Feral swarm transfer and 2nd Warré harvest

Stormy weather today for the German Paragliding open, so plenty of time to do some bee jobs which need to be done. A few day ago I removed from a tree one of my few successful bait hives. It was a cylindrical double walled plastic piece of tubing, normally used for drainage, which I cut to a volume of around 40litres, coated the inside with bees was, and made an entrance smothered in propolis. The top was sealed with a Warre sized top bar grid, and on top of this covered with cloth, and on top of that sealed with plastic to make it watertight.

The idea was that I could just lift out a small colony straight into a Warre box with minimal disturbance. However, this colony had already grown to a weight of around 20kilos (honey, wax and bees and container), so any attempt to transfer to a standard box would involve lots of comb breakage and distress for the bees. I decided to leave them in the container, but remove the bottom an put them over a joining board so that they can grow down into a Warre box and use one of my adapted Warre floors for varroa monitoring. Paul and Peter helped, and the transfer can bee seen in the photos.

After this I removed a Warre box full of honey which as been a few days with a clearer board separating the top box from the rest of the colony (this is essentially a board that allows the bees to leave the top box, but which makes it more difficult for them to go back up. Thus after a few days you can remove the honey harvest without too many bees to worry you. There were perhaps 50 or so bees, a few more that the last time it did it. Maybe leaving it on for so long (5 days) some bees learnt how to access the top again. I now have the box full of comb honey which I will cut and drain tomorrow if there is time

Posted: Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 at 21:28 by Steve in Beekeeping.

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4 Responses to “Feral swarm transfer and 2nd Warré harvest”

  1. Norm Says:

    Do you not crush and strain?

  2. Lee Says:

    Hi Steve, Good to see you’ve got some bad-weather activities at speed now.

    Our local bee man considers wild swarms to be of little profit. After settling down, he removes the queen, and replaces with a selected bred individual. In summer months thus, the whole hive will have changed population after a couple of months. Do you do this? I can put you in touch with this chap; he breeds queens. The new hive will be tamer and more productive.

  3. graham Says:

    hi steve,why would the queen leave the colony i can understand the workers needing to get outside therefore going through the clearer board , do you always use a clearer board when harvesting warre hives? i have yet to do this as i wont be taking any honey from my warres this year but i might get a little from my top bar as they have gone mad,not so keen with the top bar as i dont think it is so manageable so might rig up something early spring putting a warre under the top bar with a clearer board but not sure about the queen,any suggestions?
    Got a bit casual with the bees last week no protection etc thought they were very placid, made the mistake of going for a run then on the way home stopped in to see them,had a look into my small warre colony, well the little ba—-ds had me big time i had to run like hell
    they got me 5 times arm came up like a baloon plus legs and back 2 sleepless and itchy nights, serves me right, the worst part though is that i killed 5 bees,they obviously dont like sweaty runners,,live and learn,let me know about the clearer board when you have got a minute,,,,Cheers Graham

  4. jeff millerd Says:

    You guys are missing the point of the Warre Hive. Have you read the book “Beekeeping for All” by Abbé Émile Warré ?? Human intervention is not ideal. Let the bees do their thing, because quite honestly, most of the time they can do it better without us.

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