Visiting My Aunts

My cousin finished two of the four boxes I asked him to make. My aunt wanted them to all be window boxes, which is the main reason it’s taken him so long. Here’s a picture of his handy work!

The cover for the window has a second piece of board attached to it on the inside so that there’s a bit of extra insulation around the window for the bees. I put one box on the bottom of my aunts hive, and I’ll hold onto this one for next year.

My aunts hive felt nice and heavy; at least 40 pounds. I don’t expect the bees to fill in the third box before the end of the year, but it’d be nice if they did. Except to say that bees in Warre’s are supposed to overwinter in just two boxes, so I’m not sure how I’m supposed condense the bees down without killing off some brood. I’ll have to re-read the book to see what it says.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention I made the novice mistake of not zipping my veil shut. I put it on but was talking to my cousin and completely forgot to zip it. I discovered this when I had two bees flying around in my helmet. I was fortunate enough not to get stung by either of them.

My aunts hive also has some very interestingly colored drones. They’re a combination of the ugly blue-ish color that Agatha’s drones were (and Trunchen Hive’s still are), and a wonderful deep-amber color. I accidentally squished one and tried to show it to my cousin, but a couple of bees were not happy about the loss of their brother and angrily buzzed my cousin before I could show him. The variation in color between the drones in this hive is much more pronounced than White Hive’s solid gold drones, or Trunchen Hives ugly blue ones.

My cousin is going to try and work out a way for the top bars to become frames. I’d be perfectly fine with a Warre Hive if it had frames. I won’t use foundation, I just want four pieces of wood hammered together (maybe with some wire through them) so I can actually look in the hive. That said, my aunts bees had drawn out the wax properly to the underside of the top bars, instead of to the sides of two of them. I was going to pull one up to look at it, but the bees had attached it to the wall. It was nice that I could actually see in between the comb though, which I can’t with mine.

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6 responses to “Visiting My Aunts”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    One of the beekeepers I know who had a top bar hive ended up making hollow frames for his hives like you suggest. He found it helped the frames get less stuck together.

    • willowbatel says :

      ok good, I was hoping that that would be the case. If it’s worked for someone else then I’ll definitely ask my cousin to modify the top bars of the boxes not in use. Did the beekeeper you know run wires through the frames? Without foundation I’m not sure the wax in the hollow frames could handle being moved around as easily. That said, the distance the wax will cover is going to be about half of what it is on foundation… I think I’ll run wires through just to be safe. You can put wired frames in an extractor right?

      • Emily Heath says :

        That particular beekeeper didn’t put wires through, but I was chatting to a foundationless beekeeper last weekend and he does put a couple of wires through. If you’re going foundationless why not make cut comb honey rather than extracting?

        • willowbatel says :

          No one in my family likes the wax unfortunately. I love it. There’s nothing like bitting into a chunk of honey filled comb, but no one in my family will touch it. And I usually give out most of my surplus honey to my family for christmas, lol.

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