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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Wichita Kansas
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    71

    Default Using a Warre quilt

    I built a Warre hive over the winter and even though I haven't put it in production yet, I really like the idea of the burlap cover and quilt box. I was wondering if anyone has tried a quilt on a Langstroth hive? It sure seems like that would help with heat retention and condensation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,373

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    People have been and are still doing such things on every kind of hive. Langstroths and their predecessors often had such things. Interestingly enough they are used much less now. I find a top entrance is sufficient and easier to make and manage. You could certainly put one on a Langstroth very easily.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Carlsford, Indiana, USA
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    52

    Question Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Nestduftwärmebindung!

    Johann Thür in his book Bienenzucht: Naturgerecht einfach und erfolgsicher (1946), discusses the importance of the retention of nest scent and heat (Nestduftwärmebindung) for bee health and productivity. Thür cautions that the element of life, the retention of nest scent and heat, is fundamentally destroyed by heat dissipating and draughty hives.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Carlsford, Indiana, USA
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    52

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    There are two elements of the original Warré design that are often overlooked by those inclined to focus on the more visible quilt box. Hessian sacking (burlap) is used as a top-bar cover and separates the top of the hive from the quilt box. The quilt box bottom is also made from hessian sacking (burlap). These seemingly simple crude cloths actually perform important hive functions.

    The outer edges of the top-bar cloth are exposed to the exterior of the hive on all four sides. In addition the quilt box bottom hessian sacking (burlap) extends up all four exterior sides of the quilt box where it is tacked in place.

    The combination of their double layer and course weave provides a breathable gap around the complete perimeter of the hive top between the hive box and quilt box. This horizontal venting at the top of the hive is in addition to any vertical air passage that occurs through the quilt box.

    The weft and warp of the hessian sacking (burlap) weave provide a capillary wick from any area of the cloth to each of the hive’s four exterior perimeters.

    Both cloths are exposed to the hive’s exterior but are well sheltered from the weather by the extended telescoping sides of the Warré roof design.

    The subtle yet effective venting of air and moisture can be controlled by the bees thereby allowing them to preserve the all-important “Nestduftwärmebindung”!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Elizabeth, Colorado
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Ueli Hoffman,
    Your explanation is very simply and succinctly stated.
    May I have your permission to post it on my website?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
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    227

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    can never have too many Nestduftwärmebindungs

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,718

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by catbackr View Post
    I was wondering if anyone has tried a quilt on a Langstroth hive? It sure seems like that would help with heat retention and condensation.
    When I started out with bees (using langstroths), Burlap was commonly used as a mat over the hive and under the lid, in a similar way as described (i think) by Ueli.

    The method gradually lost favor and was replaced by hardboard mats with a rim, because the hardboard mats provided a bee space above the top bar, enabling the bees to move from one comb to another. The burlap mat sat directly on the top bar, so the bees would make little holes in the top of the comb to move through, or chew holes in the burlap. Langstroth beekeepers don't want holes in the comb if they can avoid it.

    However in a Warré hive, burlap is probably fine directly on the top bars because the beekeeper is not as concerned about comb structure and design, as the method is more about letting the bees do it more or less as they want.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
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    8

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    I improvised a quilt for my Langstroth to overwinter the hive. I have just one hive, and this was our first winter as beekeepers. So far, I think it worked great, since the bees have been active the last few days gathering pollen. My fingers have been crossed all winter, that they would survive the cold. They went into winter with a varroa situation that I thought might be the end of them. But, (fingers still crossed) I think they are going to make it into the spring flow!

    I used two inner covers. One was placed right above the top bars on the top super, with a 1" top entrance hole facing down. Above that inner cover, I placed a feeder shim (3" high) which had burlap stapled to the bottom. Inside, I placed a burlap bag filled with clean straw - fluffed out and folded over so that the straw bag covered the entire bottom. Above the quilt, I placed another inner cover, with a piece of metal window screen stapled over the cover's hole. Then, the telescoping cover went on top. This worked great. I can really tell the warmth is there - because I place my hand over the top entrance hole and feel the warm air, also the fragrance of the hive.

    Also, I made sure to close the screen bottom board during winter. They definitely need some ventilation in cold weather, but their reduced bottom entrance, with the top entrance, provided enough. With a few exceptions, especially at the beginning of the fall cold weather when the hive population was greater.

    Anyway, that's my story of a last-minute Langstroth quilt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    HI folks, been lurking around here for a few months in learn mode.

    I am seriously considering using a warre type quilt/roof on one of the new langs this spring here in northern Vt.
    some questions:
    1-Are people using the flour paste warre describes for the lower inner cover burlap? If so how are they applying it and why. I know warre references it's use to prevent the bees from working/fraying the cloth. But it would seem to reduce the vapor permeability of the material.

    2- I was thinking about the loss of beespace at the top that oldtimer referenced. seems like it could be overcome with a thin frame with a single stretcher in the middle and the canvas strung and stapled to it. Anybody done this?I have read of folks using #8 mesh in a similar manner, but I think one of the advantages of this system is to keep materials with low thermal conductivity at the top...thus preventing condensation in that region....and metal wire does not qualify.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Carlsford, Indiana, USA
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    52

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    Are people using the flour paste warre describes for the lower inner cover burlap? If so how are they applying it and why. I know warre references it's use to prevent the bees from working/fraying the cloth. But it would seem to reduce the vapor permeability of the material.
    I use the original Warré top-bar cloth preparation method as demonstrated by David Heaf here:

    http://www.dheaf.plus.com/warrebeeke...ng_hessian.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    I was thinking about the loss of beespace at the top that oldtimer referenced.
    Johann Christ (1739 - 1813) was a German pastor, orchard expert and entomologist. In his book Anweisung zur nützlichen and angenehmen Bienenzucht für alle Gegenden, first published in 1779 he describes a hive inspired by the simple straw skeps of his time. Èmile Warré's hive design in 1946 is very similar to that designed by Christ.

    Johann Thür explained the benefits of Johann Christ’s frameless vertical top-bar hive stating, "In the centre are the bees forming a winter cluster richly surrounded, above and at the sides, by their own stores which remain digestible through a gentle inflow of heat from the nest and which form a protective cushion of warmth for the bees; the honeycombs thickly drawn out so as to make the reduced gaps between them easier to keep warm; the combs fixed to the walls at the sides and top, forming cul-de-sacs to keep hold of, to retain the germ-free nest scent and heat that is essential for life."

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    I have read of folks using #8 mesh in a similar manner, but I think one of the advantages of this system is to keep materials with low thermal conductivity at the top...thus preventing condensation in that region....and metal wire does not qualify.
    For comparison I built hybrid design quilt boxes in which I did not use a quilt bottom cloth. These quilt box bottoms were made of thin wood (5 mm) with openings covered with #8 mesh wire screen. No hessian sacking (burlap) was used for a quilt bottom nor a top-bar cloth. A "bee space" of 9 mm was provided between the top-bars and the screened quilt box bottom.

    The quilt boxes of my original Warré design hives and my hybrid design hives were both filled with the same wood shavings. The hives were all located in the same apiary within 10 m of each other. All receive the same amount of sun, shade, rain, snow and wind.

    By mid winter the wood shavings in bottom third of of all of the hybrid hive quilt boxes and the thin wooden bottoms had become damp. I replaced the contents with dry shavings. The wood shavings in my Warré hive quilt boxes with hessian sacking (burlap) quilt bottoms and top-bar cloths remained dry throughout the winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    very interesting comparison Ueli. It does beg the question though is the quilt box above with the warre hives drier because:
    A the wrapped over burlap wicks moisture out to dry better
    B the ventilation over the roof is more effective
    C the screen is allowing more moist air through and into the quilt to begin with on the modified hives
    A seems the best bet, but c is likely as well. Probably some combination.

    What are your winters like: temp and humidity levels?

    I had seen your posting on on the 8 frames with modified quilt...it is very similar to what I had i mind but using deeps.
    I really like the use of burlap...makes sense in avoiding condensation. I have run experiments with a number of cold materials and how prone they are to allowing condensation...which is to say their thermal conductivity. Metal screen is easily the highest, with plywood not far behind. natural wood (white cedar)after that and cloth (burlap and canvas) fairing best of all.

    The advantage I see to your modified cover is how easy it would be to sneak a mason jar feeder into it should one want to. It seems with the full warre quilt/roof you would really need to add a box below for that....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Carlsford, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    What are your winters like: temp and humidity levels?
    Here is the local data for each month from September 2010 to date.

    September 2010

    High Temp: 94.8.0 °F
    Low Temp: 44.7 °F
    Average Temp: 69.0 °F
    High Humidity: 98.0%
    Low Humidity: 25.0%
    Average Humidity: 69.9%
    Precipitation: 0.36in

    October 2010

    High Temp: 88.0 °F
    Low Temp: 31.1 °F
    Average Temp: 58.3 °F
    High Humidity: 97.0%
    Low Humidity: 15.0%
    Average Humidity: 62.9%
    Total Precipitation: 1.62in

    November 2010

    High Temp: 75.9 °F
    Low Temp: 23.5 °F
    Average Temp: 46.1 °F
    High Humidity: 100.0%
    Low Humidity: 21.0%
    Average Humidity: 73.9%
    Total Precipitation: 7.25in no error, actual rainfall!

    December 2010

    High Temp: 55.4 °F
    Low Temp: 2.2 °F
    Average Temp: 24.2 °F
    High Humidity: 100.0%
    Low Humidity: 48.0%
    Average Humidity: 73.3%
    Total Precipitation: 0.80in

    January 2011

    High Temp: 44.0 °F
    Low Temp: 0.3 °F
    Average Temp: 23.2 °F
    High Humidity: 100.0%
    Low Humidity: 49.0%
    Average Humidity: 68.2%
    Total Precipitation: 0.60in

    February 2011 (14 days)

    High Temp: 58.2 °F
    Low Temp: 9.4 °F
    Average Temp: 28.7 °F
    High Humidity: 98.0%
    Low Humidity: 42.0%
    Average Humidity: 80.8%
    Total Precipitation: 0.95in

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    That's great Ueli! Detailed hard data, multiple comparative/parallel hives. That's the kind of careful experimentation that is really useful and informative. Thanks for sharing.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    I have several Warre Hives and Quilts on by TBH. I started using the flour paste treated burlap but now use window screen. The reason for the switch was the bees chewing through the burlap and then into the quilts. I haven't noticed any difference in moisture after switching to the screen but Colorado isn't a very wet climate to begin with.

    I am a big fan of quilts and think that they do add a nice layer of protection to the hive and are very simple to build. I have observed my bees doing better over winter with the quilt and seem to have more honey stores and get started earlier then when I didn't use the quilt.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
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    256

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Trentfysty,
    are you using nylon window screening or aluminim? How much of a problem do you and other folks have with the beees chewing through the burlap? If the flour paste doesn't discourage it what purpose does it serve(the flour paste)?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    Trentfysty,
    are you using nylon window screening or aluminim? How much of a problem do you and other folks have with the beees chewing through the burlap? If the flour paste doesn't discourage it what purpose does it serve(the flour paste)?
    I use aluminum screen. In all of the people I know that have Warre along with my own had problems with the bees chewing through the burlap despite the flour paste. I tried different mixtures and followed the directions in Warre's book as well as other on the net and the bees still chewed the burlap. An alternative would be to use a layer of screen between the bees and burlap and that would stop the chewing but allow the benefits of the burlap. Just for the record the bees will chew fiberglass screen as well.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Essex County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    I am about to set up my first Warre and have some vinyl coated polyester screen that we installed around a dog door in our screen door. Tough stuff. I would guess that a bee would not eat the vinyl. I am not sure this is what I have but here is a link
    http://www.qualitywindowscreen.com/s...66803a809fa790

    Does the type of burlap matter? I have a buddy who sells oysters at his restaurant and thought I might just get an old oyster bag from him

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Quote Originally Posted by WhistleStopHoney View Post
    I am about to set up my first Warre and have some vinyl coated polyester screen that we installed around a dog door in our screen door. Tough stuff. I would guess that a bee would not eat the vinyl. I am not sure this is what I have but here is a link
    http://www.qualitywindowscreen.com/s...66803a809fa790

    Does the type of burlap matter? I have a buddy who sells oysters at his restaurant and thought I might just get an old oyster bag from him

    I don't think the type of burlap matters. I tried potato sacks and then burlap that I bought at the fabric store and they still chewed it. As far as the screen then the burlap, as long as the burlap hasn't been used with something toxic to bees it should be fine.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    I don't think the polyester screen will work. If it gets propolised it may not be strong enough to resist tearing.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Using a Warre quilt

    Hello, I'm building a KTBH and struggling with the ventilation issue in Massachusetts USA, with moderate summers, cold winters. I understand Ueli cuts a 9mm gap between top bars. I'm wondering what others do for moisture flow through the bars. I was thinking of putting a quilt on only in winter, and just perhaps spacing out straight-cut top bars slightly (maybe with cardboard shims, about 1mm) after fall activity has stopped. I'm a novice beekeeper and have no clue if that will disturb them.

    Ueli's result of moist filler with screening and dry filler with coated burlap intrigues me. I'd guess the screening allowed more air flow, and the coated burlap simply restricted air and moisture to where the filler didn't get visibly damp. The first question would be which is the preferred result- lots of moisture removed and wet filler, or less moisture removed and dry filler. The second is whether narrow gaps and screens would be a good, easy compromise.

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