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?
Warre recommends nadiring (adding to the bottom). Though he does refer to top supering with smaller boxes for cut comb honey. I’ve only supered a few times, but I plan to do it a bit more this year for cut comb honey, as well as to reduce honey binding.
The beauty of the Warre hive is that as you add to the bottom, the bees (ideally!) build comb and move the brood nest downward. That way at the end of the season, say if you’ve got 4 boxes fully built on the hive, you could potentially have 2 boxes at the top loaded with honey (and only honey) and 2 at the bottom for the bees (one with honey and the other with brood).
Yes you are harvesting honey from combs that once had brood in them. I’ve got anywhere between 12-15 Warre hives at any given time and I harvest a lot of honey. This has never been an issue in terms of quality, taste, etc. The customers never know.