Why do you sell 3-box Hives when the other guys are selling 2-box hives?
It has been our experience with Warre Hives that 2 boxes are simply not enough. After installing either a package or a swarm the bees will fill the top box in a few short weeks. Once they turn the corner and start into the bottom box you will need to start considering a third box if you want to avoid "throwing a swarm" in these early stages of colony development. In our first couple years we experienced swarming on almost every 2-box hive structure we had. When we started using & recommending a 3-box construct we drastically reduced the frequency of swarming. In a 3-box hive you simply give your girls a fighting chance to build their numbers and achieve a strong, well-populated, productive hive.
How thick are your Hive boxes?
All our hive boxes, and our bottom boards are made from 2.5cm ( 1") lumber. The roof component is made from 7/8" Lumber. While we're on the topic of construction its probably a good spot to mention that our joints are screwed & glued. We use Titebond III Glue and Stainless Steel Screws for maximum strength and longevity. Also, this would probably be a good place to mention that our hives are made with the highest grade Red Cedar. You will be hard pressed to find any significant knots in our products.
What do I need to start bee keeping and how much will it cost?
Well, first you'll need a hive and some bees. Your essential personal equipment should be (at a minimum): A Bee Jacket with hood, A pair of Bee Gloves, A Hive tool, A bee brush and a smoker. Your total investment to get involved will probably be around $600. Remember, there's a lot of money in bee keeping... and its all yours.
What is the in-flight velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European? (Confused? Click Here for Answer)
What do I do with the queen ring once the queen is out?
Our original thoughts on the Queen Ring was to develop a temporary piece that would be removed as soon as the queen was released. We ended up making it into a solid piece that we have simply left in place - queen cage and all. The net effect of leaving the queen ring in place is that it increases the internal volume of the top box, and we recover the queen cage when we harvest. Now we provide a plug for the queen ring that allows you to utilize the queen ring as an alternate entrance.
What if my queen cage won't fit into the queen ring opening?
It's a possibility. There seems to be one very popular queen cage design (called a Benton Box) that is used by the vast majority of apiaries. We cut our opening to accommodate this particular cage size. In the event the queen cage you receive does not fit you will have to place the queen cage in the top box and remove it after she is released. Be sure to place the cage in a spot that allows you to watch it through the window. Afterwards, the queen ring can then be used as an alternate top entrance, or just a little extra space for comb building.
What do I put in the Quilt box?
Most people use sawdust - Good News! we supply that as part of our standard hive package
How do you harvest honey from a Warre Hive?
The simplest, easiest and honestly the most fun way is the "crush & strain" technique. After harvesting the comb from the top box you will have 8 sheets of honey-filled comb. Simply mash them all together in a large bucket until you have a slurry that looks sorta like oatmeal. once you're certain that all the comb has been crushed, pour this slurry through a large metal colander (making sure you have a large enough container underneath to hold all the honey!) . Let this sit and drain for a day. The next, and final step, is to take the honey and pour it through a wire mesh strainer to take out the smaller solids that passed through the colander. It's now ready to bottle, but leave room for expansion as raw honey likes to crystallize! PLEASE NOTE - the solids left in the colander (and anything else with residual honey on it like spoons, bowls, etc) should be spread out on a cookie sheet or two and placed near the hive. Let the bees clean this pile to a molecular level, taking back into their hive what didn't end up in your bottles.
How much honey will I get from my Warre Hive?
A full Warre box will weigh anywhere from 35-40 pounds. That should amount to over 2 gallons of honey.
I have an extra $2 Million dollars, can I give it to Sweet Valley Hives?
Ok, no one has yet asked that question, but in the event such a question is bouncing around in your noggin let me answer, unequivocally, YES!
How do you feed bees in a Warre?
We have experimented with a number of feeding scenarios. When we initially install a standard 3# package we usually start by placing a 1 gallon Ziploc bag containing sugar water on the floor of the bottom board. We make a series of razor cuts in the bag, then we go ahead and stack our boxes with the queen ring and install our bees. . This quantity of sugar water has proven sufficient to get the girls up and running until they can amass their own supply of food. During the season, or near fall if we want to feed again we will use fondant and place it as high up into the hive as possible. We've also used a second propolis screen and lightly pressed a fondant "pancake" into the screen, then set it on top of the hive - this makes a great hive top feeder. Speaking of second propolis screens....
Why do you provide 2 Propoplis screens?
Well, we had so many extras we thought we'd just throw in an extra one. Seriously... We really liked having a propolis screen on all our hives. The bees pack it chock full of propolis in no time at all - this has some great health benefits for the colony, but what if we want to harvest some propolis for ourselves? You'll need a replacement screen in place while you harvest from the filled screen. Even if you don't wish to harvest propolis you will still want a clean screen to administer hive treatments such as a powdered sugar dusting or even a Thyme oil treatment. I guess we could separate it out and charge extra for a second screen but that's a bit too mercenary for our tastes. We're hoping to provide our customers with everything (except the bees) they'll need for successful Bee Keeping.
Is a 3 pound package of bees sufficient to populate a Warre Hive?
The short answer is Yes. It's all we've ever used.
Do you sell plans for building your hives?
Truthfully, we'd love to, we just can't. It's not as if we are guarding some Masonic-level secret or anything. We have looked at it and realized it would not be possible. The problem is that many of the parts we make are made on jigs & cutting templates developed over the last 3 years. We would need to dedicate much of our efforts towards the creation of these jigs. As an example, one of our cutting templates is made from a piece of stamped steel. Now I realize that many of your are very handy in a wood shop, but I can't expect folks to run to their local metal fabricator and pay for a 1-time stamping so they can build a Sweet Valley Warre Hive. My other concern, seriously, is someone injuring themselves trying to replicate our designs. We cut some things mighty close - probably closer than we should - but we are acutely aware of the risks. How could I ever sleep at night if someone hurt themselves doing something I directed them to do?
If I buy more than one Hive can I get a discount?
Sorry, no-can-do. I realize that our asking price is not mere pocket change (for the majority of people). Nevertheless our costs remain constant no matter how many hives we build, and our margins are slightly more than enough to allow us to resupply our materials and ..ug.. pay our taxes. Of course if you want to order 100 hives at once, we can talk.
Do I leave all 3 boxes in place for winter?
Yes. There is a notion that we need to reduce the size of the hive to the smallest number of components for winter. The exact opposite is true. In a Warre Hive you should leave as many boxes in place as you can. See our Education Tab.