Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver, bc
    Posts
    41

    Default Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Hello All,

    I have a question about Warre Beekeeping: how possible/feasible is it to have a commercial Warre operation? The other day I found the website of a man who has a commercial Warre operation in France, seemed really interesting.

    Most TBH & Warre bee operations seem to be on the hobby-side of things. I know the main drawback for commercial/large-scale is honey harvesting, as you can't put foundationless/top bar frames in an extractor.

    Is there anyone out there on this site currently running Warres commercially, or know of anyone who does, successfully? And by "commercial operation" I mean a 300-400 hive apiary run by one or two people that could bring in a modest living (ie. no other dayjob).

    Thanks for your replies.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    I guess I don't fit your specifications.

    I use Warre style hives in my conservation yard and in my Adopt-A-Hive/hive placement for pollination in peoples gardens and agricultural areas.

    the goal here is to reach 100 placed hives on customer property and re-locate captured swarms and cut out colonies in the "conservation" bee yard. primarily using my version of a Warre hive using frames instead of top bars (which Abbe Warre documents the use of in his book by the way).

    I think it's doable with the right planning and equipment.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver, bc
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Interesting. I've thought of hive-placement for pollinating residential gardens as well. The one thing I got stuck on was having all these individual hives spread out across the countryside... would that not put your overhead through the roof in managing them, harvesting honey, overwintering, etc? I'd be interested in hearing how you run that program efficiently because I think it's a great thing.

    Also, you mentioned you use frames in your Warre hives... do you mean foundationless hives or with foundation? And if foundationless, can these frames withstand centrifugal extraction?

    Curious to hear more...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    I use foundation-less frames, per traditional Warre and "natural" philosophies. I still predominantly use crush and strain extraction method. it keeps old comb in any one hive box to a minimum thus potentially reducing built up chemical residues in the combs.

    Ideally, I have segmented my local county map into sixths. I plan my inspections for a given section so that all the hives placed in that section are done in the same day with the least amount of back and forth travel.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    1,931

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Question: In Canada, are you required to have removable frames for inspection by an apiary Inspector? I can't see our state inspector being too pleased coming into a yard with a hundred warre hives. Wouldn't fly here.

    Wayne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    637

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Scot McPherson is the largest Warre beekeeping operation in the US that I'm aware of. At one point I believe he had somewhere around 500 horizontal top bar hives but has since been converting over to Warres.

    Here are some photos and a link to a thread with a bit more information:

    http://media.adamziegler.net/media.p...0725_McPherson

    http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6712

    The French commercial Warre beekeeper I'm assuming you're referring to is Gilles Denis:

    http://www.ruche-warre.com/

    Cheers,
    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver, bc
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by waynesgarden View Post
    Question: In Canada, are you required to have removable frames for inspection by an apiary Inspector? I can't see our state inspector being too pleased coming into a yard with a hundred warre hives. Wouldn't fly here.

    Wayne
    Wow, good question Wayne. Never even thought of that. Though I was thinking if I got into a Warre operation I would use removable frames.

    Thanks for the info on Scot McPherson, Matt. I'll definitely look into it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    McLean County, Illinois
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Here is a link to the original Warré beekeeping discussion group.

    http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/warrebeekeeping/

    I have used Warré hives for a couple of years. Before you jump into commercial Warré beekeeping I suggest you begin with a few hives for a couple of years and form your own opinion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,838

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    A living could be made from it if you rented them out to enthusiasts, the rent would provide an income more so than the honey.

    A guy ( using Langstroths ), is doing that in my area. He has around 400 hives, and they get rented to people who want bees in the yard. For $500.00 per year, they get two hives which are managed, and are given 30 lb's of honey taken from their own hives. The main clientele are greeny types.

    The guy is actually a crap beekeeper and would not survive if he had to rely on honey production, but the rent gets him through. He has a honey extractor on the back of his truck & extracts honey on the site & gives it to them there and then which people enjoy.

    I'm sure something similar could be done with Warres.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    is making a lot of honey what you makes you a good beekeeper or not?
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,838

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    It's one evidence of a skilled beekeeper, yes.

    But if you want to discuss that further I'd suggest starting another thread it's way off topic for this thread.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    no, I'd suffice it to say that is an idea I completely disagree with and leave it at that..

    enjoy the bees.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,838

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Interesting.

    However the point of my previous post was meant to be an answer to the thread starters question, which was to outline a method by which I believe anyway, a commercial operation could be run using Warre hives, and honey production need not be the main driving factor as rent will give an income.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    said simply like that, I agree. you da man
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver, bc
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    Not to continue getting off topic, but... I'd agree that low honey production (especially from a commercial rather than hobby standpoint) can be evidence of a crap beekeeper. But then again, if someone produces a lot of honey but is rough and forceful with their bees, I'd call that crap beekeeping too.

    If I was a wealthy man, I'd love to just keep a few hives for pleasure. Ah, but such is not the case. Therefore, because I do love beekeeping (my background is that I've worked for a couple commercial operations for several seasons only), I am looking at it as something I could perhaps make a decent living doing. I sometimes find these forums confusing, as most folks seem to be hobbyists or very small-scale, therefore the approaches/details/time management leave me wondering what's possible, if that makes any sense.

    Basically, I'm seriously considering starting an apiary down the road, but am more drawn to Warre/natural beekeeping than the conventional "industrial" style. And want to get more information on what is possible, how much to diversify (ie. pollen, propolis, royal jelly, etc.) and if Warre-style can be run commercially. Thanks for all your replies and hope to hear more ideas/suggestions.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    well, you have to consider, not every beekeeper is actively trying to be a surplus honey producer. If that is not the primary goal for their purpose of beekeeping, then using amount of honey made as a gauge for success or failure is irrelevant. and even then, it only really tells you how well of a honey producing type of beekeeper they might be, still no relevancy to health and other areas.

    things need to be kept in perspective instead of generalized and judgmental.


    enjoy the bees.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,838

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    When I was a young guy I lived for a while in a "hostel" type situation. A lot of the guys where unemployed, drug using lower socio scale type people. Then there were also some up and coming guys with jobs etc.

    We'd sit around chewing the cud and complaining about the world, and the evils of money. Then one day i suddenly realised, the only ones complaining about money, were the ones that didn't have any.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver, bc
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    I tell ya, I'd rather make money from bees than the job I'm doing now!

    Back to the commercial Warre issue...

    It seems the main drawback is honey extraction. Most (?) Warres do crush & strain, right? Is there any way to crush and strain on a large scale? Without it taking until next spring to finish?! Even a carjack press... how much can you do quickly? And don't filters and mesh plug up very fast? What's the way around all this?

    I'm wondering: If the main concerns of foundation are cell size and wax contamination, could you use regular frames with a thin sheet of wood as "foundation"? That way the bees can still draw their own, fresh comb yet you could put them through an extractor, and even scrape off the comb if you want them to build it fresh? Maybe this is already being done... or what are the drawbacks of that idea?

    I saw someone else pose this next idea, but don't remember the thread so I'll pose it again: Could you make a honey press out of steel rollers? Cut the comb off the top bar/frame and run it through two rollers, or a series of rollers, that would squish the honey out which could run into a trough below. First thing I'm thinking is it could be incredibly messy. Second thing, would the rollers just slip- how would you ensure the comb continues moving through the rollers? If it could work, could it work fast? If it could work, I'm wondering if that wouldn't be a way to commercially extract foundationless honey?

    Thanks again for your replies.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Susquehanna county, PA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    I am betting that you could use a grain mill for home brewing (one that was adjustable) to crush the comb's. My homebrew mill uses a drill to drive the rollers.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,572

    Default Re: Commercial Warre Beekeeping?

    ...a couple of thoughts:

    1. Running a business of any kind (including commercial beekeeping) in France is very different from what we do in the U.S. There are incentives to keep one from growing a successful business (in the sense that Americans think of business), and lots of state support that fosters different attitudes than we have here. I would strongly suggest talking in detail to a French commercial warre beekeeper before assuming that any part of their business model can be applied in the U.S.

    2. Since we make our livings selling honey without treatments, I was asked on the Warre forum one time if we buy any honey from tbh or Warre beekeepers....our answer has not changed in the couple of years since....we would be happy to buy honey from tbh or Warre beekeepers that don't use treatments, and who don't feed. We do pay top dollar for honey, and would buy in 5 gallon quantities. ...so far, no one has offered us any for sale....and to be honest, I've never heard of anyone running tbh's or Warre hives that were looking to wholesale any honey.

    deknow

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads