After three years of horizontal top bar keeping I started beekeeping in a Warre two seasons ago. My first season with a Warre, the bees just built down into the second box so I didn’t harvest anything. This past early Spring 2012 there were three consecutive swarms off of the hive (which I caught and gave to new beekeepers) and then I added two boxes (nadiring) which the bees didn’t build into as I’d hoped they would. So I’m leaving them in the original two boxes this winter.
I hope to add boxes earlier in the Spring this coming Spring so the bees are less likely to swarm. I am in Denver Colorado metro where late frosts are common so this is why I was slow to add boxes - didn’t want to chill them unnecessarily.
I’m wondering why my bees didn’t get down into at least a third box this season? We are in a drought but my bees are in the suburbs so people do water their gardens and trees. I caught the bees originally from a swarm that had flown from a tree so they’re feral, survivor stock. Perhaps they are “frugal”?
Anyway, could folks give me an idea of how many pounds I might harvest from a Warre in a typical year? Is one box (30 lbs) common? Occasionally or rarely two boxes (60 lbs)? I’d like to get an idea of what I might expect. I hope to expand my apiary next season. When I expand the apiary I’ll hopefully have some less frugal bees in the mix…
I’m also wondering if perhaps my bees just didn’t like going past the top bars. In the Bee-Friendly Beekeeper David Heath mentions some folks use top bars oriented vertically. He has a photo on page 114. The vertically oriented bars give more space for the bees to build downward. Matt - any chance you would offer vertically oriented bars in the future?
Thanks for any input you can give. And please if you respond tell me what your location is. Hoping to hear from some folks who live in semi-arid cold winter areas (as well as other locales). Much appreciated!