February 01, 3000

My Colorado Beekeeping Calendar: A sticky post

A Phenological Calendar for Colorado Beekeepers



By undergoing VIT, I successfully reduced my sensitivity to honeybee venom to safe levels! After taking several years off, my interest in beekeeping has not waned, and I'm anxious to restock our hives. I will definitely let you know when that happens!

Meanwhile, what about you? What are your plans for this season? If you're in the Denver metro, maybe my bloom calendar will help you think them through. The green bars in the calendar are what's blooming now. ☝️ Keep in mind that the dates can shift a couple of weeks in either direction depending on weather conditions. For example, the excessively warm 2017/2018 winter had elm trees blooming well before Valentine's Day. The snow storm on President's Day, though, cut short its blooming period. You can click on any of the events for more details and additional reading. I hope you find it useful.

The blue bars = honeybee tasks, yellow = mason bee. And don't forget, Marty Hardison's booklet, "The Appropriate Beehive" is available at right. If you like The List he wrote for when to do what for one's bees, please consider making a donation. It'll ensure "The Appropriate Beehive" remains available through this website. I'm working with Marty on an update. I'm challenged by the limits of Google Docs because I can't afford Microsoft Word, but I'm trying to find a solution so we can post it for you ASAP. Until then, may your hives be humming. — BB & HB




Blogger Tip: create a "pinned" or "sticky post" by publishing it with a date in the future, like in the year 3000. It'll stay at the top of your page as long as the date hasn't passed.

July 09, 2020

Warré Hive from the Bottom, Up

Beehive for Sale – Local Pickup Only

This is a virtual your of my cedar Warré hive, all the parts and accessories from the bottom up. It was built by a professional carpenter, not home-made, and is sure to be compatible with any Warré components added in the future. I conferred with a few fellow beekeepers and feel $250 is a fair price, because the offering is for more than just a beehive. Here's what's included, from the bottom up.

The very bottom is a "deep sump" bottom board. It's better than a standard one because a) it's screened so mites fall through and away from your bees, and b) an extra couple inches makes it extra difficult for the mites to crawl back onto your bees. The extra depth also gives the bees space to beard inside the hive. There's a slot for sliding in a mite counting board (which can double as a solid bottom in the winter). It wouldn't be a bad idea to put the bottom board on a hive stand, especially if the hive will be overwintering in a spot that gets a lot of snow. That's a 4-inch flower pot, to give you a sense of scale.

This is a hive body. (I think this one is pine.) It has three holes drilled into it, currently plugged with corks, giving you the option to give your bees the option for upper entrance(s). Mine preferred the uppers. Successful beekeepers give the bees what the bees need, not what the beekeeper themselves would like. If this hive body is used as a super, these entrances enable your bees to "dump and run." They can deliver nectar without having to travel through the brood nest for efficient honey production. I've experimented with a variety of top bars. Whether paint stirrer, popsicle stick, tor riangle guide, they all work equally as well. This kit contains more than the 8 needed per box, should you ever decide to perform a single-comb harvest.

This is a hive body with an observation window. Brass hardware secures the shutter over the (plexi?)glass. Look through the window and you'll see the first three top bars are outfitted with short side bars (standard Langstroth parts). This is nontraditional but I like that the sidebars are "self-spacing" so you don't have to nail the top bars in to maintain bee space. Proper bee space encourages the bees to build straight comb. Also, most municipalities require that combs be inspectable so these are "to code."

This is a piece of brood comb tied into one of the "frames." It is a very valuable resource that can be used to attract a swarm in the Spring, encourage a package of bees to not abscond, or to encourage bees that have decided to stay put to build straight comb. Comb and lived-in woodenware are the most enticing things you can offer your bees. BONUS: this is all chemical-free!

This is an eke, sometimes called a Mountain Camp feeding rim, made out of teak. It provides about a 2" deep space to lay in solid feed like candy and pollen patties. You could also put a gallon-sized baggie feeder in the space.

But this hive top feeder is a much better (and plastic-free) way to give your bees a large amount of liquid feed, in a quick fashion. Fewer disruptions are best for any colony, but especially a colony that needs a hand for whatever reason.

This is a queen excluder. A honey super would go on top of this when your colony is ready to produce excess honey. It's a completely optional piece of equipment, but it keeps the queen out of the the hive body on top so she can't lay eggs there. Most people don't like brood in their honey. As you can see, the screen has propolis on it. The strong scent of propolis is very encouraging to new resident bees. It tells them that bees chose to live here before, so it must be a good home.

This is the quilt. The propolis screen (rolled up in parchment paper) should be laid between the uppermost hive body/super and the quilt. It limits how much the bees can gunk up the canvas and prevents them from securing the quilt to the hive body. The canvas needs to remain breathable so it can vent moisture up and out of the hive. The box is filled with shredded aspen wood, also known as excelsior. It should never feel damp. If it does, your colony has an extreme moisture problem.

The gabled roof "telescopes" down, completely covering the quilt. I stuffed a nylon garlic bag into the ridge vent to discourage wasps from building a nest in the roof. The large side vent is not screened but that might be a smart modification. [Side note: one thing that makes me love Warrés is the options they provide via modifications and accessories. Horizontal top bar hives are set-it-and-forget-it. Forget about making mods easily or outfitting them with accessories.]
A hive tool is necessary for hive inspections. This is a standard 8 or 9" tool (sorry, I'm too lazy to go find a ruler). I never got a chance to use my cheese slicer, so it's brand new. If/when your bees build comb that connects to the box below, a hive tool won't help you. But cheese wire will slice through the comb, allowing you to separate the boxes with minimal damage to the combs. Just make sure to slice from the direction where all combs get cut at the same time, otherwise you might cause a domino-effect and have a disaster on your hands.

So there you have it. A two body Warré Hive with accessories, ready for bees. Price is negotiable. Let's talk!
  • deep sump bottom board
  • (2) hive bodies, one with observation window
  • all the top bars you'd need
  • quilt
  • propolis screen
  • gabled roof
  • teak solid feeding rim
  • hivetop syrup feeder
  • queen excluder
  • bait comb
  • hive tool
  • cheese wire

Related Posts: You may be interested in my Primer posts which include suggestions on How To Get Bees.