Warre Hive Problem

Hi

With all the wet weather, one of my hive boxes seems to be warping a bit. It just so happens it is the top one containing the colony! As a result, there are now gaps above and below the observation window where bees are now coming out to explore the space between the window and its wooden cover.  This essentially renders this window inoperative.

Any thoughts on ways in which I can remedy the situation, other than hope it goes back ot normal when things start drying up?

Graham

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This entry was posted in Natural Beekeeping, Observation windows, Warre Hives. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Warre Hive Problem

  1. simplebees says:

    Have you contacted the supplier to see if this is a design fault? I take it that the hive is new?
    It is quite tricky getting the window right. They would probably appreciate the feedback.

    Gareth

  2. FollowMeChaps says:

    Graham – Is there any chance of posting a photo? Much easier to advise if we can see what the problem is.

    Stuffing grass, or better still straw, is always an option – skeps are great for bees. The bees will propilise the inside to solidify and waterproof it..

    Robin

  3. Hi
    Just did this video. Hope you can see the issue from it. http://youtu.be/Nfxvfn5IlmI

    Graham

  4. hazelmb says:

    I’ve used draught excluder – a latex strip which is sticky on one side – to good effect when I haven’t been able to close up top bars sufficiently in a TBH (this was before I learnt about Gareth’s shims), and also to fill up gaps next to my poorly cut follower boards. You might find this a useful interim measure with a warre too?
    best of luck, Hazel

  5. FollowMeChaps says:

    Graham – Thanks, the video proved very useful – we can actually see the problem. I presume that the wood has shrunk and the perspex has consequently bowed.
    To be honest I’m not sure what you can do to rectify it, but is it really a problem? If you just get the odd bee come out when you are looking in the windows but none when it’s closed then I would have thought that you could live with that – you should only be taking the occasional peep anyway. The glass won’t fall out as their comb will hold it in place. I have have had bees ‘leaking’ from an ill fitting sump box door on one of mine for the past 3 years but they don’t seem to mind so it’s no problem.
    It might be worth checking the boxes below without bees to ensure that it won’t happen to them when they become full. You’ll need spare boxes to substitute whilst you check but so long as you don’t ‘open’ the hive (ie from above) then you shouldn’t compromise their heat/atmosphere.
    I hope this helps.
    Robin

    • enhancingthefuture says:

      Robin – thanks for your comments. That was really helpful. I have been considering this over the weekend and think I could certainly live with it. The point about the lower boxes is valid. I will need to get some extras and maybe substitute them. Many thanks.
      Graham

  6. FollowMeChaps says:

    Graham – I’m getting a little confused as I seem to be getting emails on this as well as posts on this site. If, as I now understand, you bought your hive from a supplier I know, then I’m sure that he would replace it without a second’s thought. I suggest that you ring and explain- I will do likewise this evening as he needs to know as I’m sure it is not his intention to release faulty equipment. It’s all a bit embarrassing as both Gareth & I have advised him.
    Robin

    • enhancingthefuture says:

      Hi Robin, sorry about the confusion. I have spoken to the supplier and seem to have sorted it. When I bought the hive, I spoke to him to get some clear instructions re. assembly, as none came with all the bits. What he didn’t tell me, and what I didn’t even consider at the time is that the perspex needed gluing and pinning, probably to prevent such an event as this from happening. So I think two lessons from this – supplier needs to provide assembly instructions, because even if it seems obvious, if you don’t know what to do you don’t know. Also, I need to take some responsibility as well.
      Graham

      • simplebees says:

        The suppliers were at a local BKA meeting that I attended last night and I chatted about your issue, Graham. I understand that they are looking at better ways of the fixing the window for the future. They also mentioned that they are increasing the thickness of the wood from which the hive is constructed to make it more robust and a better insulator.

        They were grateful for your feedback.

        Gareth

  7. enhancingthefuture says:

    I have just received two modified boxes from the suppliers with a larger piece of perspex screwed into place. I have replaced the bottom (empty) box on the hive with one of these. What I have noticed however, is that in the top two boxes the bees that can get into the space between the perspex and the wooden cover are now propolising the covers into place. This is going to render the observation windows pretty useless unless I just keep removing the propolis.
    Any thoughts on this?
    Graham

  8. FollowMeChaps says:

    My guess would be that your bees were attempting to block off the air gaps that existed when the covers were in place.
    Can you fill the gap they are getting through with something? I presume that it is between the perspex & the wooden side – a photo would be useful.
    Depending on the size of the gap you can fill it with tape, wooden slithers or grass. Provided the bees can’t pass through they should propolise the gaps themselves. Once they do this they should stop prop’ing your window.
    Robin

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