Why I haven’t posted any Perone Hive Updates

My hive died back in December. Homesteading FAIL!

I didn’t post about it right away because I got busy, then I just kept putting it off because I wasn’t excited about being a failed beekeeper. Of course, posting about it or not doesn’t change that facts of what happened – and I started posting about my hive because there just isn’t a lot of information about Perone hives available. I just really wanted it to work – and it didn’t! =( And I didn’t want my hive’s failure to deter other people from using Perone hives. Please understand that I’m no expert, and I’m not trying to be one, but this type of (hands-off) hive really seems to make the most sense compared to the more popular Langstroth-style of hive. I don’t think bees should be messed with and medicated like so many managed hives are. And, we can’t forget that A LOT of managed hives die too. Well, it is what it is. My beekeeping experiment failed. One thing I guess I just glossed over in reading about Perone hives is that Oscar Perone says you should start with a “prime swarm” and not commercial bees. So that’s what we’re trying to do this time around. We are “first on the list” for a swarm from my beekeeping mentor this year and hopefully we’ll be able to start this whole thing again. And, the new batch of bees will have the added advantage of all this comb already built, so they should be able to store a lot more honey than if we just plopped them in an empty hive.

So back to last December . . .

At first, I thought the dead bees on the bottom of the hive was just the hive’s way of cutting down to essential personnel only (fewer mouths to feed) – to get through the winter in the cluster. But, then, when we didn’t see any bees flying on the first warm day after a cold snap, I knew it was a dead-out. So sad. I felt like my pet had died!


P1050141P1050199 P1050202    P1050207

Once we took the bottom board off of the hive, we had an opportunity to photograph the beautiful comb from the bottom. My bees worked so hard to build this stuff! We wrapped the entire hive in plastic – hoping to keep wax moths out until we can put a prime swarm in here – in the Spring. P1050212 P1050213

This will give you an idea of the temperature here. In late December, most of the recently-fallen snow had melted, but this is the remains from a snow-man, so it was still on the chilly side.


7 thoughts on “Why I haven’t posted any Perone Hive Updates

  1. Hi Nicole,

    So sorry to hear about the hive loss! I’m surprised the bees didn’t make it after all that comb-building work. At least it was easier to move your hive to the new house!

    Thanks for letting us know how it went. I am one of the wanna-bee-hive-keepers that has been drawing inspiration from your posts. Good luck finding a swarm and please keep us posted!


  2. Sorry that didn’t work out for you! Any idea what they died of? Having you thought about using that hive as a bait hive?

    I’m making one with a window like yours but it’s 2″ thick for the Vermont cold. I will be transferring a locally purchased NUC in there though on the Keeping with the Bees website they only had a 50% success rate for that. I’ve also built a Warre hive which I hope to bait.

    • RE: using my existing hive as a bait hive, I don’t want to risk wax moths getting into it before the bees do, so I plan to keep it all wrapped up until I have the swarm ready to install. Please let me know how your bees do! =)

  3. Vernon passed your link to me. When I had an extra prime swarm I had no where to put it. My new log hive ( http://solarbeez.com/2013/04/28/meet-bee-atrice-a-female-companion-to-bee-beard/ ) had just been given a cast swarm that I didn’t know what to do with, so my prime swarm had to be given away. I inquired on the South Coast Beekeeper’s Assoc. email and Vernon said he had just built a Perone hive. “That’s fantastic,” I thought. “He isn’t putting ‘my bees’ into a dreaded Langstroth and he has built his own hive.” I didn’t want my bees going into just any hive. I captured the swarm with some effort and this is the story about that…
    Vernon kept that Perone going all winter…I’m happy to say he didn’t medicate, hang mite strips, or feed sugar. But he didn’t get hammered by continual cold bad weather like you did either. Now he has built a second Perone hive, this time with an observation window.
    I’m sorry you lost your hive. I know it’s no consolation, but very few of us can say that we’ve never lost one. I’ve lost three in three years. That is really nice comb your bees have built. It will help out the next set of bees you put in. I know the pain you’re going through with a lost hive. I think the first one is the worst. I’m glad you’re willing to get back on the horse because that’s what it takes…persistence.
    I’m sure you’ve heard this other bit of advice…start with more than one hive. May I suggest another type? I like the Warre a lot. You don’t have to intervene very much. I get my Warre kits from beethinking.com. Matt Reed makes an excellent hive with observation windows. That’s how I look at my bees. It’s so interesting to watch them build their natural comb. It’s a much smaller hive, but it’s built to emulate a tree. When you super, you add a box underneath “nadiring,” so the comb builds downward like in a tree. I don’t medicate or treat in any way. Last winter I did give them a dry sugar mix, but I PROMISE to discontinue that next winter. My other hives don’t get nothin!
    In the post below, if you go to the video, you can see through the observation window. The bees are are building their comb.

  4. Hi looking at the comb that has been build. The left side looks ok but the right side is totally messed up. Plus I dont see any capt comb.

    So it is pretty save to say that they got distracted by something during comb construction. Notice how they didn’t build pass the comb support.

    Also the right side comb is all funky.

    I know I don’t have one of these hive yet, but I do keep bees and I am all over researching to keep naturally.

    Therefore I have the following suggestions, for when you do install a new bees.

    1. Remove all Comb, and remove the remaining wax from the tobars.

    2. Try putting a couple starting stribs along the center bars.

    3. Change the comb support sicks size, to a diameter of 7-9mm.

    This should work.

    Good Luck


  5. Sorry about your hive, very sad. I am by no means an expert but in the pics I don’t see honey stored in the comb? I wonder if they did not get enough for winter. This is why I like the top bar hives. They still allow for a more natural hive with no medication but they can be opened so you can truly see what’s going on inside. I am hoping you have better luck the next time around. Thanks for sharing though very interesting, and beautiful pics of the comb

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