Starting a warré hive on an urban rooftop

June 20th

We had ordered package bees back in January, but we had trouble getting the breeder to give us the bees. As it was starting to get late in the season, I whipped together two more nuc to warré adapters and we bought nuc's from a different breeder instead. Here they are buckled in on the back seat of my parents car.

Bee hives buckled into the back seat of my parents carPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Using nucs meant we had a little more weight to haul up to the roof. We just used a rope, tried to set the angles to our advantage and pulled.

getting the hive ready to liftPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

It worked, but as we anticipate heavy honey boxes needing to descend from the roof in the future, we are going to try and source a hoist with brakes.

June 27th

We named this colony Sky. Things were relatively quiet around the entrance but it was a cloudy day.

The breeder gave us frames from different colonies so the queen had been placed in a cage.

4 frame nuc for the sky hive + the warré starter framePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They built a whole lot of comb on the empty frame we placed in the nuc to seed the warré shaped box below. The comb mostly contained nectar, but there were a few eggs present.

warré seed frame almost filled outPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Lots of brood on three of the other nuc box frames:

lots of broodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

more broodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

and a frame with a good amount of food:

the honey framePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We moved the warré seed frame down. The comb built on the side of the frame was trimmed off and squished in around the top bars of the nuc.

The waste of comb is extremely disappointing and has proven to be largest drawback to this method of encouraging the bees to move down into the warré box. It caught me by surprise as I had started comb for a top bar hive in a similar way last year and expected the sides to be the last place they would build comb. In the future I will have to consider blocking off the side gaps around the frame so this doesn't happen.

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