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Not Happy Bees


I’ve been keeping bees in Langstroth hives for 7 years. This year have 2 new packages; one in Langstroth, one in new Warre. We hived them on Saturday afternoon, 3 days ago. The Langstroth gals seem fine. The Warre bees are not fine.

The Warre bottom rests on a pair of cinder blocks, carefully leveled. There are 3 boxes; bottom one doesn’t yet have the top bars in place; the second has waxed top bars and double layer muslin over them, with hole in middle for a jar feeder, and the third is making space for a jar feeder resting on the bars of box 2. Above that the canvas-bottom box of leaves and the outer cover, which has a copper roof. Setting is a hill above a pond, facing south-east, with good morning & mid-day sun exposure and some shade to the west.

The bees are irritable, loud, and chase me off. A lot of wild activity around the hive during the day, zooming around in circles. There’s a small (fist-sized) cluster on the outside of the hive (as dusk falls at 7:30 pm) on the top box. I intended to put the top bars in the bottom box today, but the vibe was so aggressive so I didn’t want to poke around.

I’m not sure what is causing the problem; maybe they didn’t accept the queen or she didn’t survive release.There are a lot of thatch ants around the outside of the hive; I don’t think they can get in much but maybe they found a chink. I’m going to look tomorrow morning, put the bars in the bottom box, refresh the feeder jar. It feels like they are planning to abscond & I’d rather they did not. After a lot of winter losses in Langstroth I’ve been hoping the Warre would be a solution, but right now I’m not feeling good about it. any ideas from the Warre-literate?



Sounds like a “hot” colony. I doubt it has anything to do with the type of hive, but the genetics of the colony itself.

I’d wait it out and see what happens in the next few days…but there’s not much to be done if I’m correct other than to kill the queen once she starts laying and hope the new queen they rear makes nicer bees than those you received!

You could also talk to the package supplier and let them know how mean the bees are, and that you received two packages from them (one of them being docile).




Thanks Matt. Since this is a new package, put together in California last Thursday or so, I reckon the queen is not the mother of these bees & her offspring might turn out quite nice, if they settle down and raise some. I’m going out there this morning to give them support; will let you know how it turns out.



It’s the ants, I’m sure. A Lot of thatch ants up inside the bottom box. We got an old Langstroth stand, adapted it for the Warre bottom, put Tanglefoot on the legs, and put the hive on that. Made sugar offerings to the Ant Gods in a perimeter a few feet out. Hopefully the bees will feel better about their house now.



It looks like my top bar bees will be strong enough to make a split this year, but I am not sure how to best do this into a Warre hive. Any suggestions? Thanks!