Nadir an active hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Eugene, OR
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    15

    Default Nadir an active hive

    Everyday I learn something; yesterday I learned that bees can sting through socks.

    So Its late April here in Oregon and my overwinter hive is exploding with activity. They had two boxes of honey last fall which made it most of the way through the winter. I fed them a pint or two of 2:1 syrup at the end as all the activity seemed to be in the top box. Then the dandelions came out and they quit taking the syrup. About three weeks ago (around the first.) I nadired a box and checked once a week. Lots of activity in the top, plenty in the middle box but nothing in the lower box until yesterday when I found it half full of comb and a veritable "hive" of activity. The flow has barely started! Not wanting to miss out (or swarm!) i decided to nadir another box before it got to heavy ( i bee keep alone and while strong its hard to be gentle with 100 lbs of boxes). So I went out yesterday to add a box. I did what the same as last time; basically move the hive to the spare log nest to it, put a new box on the base and move the hive back. Last time most of the bees were in the top box and activity on the bottom was pretty light. This time most of the activity (viewed through the portal anyway) is in the middle and they are actively drawing come in the bottom. When I went to put the hive back there were several hundred bees still on the log, and some more fell on the ground when I moved the boxes back. I looked for but did not see the queen (though she isnt marked, and the bees were stinging my ankles so I was wanting to wrap things up). Went to check on the newly installed package to make sure the queen got out. They seem fine.

    How does one Nadir without spilling bees all over the place?
    What if the Queen fell out could she get back to the hive?
    What if I killed her; with all the brood they could make a new one right?
    What do I wear to keep bees from stinging my ankles?
    How am I going nadir box 5? That seems like its gonna be a heavy lift. Can I harvest the top box in summer if there is no brood in it?
    Do I need to do a split? I am concerned about messing that up and killing my first over winter hive.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Baldwin, Wisconsin
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Can I ask why you insist to nadir? The only time I will nadir is first thing in the spring, the rest of the time I super; it is far, far easier and worker bees seem to prefer to go up rather than down. A queen may be the exception but workers seem to prefer going up.
    As a matter of fact I also use queen excluders above the second box, keeping all brood in the lower two boxes and having other boxes for honey storage. I will remove the excluder in August or September and overwinter with three boxes with normally good results in our cold winter climate (zone 4a). Top box full, middle box at least half full.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Eugene, OR
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    15

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsof View Post
    Can I ask why you insist to nadir? The only time I will nadir is first thing in the spring, the rest of the time I super; it is far, far easier and worker bees seem to prefer to go up rather than down. A queen may be the exception but workers seem to prefer going up.
    As a matter of fact I also use queen excluders above the second box, keeping all brood in the lower two boxes and having other boxes for honey storage. I will remove the excluder in August or September and overwinter with three boxes with normally good results in our cold winter climate (zone 4a). Top box full, middle box at least half full.
    I don't "insist" on anything- rather I follow the information I have (in this case the Warre book). This is my second year keeping and I had two packages last year. This hive (The A hive) did quite well- they had three full boxes at the end of their first year and overwintered on 2 (I live in zone 8) harvesting one. The other hive (The B Hive) was ill fated from the start and although Italian they were as friendly as La Cosa Nostra. They left behind 2 1/2 boxes of honey when they died due to walling themselves in from their own stores (talk about natural selection!).

    I have been considering supering simply for the ease of it. I am wondering how many boxes to set aside for this hive- I have two extra hives. Currently the hive is 4 tall, 3 1/2 full of comb and the real nectar season hasnt even started- the blackberries will be everywhere in June/July and thats when both my hives last year were really going. should I plan on 6 or seven boxes?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    139

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    Yes IF you lost the queen, and I highly doubt it, they should requeen. The bees that hang out on the top or bottom of the frames are normally workers. She will try and stay away the light.
    Don't try and lift all the boxes at once.just take the top box off, set it down, take the next box off and set it on top of the first box you took off and so on. Then just start back in reverse after you added your new box to the bottom. Last box you put on will be the first one you took off, the original top box. Bees want care one bit for that amount of time.
    When I go into a hive I wear leather work boots, jeans, shirt and bee suit top with nitral gloves. If it's a nasty hive or time of the year I know they are witchy I'll put a Tyvex suit on as well. The Tyvex just pretty much guarantees nothing will get threw.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Eugene, OR
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    15

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlockhart29 View Post
    Yes IF you lost the queen, and I highly doubt it, they should requeen. The bees that hang out on the top or bottom of the frames are normally workers. She will try and stay away the light.
    Don't try and lift all the boxes at once.just take the top box off, set it down, take the next box off and set it on top of the first box you took off and so on. Then just start back in reverse after you added your new box to the bottom. Last box you put on will be the first one you took off, the original top box. Bees want care one bit for that amount of time.
    When I go into a hive I wear leather work boots, jeans, shirt and bee suit top with nitral gloves. If it's a nasty hive or time of the year I know they are witchy I'll put a Tyvex suit on as well. The Tyvex just pretty much guarantees nothing will get threw.
    Thanks I will try that next time (both the process and the foot wear). I have a full bee suit and gloves that seems to work pretty well. But I will wear boots next time.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
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    1,092

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    Tip, when nadiring it helps to move one drawn frame down. The bees will use it as a ladder and it seemed to help them start drawing the rest of the box.

    The reason Abbe Warre used nadiring was so that comb would move up to become honey comb and then be removed from the hive. A Warre will always have wax that is less then two summers old. Supering works just fine if that is what you want to do. For making comb honey Ware supered.
    Zone 5B

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Baldwin, Wisconsin
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    71

    Default

    I hate to tell you this but I virtually always wear shorts and flip-flops when working my hives...

    You don't mention if you are using frames or top bars, but as you mention "the book" I am going to make the dangerous and possibly incorrect assumption that you are using top bars rather than frames. Sorry if I'm wrong about this!My experience with top bars was that there would be comb connected between boxes and that the comb would be broken or you'd have to cut it when boxes would come apart, and that would really piss off the bees, not to mention being really messy. I don't doubt for a moment that this system is probably or certainly better for the bees - but it is NOT better for the beekeeper. Movable frames make life much easier and it is far easier to manipulate the hive without getting the bees worked up.
    I love my Warré hives, they are so, so much easier to work with than my one Langstroth, but I also consider that at least 95% of the beehives in North America are Langs, managed the way that Lang hives are, and there must be a reason for this - so I manage my Warré hives the way that Langs are managed, meaning movable frames, supering, and so forth. For what it's worth I try to stack no more than 5 or maybe 6 boxes high as I think it gets too difficult to work and too tippy. It means I am pulling honey pretty often in the summer but that's not the end of the world.
    I also will add that I label each frame (with a Sharpie) with the year that it is installed so that I can rotate out the wax every 4-5 years which to an extent duplicates the nadir method without having to draw out new wax all the time.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsof View Post
    I hate to tell you this but I virtually always wear shorts and flip-flops when working my hives...

    You don't mention if you are using frames or top bars, but as you mention "the book" I am going to make the dangerous and possibly incorrect assumption that you are using top bars rather than frames. Sorry if I'm wrong about this!My experience with top bars was that there would be comb connected between boxes and that the comb would be broken or you'd have to cut it when boxes would come apart, and that would really piss off the bees, not to mention being really messy. I don't doubt for a moment that this system is probably or certainly better for the bees - but it is NOT better for the beekeeper. Movable frames make life much easier and it is far easier to manipulate the hive without getting the bees worked up.
    I love my Warré hives, they are so, so much easier to work with than my one Langstroth, but I also consider that at least 95% of the beehives in North America are Langs, managed the way that Lang hives are, and there must be a reason for this - so I manage my Warré hives the way that Langs are managed, meaning movable frames, supering, and so forth. For what it's worth I try to stack no more than 5 or maybe 6 boxes high as I think it gets too difficult to work and too tippy. It means I am pulling honey pretty often in the summer but that's not the end of the world.
    I also will add that I label each frame (with a Sharpie) with the year that it is installed so that I can rotate out the wax every 4-5 years which to an extent duplicates the nadir method without having to draw out new wax all the time.
    My Grandfather developed a rather severe allergy to bees late in life after ignoring getting stung for 60 odd years. I try and keep it to limited stings but it seems anything invasive ends up with one sting.

    I do use bars. frames would be nice but they are expensive at $45/8 while the bars come free with the box. When I get to a point of not trying to add a hive a year maybe I will upgrade. Or if I get to the point of having enough to sell I will start upgrading!

    I ended up supering. I had 15 minutes to work outside today and supering is that much easier. The hive has 5 boxes with two empty one on top and one on the bottom. I will let you know how that goes as the season progresses.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    139

    Default

    20160701_145244_1524811088017.jpg If you have a table saw and just a little ability you can make your own frames on the cheap. Just buy unassembled Lang deep frames cut the top and bottom bars to Warre length then reshape the cut end. Cut a section out of the side bars than just lay the section you cut out over the splice and staple them together OR do like I do and just build your own hives making them Lang deep so side bars work as is. Bees want care one bit!!lol

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,092

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlockhart29 View Post
    20160701_145244_1524811088017.jpg If you have a table saw and just a little ability you can make your own frames on the cheap. Just buy unassembled Lang deep frames cut the top and bottom bars to Warre length then reshape the cut end. Cut a section out of the side bars than just lay the section you cut out over the splice and staple them together OR do like I do and just build your own hives making them Lang deep so side bars work as is. Bees want care one bit!!lol
    That is something I wish I had done in retrospect. A Langstrogh deep is just 34mm taller than a Warre box. However that is all in my rear view mirror now. In my state beekeeping regulations require that a hive have removable frames.

    This is how I made my frames.

    First cut the vee profile for the top bars.

    1. I started by cutting a 2x4 into 650mm long sections. You'll get 4 top bars from each piece.
    2. I tilted the blade to about 20° and cut the vee in the center in two passes, cutting a vee in each side of the board.
    3. I made straight cuts to cut the top bar to width.

      The picture shows the block at this point.

      SAFETY FIRST To make the next two rip cuts safely you should use a push block that has a shoe on the back (similar to this) to push all the offcut pieces all the way through the blade. You should also use a zero clearance insert for doing this.

    4. Making two rips per top bar per side I first cut the waste free to finish forming the vee profile
    5. Then I ripped the top bar free.
    6. I cut the top bars to length, 340 mm.
    7. Last I cut the notch end of each bar back 15 mm to form the frame rests.


    If you do this from a 2 x 4, at this point you might be tempted to try and get more top bars out of the scrap that is left. Just don't. Please don't risk your fingers.[/QUOTE]

    I made mine with flat side bars, but later I came across a suggestion to just use 3/8" (9mm) dowels. I did not try that, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Just drill holes in the top bar for the dowel, positioning the hole to leaving 8mm of space between the dowel and the hive wall.

    To make flat ends I started with a 2x6 that I cut to 380mm long. I planed it down to 35 mm thick. Then using a dado blade stacked for 3/8" I widened a centered groove across each end until my top bar would fit in the notch. Run the part through on end, rotate it and run it again and you get a perfectly centered groove. Then move the fence just a little at a time and repeat until you widen the groove to fit the top bar.

    Then I cut the 2x6 board into strips that were 9mm thick, giving me a 380mm long, 35mm wide, by 9mm thick board with a notch on each end. Once again, you need to use a push block with a shoe on the back to do this safely. Then all I needed to do was cut that in half and I had 2 side bars. I used my band saw to narrow the lower part of each frame side.

    When I made a second batch I decided to forego cutting the vee groove and instead just made a groove with my saw blade to insert a 25mm strip of starter foundation. It was a lot easier and worked better than the vee groove.

    I did not close up the bottom of my frame. The bees rounded off the comb and left a nice finished edge with bee space under it, they didn't attach it to the bars below.
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    Zone 5B

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Arkansas
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    Nice! I only have 3 hives pluse a wild one in the corner of my yard in a big hollow oak (constant source of mites LOL) so making frames from scratch with my 30 year old saw is more trouble than its worth. I was buying 1x12 Cedar to make boxes and tossing 1/3 in the recycle bin to Warre box specs pluse cutting side bars and splice. Stupid when except for not suppering basically running them like a Lang. Hence Lang deeps. I like the compact size and weight (I'm 5' 9 and 144 lbs pluse 52 years) of the Warre, the size more than weight. Their just easy to toss around.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    6,770

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    A Warre with frames is nothing but a midget Langstroth in disguise.

  14. #13
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    Apr 2016
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    Arkansas
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    Default

    Exactly!!lol

  15. #14
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
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    113

    Default Re: Nadir an active hive

    With a Warre hive you are imitating a hollow tree where the bees would naturally build new comb at the bottom of the nest for the new season brood and back fill with pollen and honey. The idea to nadir is for this reason.
    When I made my Warre top bars I took a standard Lang top frame bar, cut out the require length from the centre and dowled the two pieces back together. I kept the side bars but reduced in length and no bottom bar. Worked a treat!

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