2nd package arrived – Carnolians

We picked up a our second package of bees today or so we thought. The package actually turned out to be a nuc. The seller said it would be good to keep it as a nuc without transferring the bees for at least one more week to allow the brood to hatch so we can have a larger number of bees overall. I had read on the natural beekeeping forum that we can transfer the nuc into the warre using the following method:

1) Have two Warre boxes, a feeder box, and another box on the top that will accept the brood comb
2) Find and capture the queen in a small box
3) Remove frames from the nuc and brush the bees into the new hive
4) Use a towel or sheet as a ramp up to the entrance of the hive and shake the remaining bees out of the box and off the frames. Make sure there are NO bees on the frames and put them back in the nuc and put the lid on.
5) Once most of the bees have climbed the ramp and are in the new hive, release the queen through the entrance of the hive.
6) Take the Langstroth frames and cut them in half so they will fit into the top Warre box. You must also cut the height of the frame down to 205mm to allow them to fit.
7) Place the cut frames upside down into the top box of the Warre hive. Apparently, by placing the frames upside down, it will deter the queen from laying eggs.
8) After one week, open the top box, remove the comb, remove the box, and close up the hive.

It has been two days since we moved the nuc into the Warre hive using this method. The bees are not drawing out comb in the lower boxes though and have congregated in the top box with the brood. We will wait a week to see what transpires. Ultimately, a package of bees is much easier to install than a Langstroth nuc because the dimensions of the frames are different.

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The Bees Have Arrived!

I have spent months now studying about bees, building Warre hives, attending beekeeping meetings, and everything has culminated into todays events! The You Tube video is not the greatest as I wasn’t able to show you exactly how to install a package of bees, but I got a before and after shot.

The type of bees I got are Minnesota Hygienic. They were bred by Dr. Marla Spivak for their hygienic behavior which helps in combating the varroa mite.

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Installing honey comb foundation into your Warre Hive

Here is how I install my foundation into the Denis style half frames

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Feeding your bees

I use Tuscon Bee Diet and a 1:1 ratio of sugar syrup with essential oils

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Frame Spacing

I’m now on You Tube!

This video will show you how to properly space your frames into the Warre Hive

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Hive update: Box window covers, linseed oil

I have just finished the covers for the windows on the boxes and posted pics. I had an old campaign sign that I cut to add some insulation to the window before putting on the cover as well. I will attach the covers by using metal latches.

I also have put two coats of linseed oil onto the hive. Linseed oil is preferred in natural beekeeping as it does not contain harmful chemicals yet will protect the hive from the weather. Pics of the hives post-linseed applications will come soon.

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The Vanishing of the Bees

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Varroa Floor Sump Box

I have finished the hive floor which deviates from the standard Warre floor design.  I had little to go on other than a couple of sketchups and some pictures.  Over the course of building the floor, I made some of my own modifications.  The dimensions are:

Box:  (2) 300mm x 110mm (2) 337mm x 110mm.  I found these dimensions to work perfectly with 19mm thick lumber which is readily available in my neck of the woods

Floor:  337 x 337 mm recycled plywood

On the 300mm pieces, I cut 1/2 grooves about 25mm down along the entire length of the piece.  I used these grooves as runners for the screened tray.

On the 337mm pieces, I ripped one piece  at 25 mm which allows for a back bracket to be nailed in.  The larger piece can then be removed to clean out the tray and floor.  I used a thin piece of hardboard placed at the bottom to collect mites and debris.

I used a router on the other piece to cut a 120mm x 20mm entrance.

Instead of 100mm for the height, I chose 110mm which is a little higher, but it allowed me to cut a 120mm x 20mm entrance (front side) and still gave me space to place the tray while still allowing for some support on the back side.

The screen is #8 hardware cloth which prevents the bees from getting below the tray.  I have posted pictures which can be seen here

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Denis Frames – A more economical way to build Warre Hive Frames

I have just made 64 top bars for my two Warre Hives (8 frames per box). I used two 2 x 4’s for the top bars by cutting 5mm off of each edge to ‘square’ the stock (although not completely square) and then I ripped the length at 24mm, width at 10mm, and cut 319mm in length. I have seen frame sizes range anywhere from 335 to 324mm, but since my lumber was at 19mm thick, the rebates set at 1cm x 1cm, it seems that 319mm is the best suited for my boxes.

I also used a router and made center slots into the top bar to allow for foundation if I wish.

My research concluded that the Delon style frame was the easiest way to make a frame for the Warre box. I even broke down and bought a cheap rod bender. As it turns out, I had not done my research on pricing. I thought 1/8″ steel rod wouldn’t be that much money, but I was wrong. Each rod will have to be at least 20+190+319+190+20mm (bent at 90 degree angles). At 2.00USD a rod, making 64 rods is just way too much money. A lesson to be learned by an alternative noob beekeeper. My suggestion is to stick with wood.

I have decided to follow the Denis tradition and use 90mm side bars (Porte Rayon). Based on his pictures, this allows for the bees to build comb that will not stick to the sides.

I am fastening the side bars to the top bar using a simple jig. Just take your Warre hive box, place a place a 120mm piece of wood on each side for the side bars to rest on, then put the top bars in place. Make sure they are square and plumb. I then use a 18 gauge pneumatic brad nailer/stapler and place two nails into the side bars from the top bar. Since 18 gauge is quite small, I then take out the frame and place another nail into the side bar and angle it towards the top bar. Time will tell if this is strong enough, but my logic is the side bars are really place holders; the comb itself will reinforce the frame.

So instead I have opted for the Denis style frame. It seems that Denis (a professional beekeeper in France using the Warre style hive) figured out that he could use the same dimensions as his top bar, but keep the length at a mere 90mm which allowed the bees to build comb that would not stick to the sides of the hive.

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Delon Frames

I have probably spent way too much time determining the right type of frame to use in my newly made Warre hives. There are several good websites in French that describe different styles of frames and the warre.biobees.com site lists different dimensions of hives and their corresponding frame dimensions here. Warre himself describes the use of frames in the 5th addition of “Beekeeping for all”.

Over time, I came to realize that the easiest way to make a proper frame with limited woodworking skills is to work with 1/8 steel rod. The top bar is the same dimensions but you then bend steel rod to form the sides and the bottom of the frame. For more information about frames using steel rods, check out the PDF of Roger Delon’s “Stable-Climate-Hive”.

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