Return Frames Here

I know it hasn’t been 7 days yet but my mom foolishly put all of my extracting equipment on our barbecue at our back patio. I went out with a friend and came home to find several dozen bees buzzing around my patio. I decided to put the frame back in the hive because being unable to go outside is not fun!

The bees in White Hive are bringing in lots of honey, but wax production is at a bothersome low. They haven’t made hardly any new wax this year, aside from the cappings for the brood and honey. The super is being capped, as are several frames throughout the brood chambers. The queen has moved back up into the top brood box, and there were a few eggs in there, but not as many as there easily could be. Maybe she’s only a 1 brood box type of gal. Anyway, I put the empty frame on the edge of the bottom brood box and left them alone. The book I’m currently reading (Guide to Bees and Honey) says that it should take you less than 10 minutes to look through a hive. I usually take about an hour… I tried not to take so long today, and it helped that I was able to find the queen (who I like to see every time I’m in there). I still haven’t decided on a name for her yet. Anyway, there is a lot of pollen and capped honey, but not much in the way of eggs, or even capped brood (though I didn’t search this out, as I had found the queen and eggs). There are also a lot more of the golden guys walking around.

I moved over to Trunchen Hive in the hopes I might be able to peek in and examine some frames. I’ve officially decided I hate this hive type. The bees draw the wax out between the bars, instead of directly on them, which means I’m unable to look at anything in the hive. The book says that I’m supposed to only take boxes without brood in them to harvest, but I have absolutely no way to get in and see if there’s brood in the boxes or not. I cut through lots of wax that was connecting two bars and pulled one up, but the wax had been attached to the walls and floor so all I managed to do was uncap the top honey cells. The chunk of wax was large enough and so well connected it didn’t fall over though, so that was good. I tried this in several places and only succeeded in getting one bar, from the edge, up. The bees hadn’t completed drawing this out so I was able to look at it. It was extremely difficult to manipulate and I had to be careful not to break it’s “roots” (the two places where the wax was attached to the edge of the bar, not the bottom like it should be). I took the top box off and pulled what remained of the newspaper off of the edges of the box below, as no newspaper remained where it was accessible to the bees.

The other problem with this hive is its construction. The wood in the pieces I bought from Bee Thinking is warping terribly, and it was cut wrong. One of the handles on the second box (the original top box of the hive) is warping and has a split in it, which makes me weary to use it. It has bowed away from the hive, so that there’s a gap between it had the hive. There is also a huge gap between the boxes on the handle side, because this piece of wood was cut too short, where dozens of bees are using it as an entrance. This will be a huge problem during the winter when the wind comes rushing through. I picked up this box (with great effort and care) and found that the bees hadn’t completely filled in the box below. That’s the lower of the two original boxes. The top box and the one beneath it were almost completely full, as was the bottom box so far as I could tell. The bees had also glued the wax from the second box to the top bar of the third, which had nothing drawn on it and so came up without issue, which is why I was able to see so clearly into the third box. There were probably 2 or 3 bars that had yet to be drawn out in this box, which is definitely a part of the brood chambers.

I do NOT like this hive as it is currently. If the bars had some wires on them that allowed things to be manipulated easier I wouldn’t mind them at all, but the fact that I can’t see anything in the hive is a nuisance. How am I supposed to tell if they’re going to swarm? Or if they need more room? Inspecting for disease is impossible, unless the hive is horribly overrun by mites or has brown smears all over it. Unless I can somehow make frames from the top bars, I think I’ll replace Trunchen Hive with another langstroth, because this Warre is really only for people who want to ‘have’ bees, not ‘keep’ them. The only good thing I have to say about this hive is that it’s cheap to make (though, not to buy) and requires no attention (simply because you have no way to give it any). The bees also behave better because you can’t get in to bother them.

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2 responses to “Return Frames Here”

  1. Emily says :

    Your comments on the Warre hive are very interesting. Watch out for robbing in that gap, maybe it would be best to cover the gap somehow; parcel tape should work.

    • willowbatel says :

      I was thinking about doing something like that, but I was going to wait until a little bit later in the year, when I was sure that I wouldn’t be removing any boxes. I was surprised by the lack of guards at this side entrance too, because my aunts hive has dozens of guards at its enhance at most times of the day. Trunchen Hive has very few guards, if any, but White Hive does a good job of protecting/patroling its borders, lol.

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