I have a Warre hive that overwintered this year. As a result the bees came into this season strong and ready to collect honey. The top box in my Warre stack is heavy with honey so I hope to have my first honey harvest. The challenge at hand is how to get the bees to move out of the box that I want to harvest.
Warre Bee Escape
There are several ways to encourage the bees to move. One is the use of a fume board. This is a cloth covered board onto which you spray or pour a chemical that really smells bad to bee noses. This drives them down the stack into the box below. Another way that I’ve read about is using a power blower. Remove the box and send a stream of air through the box blowing the bees south. Neither of these really appealed to me.
Darren from House of Bees, the craftsman that built my Warre hives, made some cool bee escapes. These give the bees a way down but due to the little maze he has made they don’t know how to get back. I’m placing the bee escape under the top box and hoping the bees will go down and out of the hive and then not come back into the box I want to harvest. Right now it is packed with bees so it will be interesting to see what happens.
This second installation went much smoother than my first. Some points that made it smoother:
1) I put the feeding bottles in the attic and closed it all up before starting the installation. This kept bees from getting into a no bee zone. When done I just picked the whole thing up and put it in place.
2) I put a cloth over the package when I removed the feeding can. This kept a cloud of bees from forming…making it a little less hectic for me.
3) I put the cloth on the top of the hive before putting on the attic. This encouraged the bees to move below the top of the top bars to reduce squishage. (technical term :))
4) This was my second time so I felt a little more confident.
I was at first concerned that I was not able to shake all of the the bees out of the package and into the hive. I found that by just placing the open package by the entrance of their new home that they migrated nicely into the new hive. I came by a few hours later and just picked up the empty box that the bees arrived in. Of course I’ll want to return this to Steadman’s so they can recycle the bee package for next year.
Since it will probably be a while before I do another package installation I’ll want to review this video and notes to get back up to speed before doing the next one.