Our weather has warmed up and we are actually having days full of sunshine. The bees are able now to come out, on most days, for a few hours in the afternoons when the sun hits their hives and helps warm things up. At this point we seem to have 3 fairly active hives; the 1st, 2nd and 4th from the left all seem to be doing well. The 3rd from the left is slow and sluggish but there is life there. The fifth hive, our little Warre hive, is still as a grave. We obviously lost that one.
That was our first attempt at starting a Warre hive, we eventually want to phase out all the older, more hands-on high maintenance German boxes but last year we didn’t have much luck. The one you see above we started from a natural swarm which came from the 3rd hive from the left, I wrote about it here. It wasn’t a huge swarm but we hoped it would be enough to get things going. Peer told me that they never really took off though. They didn’t get much comb built and he had a feeling that they wouldn’t make it through the winter. He fed them up but it apparently wasn’t enough to get them through.
On the advice of another local beekeeper we tried to start another Warre hive last summer. He gave us a queen and suggested that we remove bees from one of our stronger hives and put them with the new queen to start a new hive. We did that…I wrote about it here, it was a fiasco and we will NEVER do that again. Nearly every night for a week, we would find that hive in total chaos, the queen crawling on the ground in front of the hive and her bees were scattered here, there and everywhere, they never bonded properly and eventually the colony got smaller and smaller and smaller as bees would leave, get lost and who knows what else, until Peer finally quit trying to hold them together…like I said, TOTAL disaster.
Anyway, that’s where we stand right now, we’ll see how the hives do as spring progresses and we will try again this year to get a few Warre hives established.