Feeding a Warre hive can be done using a number of methods. The method depends largely on the time of year, whether extra boxes are available, and what you are feeding. If you're getting a package of bees for your Warre hive, there's a good chance you'll need to feed. Packages usually come early in the season when the weather still isn't good for bee foraging. This means they'll starve unless you feed them!
The most common way, and our preferred way to feed, is with a hive top feeder of some sort. Warre talks about a rather complex top feeder that takes the place of other boxes, and goes in place of the quilt. We've used feeders like this and don't prefer them for a number of reasons. 1) It requires that you buy or build an extra box that will ONLY be used during feeding. The rest of the time it needs to be stored away from the hive. 2) They are more likely to mold or leak than some other top feeders.
We use jar or bucket feeders on top of our Warre hives, with an extra box around them. This is a simple, effective method of feeding with little to no chance of leaking. In addition, it requires only jars or a bucket feeder to be stored when not in use. The extra box that sits around the feeder will be used at some point in the future when the colony needs it!
How to use a bucket or jar feeder on a Warre hive:
1) Select a jar or a bucket feeder to use on top of your hive. We use and sell Double Jar Feeders
2) Cut a flap in your canvas or burlap that should already be on your hive, resting under the quilt box. You can pull off the canvas or burlap that is in use in an active hive, or cut a fresh one.
3) Set the canvas on top of the top box full of bees. If you're replacing the old one, gently peel off the old one and replace it with the new one.
4) Fold the flap back and set the feeder on top of your hive. Ensure that no bees can get past the feeder. If they do, they may begin building comb around your feeder!
5) Put an empty box on the hive around the feeder.
6) Put the quilt box on top of the newly-added empty box and then replace the roof.
You're done! Now you can easily monitor the level of feed without taking apart more than the roof and quilt box. This way you don't disturb your bees. Replacing the jars is quick and easy. When you no longer need to feed, simply pull off the extra box and feeder, fold the flap back down, and then put your quilt and roof on like normal.