I didn't discover Beesource or its Warre forum until after I had built a Warre top bar hive and installed my bees - just a couple weeks ago. I also hadn't carefully read Pennsylvania beekeeping law and discovered last night I am required to have frames. So it looks like I'm in for an uphill climb.
This is what I've got:
The top box is Warre's autumn feeder. The cluster currently inhabits four of eight top bars in the upper hive box. The lower hive box is empty.
After installing on a beautiful warm day (69F) temperatures dropped to freezing evenings and chilly days. I put an aquarium heater in the sugar syrup and ran it overnight one evening and made a loose wrap of black plastic as a wind break and solar collector for the coldest days. When things warmed up, we did see bees - even some with full pollen sacks.
I have two main concerns and a minor one:
1) I'm uncertain of the queen's health. The queen cage was on the top bars of the lower box and not in the center of the cluster during the first days. Every time I checked through the observation window, bees were clustered around it, but not thickly. When it warmed enough to open the hive 5 days later, I retrieved the cage around which bees were clustered. It appeared that there was at least one dead bee in the cage, but foolishly I simply opened the box and dumped it into the cluster, hoping it was a nurse bee and not making certain I had a living queen! How can I determine whether she made it?
2) If I build another floor, quilt, and roof, I can get a second package with a queen (and a replacement queen?) and start a second colony in the other two boxes I built. How advisable is that?
3) I have to modify any top bars that don't have comb to have at least 3/4 frames. Any advice on custom frame building? Or buy Lang frames and modify?
Thanks in advance!