The Warre hive has been sitting around empty and forlorn since I built it last December (and we recently acquired another one). Meanwhile, our top bar nucleus hive was thriving and fairly bursting at the seams. This is the swarm we captured last summer.
Upon inspection we discovered that every comb was full of brood, with just a tiny bit of pollen, nectar, and honey. No wonder they had been hitting the fondant so hard. They were completely out of space. Something needed to be done. We decided to move the lot of them to the full-sized Warre.
A Warre comb is a little narrower and shorter than our Kenyan top bars; so we needed to cut each comb off the bar, trim it down to size, and re-attach it to a Warre bar. The nucleus contained 11 bars.
It was not a fun job. Nectar and honey were all over the place; comb was being cut and mangled; and inevitably some of the brood cells were destroyed. Under the circumstances, I think we did a decent job. We had planned the process and were able to complete it quickly, without exposing the bees and brood for too long. However, it’s not something we want to do again very soon. Hopefully, the colony will quickly adapt to their new home and continue growing into the newly available space.
On the chopping block. Note the queen cups on the left edge of the comb. This hive would have swarmed before long.
On this picture you can see how much deeper honey cells are compared to brood cells.
Transferred bars installed in one of the Warre boxes. Each box holds 8 bars, so we are starting out with 2 boxes. More will be added over time – and hopefully filled with honey.