a fourth by the fall. We probably should have grabbed the top box at this point but we didnt.

    2013 and the hive is now working in the 4th box. According to Warre principles, the top box should be all capped honey as the brood chamber has certainly moved down into the lower boxes by now.

    We removed the top box, smoked out the bees (took a good hour), then set upon removing what we thought would be capped honey. Some of the sheets we removed had all capped honey on one side, and capped brood on the other! Some sheets were mostly all capped brood on both sides with a small row of honey on the top.

    So here we sat with this top box totally torn apart holding sheets of capped brood. DId we wait too long? Does this Warre principle simply not work? Im hoping that in the process of this harvest we didnt kill the queen.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    2,333

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    So I hear that happens all the time from a friend that helped someone take the honey off of a warre. He swore he would never do one himself. Sorry for your mess.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,662

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Welcome to Beesource!

    I don't have an answer to your question, but I want to point out that Beesource also has a Warre forum. You may (or may not) get better/different advice there than in the Top Bar forum.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/foru...rre-Hive-Forum
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dacula, GA, USA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    oh no! So sorry about the mess you found! We haven't gotten to the point of harvesting yet (1st yr ) but I am hoping and praying this post is accurate: http://thebeespace.net/2009/02/16/ho...t-even-trying/ did you super, or nadir your hive?

    Curious, how did you handle it once you figured out it was brood? Did you put it back in somehow? Hoping it all turned out well for you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    regarding the beespace article it does not hold true for my hive. We Nadir the hive as Warre described. I believe the missing element here is that you need to wait until later in the year (Sept/Oct here in the Northern Hemisphere). At least that's what we're gonna do. hopefully by then whatever brood is in the top box will have hatched and then be refilled with honey. Since this particular hive has had bees since 2011 i am wondering if the top box was filled with honey at the end of last year - 2012, but hen the honey was consumed and the cells were reused for brood.. Is that even a possibility?

    regarding the large quantity of brood we found, it had already been separated from the top bars and removed from the box, it would have been virtually impossible to reconstruct with any hope of the bees repairing it. We begged for forgiveness from the bees and whatever Bee-God might have been watching, collected our honey/brood comb, tucked our tails and sadly departed the bee yard knowing what damage we had done - also harboring more than just a bit of frustration with this whole Warre principle! we have other hives and will not give up on bees or even the Warre technique. We just think that better info needs to be out there, and a better more inspectable hive needs to be designed so that the comb can be replaced if it doesnt look ready for harvesting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,798

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    >a better more inspectable hive needs to be designed so that the comb can be replaced if it doesnt look ready for harvesting.

    It is called a Langstroth.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Or simply use a queen excluder. In some landscapes you have to. With some strains of bees: you have to. Or you will end up with brood in the comb, top to bottom of the hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Thank you Odfrank for your droll humor *golf clap*

    Bernhard - thank you for your constructive input. I guess I am trying to asses if this natural form of foundationless, top-down beekeeping is valid. It reads well, and i assume That many are having success with it since it seems to be popular in Europe, and growing in popularity here in the states. The excluder option is definitely on the table, but I am going to keep a closer eye on things as the season progresses.

    Our aim is not to produce as much honey as possible, but an occasional harvest would be enjoyed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    could you not tell by tipping the box on it's side and looking up into it that it wasn't all capped honey?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopsbees27 View Post
    OK, installed a package in May of 2011. The bees never really progressed past the first box that year so naturally we didnt harvest. Last year the hive expanded rapidly and grew into the second and third box, and just started a fourth by the fall. We probably should have grabbed the top box at this point but we didnt.

    2013 and the hive is now working in the 4th box. According to Warre principles, the top box should be all capped honey as the brood chamber has certainly moved down into the lower boxes by now.

    We removed the top box, smoked out the bees (took a good hour), then set upon removing what we thought would be capped honey. Some of the sheets we removed had all capped honey on one side, and capped brood on the other! Some sheets were mostly all capped brood on both sides with a small row of honey on the top.

    So here we sat with this top box totally torn apart holding sheets of capped brood. DId we wait too long? Does this Warre principle simply not work? Im hoping that in the process of this harvest we didnt kill the queen.
    I have seen mixed comb this time of year. If you put box4 back ,ther are months left to fill it. A used comb last year will get re-used in spring. September, you can probably lift the whole top box off,maybe 2 boxes. Thats a large hive, and may get bigger. More than 4 boxes is uncommon, but not unheard of. In fall harvest time, you can take mixed comb, and laying will slow then, so any combs will be mostly honey. Get a bur comb knife, to ease inspection. I had a 4 box warre hive last year, and harvested 10 frames, leaving all the mixed ones for the bees. Thats really good here, this area's a bit arid. So dont lose hope, its not your hive, they had just relaid into last years comb. Look again in6 weeks! Its ok to harvest a drone& honey comb, they just kick them out shortly.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    @Harley- isn't the answer to that question a bit obvious? I will say without reservation that I approached this initial harvest with a good dose of blind optimism and even a touch of Hubris. In my mind (at the time - but not anymore) was the notion that the top box HAD to be all capped honey. All these Warre beeks couldn't be wrong. Well, as Jadebees and others have pointed out, it may just be a timing issue.

    Thank you Jadebees for your input. Yours is the tact I will be using from this point forward. All harvests will be done in late summer, early fall so that the majority of the brood will have hatched.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,340

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    I will preface this, that I have never used a Warre'. However I did keep bees in a box hive just to see how it worked back in the mid 70's. If it I wanted to know what was going on, I would flip the box upside down and cut around the outside edges and remove the box. The combs were hanging from the cover (a piece of plywood) and I could see them pretty well. I never had an issue with harvesting brood (at least not more than a very small patch that might be hiding) because once you got to there there was brood there was brood the rest of the way into the center at least. In other words you could cut the honey comb around the outside and stop when you get to brood. You might find the "upside down" technique would work just as well with a Warre'. It also works when a hive is really crosscombed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Michael, thank you for weighing in on this. I have read much of what you've written about your treatment free, and overall hands-off approach to bee keeping. While you may not have specifically used a Warre style hive, (IMO) there are some parallels to your management techniques and the Warre management techniques. I have seen the upside down approach you describe used by a gentleman in Colorado. He has a honey & wax business called the "Green Bee", and he uses Warre hives in his operation. I guess my biggest challenge is my confidence in doing things like that. I'm still new enough to approach these tasks with some trepidation. The thought of turning a box upside down and cutting away the sides, with the notion that I might just put the box back on and put it back on the hive is a mental hurdle I need to wrap my head around. Also, suppose I cut away 2 or 3 of the 8 sheets of comb and then replaced the box (with only 5 combs) Would this create heat retention problems if they werent able to rebuild those combs in time for winter? Thank you again for your thoughts.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,340

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    > Also, suppose I cut away 2 or 3 of the 8 sheets of comb and then replaced the box (with only 5 combs) Would this create heat retention problems if they werent able to rebuild those combs in time for winter? Thank you again for your thoughts.

    That depends on your flows. If you have a fall flow, yes. If your fall flow fails this year, maybe not. I see no issue in leaving them honey now and harvesting only full boxes of honey instead.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Or simply use a queen excluder. In some landscapes you have to. With some strains of bees: you have to. Or you will end up with brood in the comb, top to bottom of the hive.
    My Warre hive with frames got to 5 boxes high and had brood top to bottom. When the flow started in strength the brood in the top box emerged and the cells were quickly filled with nectar and capped. This progressed through the seaon untill Autumn when the qqueen was forced back down to the bottom box with capped honey frames above. This was in New Zealand.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
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    9

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Dansar, the scenario you described is exactly what I'm hoping will occur. Right now the goldenrod and other autumn flowers are in the peak of their bloom and the bees are really bringing in the nectar. I'll know for sure in about 2 weeks, we're gonna try harvesting after this nectar flow. - thanks for contributing to this thread.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Yakima WA USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Hopsbees27 how did your bees do this last month? Sounds like you were on the right track so I'm curious.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA
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    9

    Default Re: Warre Hive Harvest disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Kdxzoom View Post
    Hopsbees27 how did your bees do this last month? Sounds like you were on the right track so I'm curious.
    Kdx, We did harvest a box from one of our hives last week. There was only one patch of brood in the center, the rest was all honey. So waiting was the key. We have a couple more hives to work on still (ours and a friend's). the temps are supposed to remain around 70 all week so it will be a good time to get this done. Thanks for checking, we'll keep you posted.

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