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My first Warre is officially a week post-install today and the bees seem to be busy. I'm planning on adding another box or two in a week or so and it got me thinking about the whole Warre process a little bit. I've read "Bee Keeping for All" through a few times but I'm having a hard time with some of his concepts. Does Warre suggest that we always add boxes from beneath and never super or does this just apply to adding boxes to an already established hive in the Spring? My package bees are currently busy building comb and laying eggs in the current two boxes, if I add to more boxes beneath doesn't that predispose me to having lots of brood in the honey when I harvest the top box in the late summer? Also, if we only ever add boxes to the bottom as advised, doesn't this mean we are always harvesting honey from comb which had brood in it at one time?
 

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I will post the same thing here that I did on the other website. I suggest you read this gentleman's website.

http://www.thewarrestore.com/

I find it very informative and he's from Michigan. So his advice is tailored to your state!
 

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To answer your questions, the boxes are added underneath because they are foundationless. Put a foundationless box on top, and bees can have a major job moving into it, unless the hive is very strong and there is a good flow at the time. Yes, it does mean you'll be eating honey that has had brood in the combs.

You could use foundation, in which case boxes could easily be added on top and the hive run like a langstroth. But if you did that, you may as well HAVE a langstroth.

You could also move combs around and put one or two in the new box going on top, to give the bees a "ladder" to the top of the box from where they will start building new combs. But again, moving combs is going against Warre philosophy, and towards langstroth philosophy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To answer your questions, the boxes are added underneath because they are foundationless. Put a foundationless box on top, and bees can have a major job moving into it, unless the hive is very strong and there is a good flow at the time. Yes, it does mean you'll be eating honey that has had brood in the combs.

You could use foundation, in which case boxes could easily be added on top and the hive run like a langstroth. But if you did that, you may as well HAVE a langstroth.

You could also move combs around and put one or two in the new box going on top, to give the bees a "ladder" to the top of the box from where they will start building new combs. But again, moving combs is going against Warre philosophy, and towards langstroth philosophy.
Thanks that helps a great deal!
 

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I'm sorry to highjack the thread, but I have a continuation of Ambassador's questions:

If the bees fill the old brood, isn't the comb dark and 'dirty'? I know they clean it out before storing the honey, but the brood comb gets very dark quickly when being used. Do they clean it well enough to make is presentable as comb honey? I've been reading everything I can find on this process and haven't found a viable answer...
 

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I'm sorry to highjack the thread, but I have a continuation of Ambassador's questions:

If the bees fill the old brood, isn't the comb dark and 'dirty'? I know they clean it out before storing the honey, but the brood comb gets very dark quickly when being used. Do they clean it well enough to make is presentable as comb honey? I've been reading everything I can find on this process and haven't found a viable answer...
Dark, yes it will be, especially the center combs. The outside combs in box will be lighter and sometimes white. But this depends on how fast they build down during a nectar flow. They do clean each cell out, but the cocoons are left behind in the cells. Must of us just crush and strain our comb. So you will be lucky if you get pure white comb. If you want comb honey, best bet is TBH or Langstroth.
 

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That's what I thought. Thanks 'Charlie! I'll probably give this a shot next spring, but I like the comb honey too much to give up my Langstroth. Maybe if it's doing well I'll super...
 

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You could also super a Warre. Just give them a comb or two if possible. My Warres are doing that as we speak. Space above and below.
 

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Like Micheal says- If you are going to put boxes on top, install a bar or two of comb in the new box on top. The bees seem to move up easier if there is a comb "ladder" to get up to the bars in the supered box. I did it but only to see if it worked. I always install boxes under. As I am solo and mature, (old) I don't try to lift the entire hive. I will disassemble them box by box, set the new box and reassemble the hives back the way they were.
 

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I am a new Warre owner, and I added a box on top - it started out bad - they built up from the bottom. However, they are doing so well that they connected it all the way up to the top bar and the rest of them they started from the top and now have 6 of the 8 bars filled. I know that I will had to cut the comb to get the box off eventually and from now on I will add to the bottom. fortunately, I think it has turned out okay.
 

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I supered one of my warres that overwintered. I put a piece of comb in the top box and they are clustering away on the top bars. So far no bottom up action, but you need a decent comb to start from.
 

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...I like the comb honey too much to give up my Langstroth. Maybe if it's doing well I'll super...
You could certainly add a framed section-comb holder adapter to a supered Warré box. I too like clean comb honey for table use, but the corner-comb that basic Warré boxes provide can be pretty scarce, and of course it's often freeform in build and must be cut to size.

The trick to avoiding Tower of Babel comb is to position the bottom of the section frames one beespace above the second-down box's topbars. Frames in a supered topmost box should be fine in a tall Warré, where the draftiness shouldn't significantly affect the brood zone. You can avoid foundation issues and reduce crosscombing by mounting short beeswax strips at the top of each section cell. The resulting honey comb will be freeform, but this can be a marketing point for picky customers.

/Alex Templeton
Beekeeping for Poets, wherever fine eBooks are sold (Amazon? Not yet)
 

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>Do they clean it well enough to make is presentable as comb honey?

They clean it well enough for crush and strain or extraction. It's not a matter of clean for comb honey, it's a matter of cocoons. For comb honey to be pleasant to eat it needs to be soft new comb with no cocoons in it.
 

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You could certainly add a framed section-comb holder adapter to a supered Warré box.
Thanks Templeton, that's what I was thinking. I'll probably top-bar some of my Langstroth boxes next year for Warre, then super with foundationless or wax only foundation frames when the flow hits hard. We'll see what happens!
 

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Well, I supered today, my swarm absconded 3 weeks ago. Should of figured it out, my Buddy caught a swarm 1 week after mine. We had no other hive that should've swarmed. They left me about 10lb,s of honey in pure white comb. So I added it to the top of my other Warre, giving it 5 box,s. We will see how it works come fall when I harvest.
 

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I installed a small swarm of bees last week into the bottom box with a couple of pieces of old comb leaning against the left wall with honey for the swarm. I expected the bees to move up to the top box and begin building comb, but it looks like they are building comb right next to the old comb pieces. a few bees have climbed up the wall of the top box, but they are definitely not building comb in the top box. What should I do?
 

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I installed a small swarm of bees last week, with a couple of pieces of old comb tealed against the left wall with honey for the swarm. I expected the bees to move up to the top box and begin building comb, but it looks like they are building comb right next to the old comb pieces. a few bees have climbed up the wall of the top box,, but they are definitely not building comb in the top box. What should I do?
So why is this a problem?
Let them build where they choose.
This is a "small swarm" and they can not be everywhere.
They are simply clinging to where it is more optimal to them.
 

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It is mid June. My understanding is that bees will build combs in the top of a Warre hive, and then move down, thus providing themselves with honeycomb and brood comb to keep them warm during the winter. If they build out the bottom and then move up to the top, the top will be filled with mostly air (unless they build it out too) and will not provide them with enough warmth to survive the winter. The swarm was small because. it went through a rainstorm before it was captured. I see the workers carrying in pollen, so i am hoping that means the queen is laying, but she has a helluva a lot of work to do to fill two boxes with bees and honey, and most of the nectar flow is over by now. Building right next to old comb will deform the new comb and I will have no way of removing the old comb later to give them room to finish the box. After the bees have created more comb away from the old comb, perhaps I could move the bottom box to the top, but I am not sure if that would disturb the queen.
 

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It is mid June. My understanding is that bees will build combs in the top of a Warre hive, and then move down ...
If we wind the whole "what do bees do ?" question back to the beginning: when entering a new cavity for the first time, then yes - bees will make their way to the top of that cavity, start attaching their combs there, and gradually begin building those combs downwards. But - then along come humans who swap those boxes around, and so the situation facing the bees then changes.

Bees are survivors, and survival for the honey-bee revolves around the combs that they draw. This cannot be stressed strongly enough - combs are ESSENTIAL to the life of the honey-bee - so that if by some mysterious occurrence (which is how the honey-bees see it) their working combs suddenly become located in the centre of a stack of boxes, rather than at the top of the cavity where they originally were - then they'll most probably stick with the combs they already have, which after all are proving to work ok, unless they feel a pressing need to expand their operation.

Many beekeeping techniques are based on 'tricks' which we play on the bees in order to get them to do what WE want - one of these is to place already drawn-out combs into a box above the box where the bees are currently living. These are often called 'ladders' and not only provide a convenient means of access upwards (which the bees don't really need), but fool the bees into thinking that some combs have already been built 'up there' at the top of the cavity, and so see it then as being their job to continue that work and build some more combs alongside them.

Remember: no-one's in charge in a beehive, and so bees tend to continue with whatever work has been started by other bees (or what APPEARS TO THEM to have been started by other bees). Perhaps the best example of this can be seen when queen-rearing, when bees will draw-out queen-cells from larvae chosen by humans which are presented in a vertical format which suggests other bees have already started that work. Also within the 'finisher hive' which continues raising the queen-cells initiated within a 'starter colony'.
'best
LJ
 
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