Re: Warre hive comb collapse
Well, Isle of Wight disease (tracheal mites) was first discovered in 1904, at least 50 years after the introduction and subsequent widespread use of framed hives, so I am not sure what your point is there. But I am sure Warre did not mean to be taken so literally as to imply bees had never gotten sick before, simply that they were alot better off.
Originally Posted by Countryboy
Your second point is valid....though, it was not the destruction of colonies that resulted in better bee health, but rather the regular destruction of brood comb, something that almost completely ceased with the advent of framed hives. It is only during the last several years that (some) beekeepers have taken up the practice of culling out old brood combs every couple of years to help keep the bees healthier (a practice that, by the way, will likely lead to higher varroa populations in hives if beekeepers continue to use 5.4 mm foundation in the brood chamber).
By managing hives as Warre did (nadiring) the brood is raised in the same combs for only a few cycles (at most) and all wax is regularly replaced by the bees as the brood nest moves downward and the honey and wax are harvested from the top. Thus, perpetually clean wax with no need to destroy colonies.
I should add that if you go back and read the excerpt that I posted again, you will find that it is not the framed hive that is looked down upon by Warre so much as are the "modern methods" of beekeeping that are associated with it. He is simply saying that fixed comb hives mostly prevent the application of these, what he sees as harmful, intensive methods.
Warre believed in hive manipulation alot more than most people think. His bees produced sectioned honey in supers, he performed splits and artificial swarms regularly, caged queens during the nectar flow, etc. Many people who "know" about Warre's methods have never read the literature that he produced (at least they haven't read past page 40 of BFA). The thing that he absolutely found destructive is the idea that our hives (mainly the brood chambers) need to opened, disassembled, scraped and inspected every couple of weeks. For what? It is the theory of "if it isn't broke, fix it anyway" that is harmful. Then if, after relentless manipulation by the beekeeper the bees do become sick, the beekeeper thinks "Gee, it's a good thing that I was inspecting regularly and found this problem".
Bees are far more resistant to disease than are humans. Do you go to your doctor for a physical exam every couple of weeks?
Chris Harvey--Teakwood Organics
Last edited by beez2010; 07-15-2010 at 10:32 AM.
Reason: added thoughts