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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,141

    Default Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    First of all I'm not saying that it doesn't - I'm seriously asking.

    I've looked a good bit on the Internet and I see lots of shiny new hives, and lots of first year attempts, and a few reporting heavy losses. But I have yet to see proof of concept for the system - a Warre yard managed in the Warre way that has continued to be sustainable for at least 3 years.

    I'd really like to see and hear about it, because I think the concept is intriguing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    6,076

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    I think part of the problem is the Warré purists believe you can tell everything you need to know by looking at the bees from outside the hive.

    For example I've seen it stated on this forum by a Warré "expert" that you can tell if there is a brood in the hive, because if the bees are bringing in pollen on their legs, there must be brood. This is false, broodless hives will still collect pollen, but this type of simplistic thinking leads to hive die outs due to untreated ailments/problems of various types.

    I don't think this bothers some of the Warré keepers too much though, they just re-stock the hive with a new swarm or package.

    Not to say exactly the same thing doesn't happen with Langstroths though! It depends on the beekeeper.

    I don't think the leave it alone approach is so viable now a days, now that there are so many pests and diseases the bees have to contend with that the keeper should be monitoring and dealing with.

    Oh, and please nobody say that the cause of all the diseases we now have is the design of the Langstroth hive!

    Also a disclaimer, I'm not saying Warré keepers are all leave it alone people, I have a friend who is a very skilled beekeeper who has a Warré. However i think he may "manage" it a little more than Ēmile would have recommended.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 12-23-2010 at 03:13 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    A few die outs wouldn't really be all that bad if the yard had enough healthy hives issuing swarms to make up for it. That would still be sustainable. I'd like to hear about it - and see pictures if possible - if anyone is doing it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    Wouldn't a yard full of Warré hives either need to be flying off the radar as far as state bee inspectors go or else use removable frames, which makes the hive a sort of hybrid?

    If one uses removable frames, is one getting away from the Warré concepts?

    Just wondering. The concept looks interesting to me also, though I'm not sure how very practical it is.

    Wayne

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    Maybe, but I was recently in touch with our state apiarist about this exact thing - are top bar hives legal in TN? He says that the intent of the law is that all hives must be able to be inspected, so yes top bar hives are legal - in TN.

    However, in pictures I've seen of the innards of Warre hives the combs usually do not run straight enough to be removed for inspection. Usually those pictures are from the bottom of a super that has been removed and they look very organic and free form. Pretty, but not inspectable. So, to be legal there would probably need to be enough intervention to get straight comb built at least.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 12-23-2010 at 11:06 AM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    643

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    I run around 12 Warre hives and have been doing so for a couple years now and I've had good success. I populated them all with either Minnesota Hygienics or Buckfasts and so far I believe I've lost 4-5 colonies. 1 absconded and the others I lost over the winters with all signs pointing to Varroa. I've done zero treatments, and use standard Warre hives (no frames, no screened bottom, etc.).

    Also, using a "Bill Wood" hive tool (http://warre.biobees.com/cutter.htm) it's not terribly difficult to remove a Warre comb for inspection. I do from time to time if I notice issues and need to inspect further.

    Having read his book numerous times, I think the conception that Warre never opened his hives other than to add boxes/remove boxes is unfounded.

    I'll let you know how things go over this winter. So far all hives seem to be alive.

    Best,
    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,084

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    A few die outs wouldn't really be all that bad if the yard had enough healthy hives issuing swarms to make up for it. That would still be sustainable. I'd like to hear about it - and see pictures if possible - if anyone is doing it.
    What? Let them die because others will swarm? Are you assuming that the swarms would reoccupy the deadouts? Or that the beekeeper would notice and collect all swarms? What if there aren't deadouts to house swarms in?

    And how would "let them die/repopulate w/ swarms" be sustainable? Especially if one doesn't look at the combs in the deadout to see if the colony died from AFB.

    What do you, or Warre beekeepers, do w/ a deadout? Do Warre beekeepers leave it alone and let wax moth eat the comb?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    In my view not inspecting a deadout would be silly. You must know what the cause of death was. I would imagine that it wouldn't be all that hard to inspect a deadout, especially if time was dedicated to comb guides.

    I would reuse the comb if the deadout was found to be disease free. You could then repopulate with a swarm, package, or split. There's no need to count on swarms to repopulate your losses. I plan on hopefully purchasing my final bees this year and keeping a steady state with splits.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    Warre has some sustainable points.
    Reduced entrance size,,,,works for me,,,,landing board,,,,,works for me,,, a quilt top that allows ventilation,,,works for me, although I modified it to suit my needs. I still use 10 frame deep langs . Mostly rite cell but moving towards foundation less in the brood chamber cause I don't care about honey anymore Just what is working for me and my goals.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    I repopulate with swarms. I'm in the right location with the right sort of job so that I'm around to catch them which isn't the situation for most folks, but the "let them die/repopulate w/ swarms" approach works for me. I even go to the next level of "let them do without treatment or sugar water/die/repopulate w/swarms" and I'm running out of room for the hives and foisting them off on friends. (though I think being in the city has more to do with their success than any purity of philosophy or great wisdom on my part) The traditional skep bee keepers killed 2/3 of all their hives every fall, so the "kill them/repopulate w/swarm" approach must have worked for hundreds of years.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,995

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    In my opinion the type of box bees are in has little to do with their sustainability. I have kept bees for 42 years and the hive killer that has killed my hives the last five years is an equal opportunity killer. If it kills bees in Langstroths, tree cavities and topbars, it will kill bees in a Warre.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    I have a Warre hive and this is the second winter for them.I made my own frames so they could be removed and inspected.If i don't move frames up they end up like this!
    http://i1092.photobucket.com/albums/...s/DSC01840.jpg

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    Those bees ... they a mean sense of humor. I have fixed bars and my bees built this.

    Warre Hive (1).jpgWarre Hive (2).jpg

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Does Warre Culture ever actually work?

    FYI I have a Warre that is surviving its first year. To me I think people aren't open to other ideas/strategies. I like the thought of being open to all philosophies and picking and choosing the ones I believe to be right. For example, there are people in the Warre world that super a box during the main flow. I intend on trying that this summer.

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