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Warre Honey Harvest


#1

This is my first day on this forum. My apologies if this question has already been answered. My wife started with a Warre hive about this time last year with a swarm I caught. I’ve kept Langstroth’s for about 18 years. Yesterday we decided that she should take honey. The hive has three full boxes and the bees are beginning to draw out a fourth. As I understand Warre’s, the top box at this point should be all honey. Three frames in, we found brood, both capped and uncapped. The queen was not anywhere to be found. We put everything back together and left it. What should we have done? Is it normal to find brood in the top box? Should we have gone ahead anyway and sacrificed the brood? Thanks for your help.


#2

Dave,

Thanks for your post. That’s a curious thing. Did they start in the top box and build down? What’s in the bottom boxes? Have you gone through all of them? Often this time of year the bottom combs are still relatively empty if the colony overwintered. They usually eat up through their honey and then build back down again. I’d leave the box and harvest it later in the season. At some point, especially if they are actually building in the 3rd and 4th boxes down, the top boxes will have no brood. I just wonder what’s actually filling the combs in the bottom boxes.

Best,


#3

Matt, The hive was started from a swarm we caught in the spring of 2014. It was placed in a single box. My wife purchased the boxes from you folks. They have the observation windows. This is my wife’s hive and she takes a completely hands-off approach. The decision to add additional boxes was made solely on observations through the windows. The hive went through the winter with three boxes. We are in central California and our spring came really early this year. She ordered a fourth box and installed it in early April. Looking through the windows, the top two boxes are completely full, the third is almost full and the bees are beginning to draw out the fourth. My wife is in complete agreement about waiting to harvest anymore honey. Are you in agreement with the hands off approach, or would you visually inspect each box? Thanks