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Bees not going down to new box


I have a Warre hive I started last Spring. It never expanded into lower box, and swarmed instead. Luckily the cluster left made it through winter in one box. This Spring they were doing well so I nadired a box for expansion. They won’t make comb in it. They actually put comb on top of bars instead. So I added a box on top of cluster. Now they are making comb in top and bottom box! And they are still wanting to make comb on top of the bars on the brood box. Have I really confused them or am I the only one confused ? Any thoughts? Should I just wait and watch?


I’m sorry I don’t have any answers for you, but my hive is doing the EXACT same thing!!! I’m hoping someone will have some insights. I am a 1st year beekeeper & was quite surprised when my bees swarmed instead of moving into the lower box!

Now they’re building comb on the top bars of the bottom box & building up! I just don’t know what to think other than my bees didn’t read the Warre manual! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one experiencing this.

Keeping my fingers crossed that both of us will get some suggestions. Good luck!


I had something similar happen. The bees were thriving, filled top box with comb, and started a couple small combs on the 2nd box… then they swarmed! It was probably in late July or so when the swarm occurred. It seemed late.
Things have worked out though. The remaining bees raised a queen and they are carrying on. It was so late in the season that they never did make too much more comb in that 2nd box. 3 large lonely pieces that are not being used. The colony remained small after the swarm.
It’s now the end of October and my bee colony has thinned quite a bit more with the dearth and colder temperatures. I put an internal feeder inside the hive and put straw under and around the hive to insulate it.
I’m hoping they will survive the winter between feedings and their honey supply.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Has anyone else had a small colony filling just one box survive the winter? I’m also wondering if I should take out the bottom box that has the 3 pieces of comb in it.

This is my first year as a beekeeper. I realize now I should have done the fall feeding about 3 weeks earlier. Hoping for their winter success. :crossed_fingers:t3::pray:t3::honeybee:


Beelinda, ginnyv, and Macy,
You can take a top bar of drawn comb out of the established box and place it in the middle of the lower or new box and replace the removed top bar with an empty top bar to replace the removed one. This is like baiting them to come down and start building. It is a little work to cut lose from the sides but just be careful not to brake the comb lose from the top bar or saw your queen in half… Best of luck.


That’s a great idea. Better to use a top bar that is on the side or more near the center? I’ll give it a try in the spring. :blush::heart:️:honeybee:


It won’t matter that much as long as its a mostly to fully drawn out comb. Some brood on it will force them to go down there to keep it warm but they will be drawn to it regardless. Best of luck!
P.S. Just be careful to cut the ends free from your Warre hive, and make sure to check for any brace comb, you will have to cut any of that too, so you don’t damage the comb