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.