Times of Plenty

After a slow start this spring, the bees have been getting down to some serious work. They filled the three boxes that were on the hive really quickly, which caused me to nadir a fourth box about 3 weeks ago. I have just been down to check on their progress and they are now already half way down into the fourth box.

This leaves me with a question of what is the best course of action is from here. Do I just let them continue building down into the base box, with all its consequences, or do I add another box (which would be the sixth box on the hive)? How many boxes can you safely add to a Warre?

The fact they are filling a whole box and already starting on a new one in only 3 weeks makes me think they are going to start to run out of room some time over the summer. What then?

Any words of wisdom, support, help would be greatly appreciated.

Graham, Reading Berkshire

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2 Responses to Times of Plenty

  1. johnmkubwa says:

    Graham, sounds like you have a good colony in a benign micro-climate; with good forage and little competition from lots of nearby hives. I think your next nadir will be your fifth box (?). In good years I have regularly had colonies in 5 boxes, but not yet 6. Usually the honey-flow stops, the weather changes or the colony swarms (but not always). Even after swarming I have been given a late summer harvest from colonies on 5 boxes.
    I would nadir the hive to give it space; if you go to six boxes you might need to use some sort of guy rope system to stabilize the hive in a windy site.
    I would also prepare to take and house a swarm. If you do not want to keep it, ensure it goes to a home. If the colony is from the swarm I supplied, it has adapted to varroa and will not need chemical treatment. By the sound of things it will not need supplementary feeding either :o)

    Have fun
    John H, Stockbridge Hants

  2. Hi John
    Thanks for the advice. The hive is well protected from the elements, pretty much on 4 sides. I also think they have found a really good source of forage. At the moment I have 3 boxes full of comb, the bees are now halfway filling a fourth, plus an empty base box. So 5 boxes in all. The next nadir will take it to 6 boxes!!

    I agree. I have no intention of chemically treating or feeding this year. They seem to be doing pretty well on their own.
    Graham, Reading Berkshire

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