David Heaf's Warré hive experiment
10 out of the 12 Warrés overwintered successfully.
W4 (apiary T) failed in March and although it had a queen, she was not laying and the bee population had dwindled to a very few. The top box weighed 12.2 kg and was estimated to contain 7 kg honey. A failed queen rather than starvation was the problem.
W9 (apiary T) failed under similar circumstances. The queen was still present by 16 May but there was no brood and only about 1000 bees. This colony was united with a swarm after removing the old queen.
A new apiary was added, failed stocks replaced and the total number of stocks increased to 15 by late summer.
October 2010 -- Summary of Warré hive records
The following table summarises the status of the project. No Varroa treatment has been applied at any time since the project started.
|Date populated||How populated/
bees weight kg
|1||PG||2 June 2010||Swarm||0||1½||0||1½||-||3||-||Low bee population.|
|2||TyN||5 May 2007||Artificial swarm||3||2½||0||2||-||9.5||-||Survived four seasons without Varroa treatment. A vigorous forager this season. Small swarm united with it on 8 June 2008|
|3||C||25 May 2009||Swarm 2.3||1||2||0||-||-||-||-||30 August 2010 failed and being robbed; lots of hatched queen cells|
|4||D||17 May 2010||Swarm||0||2||0||2||-||3.7||-||Very few bees; colony failing?|
|5||TyN||21 May 2009||Swarm 2.15||1||2||0||2||-||7||1||Did not take rest of feed|
|6||T||11 July 2007||Swarm||3||2 2/3||0||2 2/3||-||14.5||-||Survived four seasons without Varroa treatment. A vigorous forager this season.|
|7||C||25 May 2009||Swarm 1.5||1||2¼||1||-||13.8||-||-||25.9.10 Being robbed; queen present but not laying. United few remaining bees with W8|
|8||C||4 June 2009||Cast + swarm||1||1¼||0||2||-||light||1||Gave it B2 of W7 which had some stores. Did not take much feed.|
|9||T||16 May 2010||Swarm||0||4||1||3||15.8||9.5||-||May swarm was united with previous W9 colony with 2 fully drawn boxes.|
|10||D||22 June 2009||Swarm 2.2||1||2½||1||1½||18.6||6.6||-||Pollen coming in but not very populous|
|11||TyN||8 June 2008||Swarm||2||2||0||2||-||9||-||Bottom combs very well covered with bees.|
|12||D||30 June 2009||Swarm 2.4||1||3||1||-||11.7||-||-||Being robbed by wasps and bees and 1 hornet; failed queen|
|13||PG||13 July 2009||Swarm 1.8||1||1¾||0||1¾||-||8||-||Drawn only ¾ box of comb this season|
|14||YG||7 June 2010||Swarms||0||1¼||0||1¼||-||3||2.7||Relatively late start in a season with a poor summer for forage. 4 kg feed given but only 2.7 kg taken down in 5 days.|
|15||YG||17 June 2010||Swarms||0||1½||0||1½||-||4.5||3||Relatively late start in a season with a poor summer for forage. All feed taken down rapidly.|
Apiary PG is at 183 m (600 ft).
Of the 15 colonies in Warrés in the summer, only 12 are going into winter -- the same as last year -- and some of those are already looking as though they will not make it through winter.
Four hives were harvested, the first autumn harvest in this project. Only one of the boxes, that off W10, was almost full. The yield was 63 pounds of honey.
Much time was spent this year writing my book 'The Bee-friendly beekeeper -- A Sustainable Approach' and co-operating with Northern Bee Books in its publication. The Warré e-Group has grown to over 600 members.
To David Heaf's Warré hive experiment index page
To David Heaf's general Warré beekeeping pages