Here is the entrance of a Warré hive.
Notice anything strange?
The identical hive 2 feet away does not have this feature.
That’s right – the bees have built a curtain of propolis-reinforced wax reducing the entrance. Here’s a picture through the window of this section, showing the view from inside.
What’s interesting is that at the time, there was no obvious robbing or raiding going on (though now, a week later, there are wasps in the area). There are no guards to speak of on this entrance, either. It may be something to do with ventilation. These bees – or, I should say, this superorganism – is different to its neighbour.
They’re going to be quite irritated when I reposition the box they’ve hung this curtain from (when I “nadir the hive”). I should probably explain that comment for those readers unfamiliar with Warré hives. As the colony expands in a Warré, which is a series of boxes stacked vertically, it builds from the top down. To give them more room for new comb, you add a new box at the bottom (and take the top box, which contains harvestable honeycomb like a Super). So the edge they have hung this entrance curtain on, will no longer be above this entrance slit built into the base section – it will be moved up and squashed right up against the new box below it.