Warre novice in need of help!
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  1. #1

    Default Warre novice in need of help!

    Hi all, we were gifted a Warre hive after a friend could no longer properly care for it, all the boxes were empty. We purchased a package of bees in May and we were off to the races!

    We quickly went from 1 box to 2 to 3 and finally put our 4th box in late July. We live in Boise, ID and things are starting to cool down. We have a couple of questions:

    3 box are very full (see photo), the bottom box is completely empty. I am worried about, given the cold winters, that keeping the 4th empty box on the bottom would be bad for the colony. Thoughts?
    Given we have 3 full boxes, can we take the top box off and extract all the honey? We are in this for the bees, not for the honey, but there seems to be a lot.
    We also need to treat for mites once(if) we take honey. We haven't separated any of the boxes all year. When we crack the seals between the boxes, is there a risk that the comb will be attached between the boxes (comb above attached to top bars below)? I am worried about damaging the comb in order to treat.

    Thank you very much in advance!
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,035

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    I would like to help with your questions but don't feel qualified. I will say welcome to the forum though. My inclination is that a first year hive might do better with the honey left. I would be a little worried about removing the bottom box in my 5b growing zone if the top boxes were packed and would not be that worried about the bottom box during winter but might take it off around early oct but would then put it back on the first 70 degree day even if it was in feb (which it is not most years). If it is warm and they get to the early tree pollen, it will be pretty hard to keep them in the box if they don't go through all their stores. I think the above might be best for the bees.

    I some times get greedy and might take a chance that the bees might die and if there was no brood in the top box, I might take the honey and just give them a big old sugar block in a two inch shim. I do know small hive can make it through the cold but was advised when starting that taking a chance on a big hive was a better bet. Depends on how risk taking you are. One warre box is about the size of a five frame nuc.

    I doubt you have to worry about them attaching the boxes but would probably take a long thin knife or some heavy fishing line and make sure. What I do on things like this is watch how people do it on you tube.

    I have not ran a warre hive and the only bees I ever put in one did not build up like yours have. Very good.

    Remember, I have no experience and am just throwing out discussion points.
    Good luck
    gww
    Last edited by gww; 09-19-2019 at 08:55 AM.
    zone 5b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    BeeBoise,
    You will want to winter the bees in as small an area as possible and still have enough stores to get them through. Any box that is empty, pull out. I assume you are in Idaho. I do not know how much honey you will need to winter there but a little research should turn up the answer. A warre comb will hold about the same amount of honey as a medium langstroth frame.

    When pulling a box, try to lift it on one side gently to see if the combs are attached to the top bars of the box below. Lift it on the side adjacent to the end of the combs. If it is attached you can take a piece of thin wire and work across that side and slowly pull it through the gap between boxes. This will leave some mess on the top bars but it can be cleaned up fairly quickly. Sometimes I can avoid all of this by shoving the end of my hive tool under the combs one at a time to break them loose. Little less messy and easier but only works in situations of one or two combs attached.

    As this is your colony's first year I would leave all the honey for winter and after the spring flow starts you can take any they haven't used.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,904

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    An empty box on the bottom won't make any significant difference. An empty box on top or in the middle would. The bees will spend the winter in the top.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    I ran a Warre for two seasons just to play with a different style of hive. I am south of you in SLC. You are in climate zone 6, same as we are. I suggest that you leave all three boxes on the hive. You can take the box off the bottom or you can leave it, it won't make much difference. It looks like you're well set as long as you get the mite treatment done.
    Zone 6B

  7. #6

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    Thank you all for the help, I am going to remove the empty bottom box, leave all 3 full boxes and treat tomorrow to give our bees the best chance. Thank you again for the feedback!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Raymond, NH, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    Hello All,

    New to bee keeping, first year. I have a similar situation as BeeBoise. I have a Warre hive with 4 boxes. The top two boxes are filled comb. The third box is empty comb. The fourth (bottom) box is empty.

    I live in New Hampshire, Zone 5b. I will not be harvesting any honey until the spring.

    I am going to remove the fourth (bottom) box. Should I also remove the third box?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,916

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    No. Leave the third box on the bottom with the drawn comb. The rationale is that in the spring, the queen will start laying faster than the bees will consume the honey. Since most of your other two boxes are I assume capped stores, you will be honey bound at a time when the queen needs all the room she can get, and Warre` boxes are not that big to begin with.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Warre novice in need of help!

    Agree with JWP. Take off the bottom box with no comb. Do you have a hive top feeder or an internal feeder? I'd give them some 2:1 and see if you can get them to store some more food. I just took a look at your 10 day weather forecast for Raymond NH and your daytime temperatures are in the 50s and 60s, so it is still warm enough to feed syrup inside the hive. If you don't have a hive top feeder or an internal feeder then take 2 to 3 mason jars, poke 8-10 small holes in each lid with a thumb tack. Press the thumb tack or nail through from the outside face of the lid, so that the burrs point inwards (to help protect the bee's probiscus from the sharp burr). After filling and capping each jar invert each jar until it stops dripping and then put the jar directly over the top bars of the top box. If you have something you can use as a spacer them more bees can access the lid. Take the empty box that you took off from the bottom and put it over the jars to protect them and close up the hive. Don't worry about the extra space, the bees are not in a comb building mode right now and won't build anything beyond a little burr comb in the space. To make 2:1 mix one of 4 pound sugar bags with 1 quart of hot water and mix thoroughly. One of the 4 lb sugar bags will make 2-1/4 quarts of 2:1, or about 6 lbs of syrup. As soon as it cools to luke warm you can put it on the hive.
    Zone 6B

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