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Author Topic: Installing a package in a Warre  (Read 1594 times)

Offline NeilTheCop

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Installing a package in a Warre
« on: April 15, 2011, 10:16:16 AM »
The big day is Sunday when I pick up my first package, but what's the best way to install?
I read about some who spray with a sugar solution and others who say, don't do it. Some let the queen out of her cage straight away, some who hang the cage on a bar and let the others eat the candy, and others who put the cage on the floor in a corner.
And how many boxes do you start with?. Beekeeping for all says start with two and then later add more. The prospect of lifting two, hopefully heavy boxes, with the associated irate inhabitants isn't appealing, so can you start with 4 boxes?. After all the Kenyan hive starts as a huge empty space for the bees, and they don't seem to mind.

So many questions, so little time.

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Offline Buz Green

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Re: Installing a package in a Warre
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 12:54:59 PM »
Hey, Neil.
The first package I installed, I sprayed them with sugar water and the bees were busy cleaning each other off and were quite calm. The second year I felt a little more confident handling them so I just installed them without spraying and they were a little less calm but by no means aggressive. I don't think spraying them does them any harm and it's good to take a few extra precautions when it' your first time.
Since packages involve a queen that is totally new to the bees that are with her I think that leaving her in the cage for a few days is a good idea. I hang the cage in the middle of one of the center bars (with the cork removed) and in 2 or 3 days, if the bees haven't released her, I remove the candy cork.
The first year, a new package should fill 2 or 3 boxes and at my location that's just a little more than the bees need to winter over. If I don't leave two full boxes to winter over I have to feed in the spring. This means I have to leave 3 boxes on a hive to winter over because if I have to leave 2 full boxes there is always some brood in the top of the third box and I don't want to disturb that.
You can start with all four boxes, the bees don't seem to mind.
There are some pics of my first packages being installed in the "Our Story" section on my website:
Good luck with your first install.
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Offline trentfysty

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Re: Installing a package in a Warre
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 01:33:16 PM »

Congrats on starting your first Warre Hive. Buz gives some great advice. I prefer to leave the queen in her cage and hang it from one of the middle bars in the top box. After a couple of days check on her to see if she has been released and if not, relase her. I have also done direct release with no problems but it's a little more nerve-racking. If your package has been together for 3 days or so then a direct release should not cause any issues. Less then 3 days and I would stick with letting the workers release her.

Sugar water does help to calm them down and being your first install will probably help things go a little better. Just a light misting will do.

Starting with four boxes should not be an issue. There are some opinions out there that say the further the bees have to climb the less efficient they are. Also, some have said that the more boxes you have the more likely it is that they bees will be hesitant to move down to the next box. I have a couple of thoughts, adding the third box won't be to big of an issue as the top box will not be completely filled with honey when they start the third box. Also, by starting with 4 you will most likely need to remove one box from the top to harvest, if there are sufficient stores, or from the bottom to winter over. It will be much harder to remove a 4th bottom box in the fall then to add a third box mid-summer. If you are concerned about weight, and since you will probably have this hive for a while, build a lift. There are great plans on David Heaf's site and they are pretty easy to build. My lift comes in very handy, not just because I can work alone, but because the lift is much more smooth and doesn't seem to disturb the bees as much as when one to two people are lifting the boxes.

Buz is right on that you will probably only have 2-3 boxes filled the first year. You may be able to harvest but plan on not and just leaving all they produce this year for them to winter over. If you really don't want to lift the boxes then start with three and that will most likely get you through the season.

I would also add that adding boxes to the bottom doesn't seem to cause as much issue with the bees as opening the top. Just be confident and steady in your movement of the boxes and all should be good.