The bees are clustered in their hives and only venture forth briefly on the occasional sunny day; conserving their energy and waiting for the return of flowering trees and plants in the spring. We can’t do anything for them now but cross our fingers and hope they make it. It’s the time to reflect back on the past season and get ready for the next.
We’re going to be experimenting with a Warre hive next year. It is also a foundationless top bar hive like the Kenyan; but it uses stacked boxes similar to a regular Langstroth hive. The specific advantages of this hive type over the horizontal top bar are:
- very easy to build
- uses less yard space
- very low maintenance requirements
- few intrusions into the hive
- good over-wintering ability
- and it just looks cute
It has a few weak points too, of course, but there are ways of dealing with these:
- less opportunity to interact with and observe the bees on the comb
- harder to assess hive health
- potentially more likely to swarm
The hive came together really easily, following one of the plans available on the internet. I don’t have the best tools and I was using scrap material I still had from previous projects, but it still looks pretty good. Now I’m really curious to see how the bees will like it.