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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    I have not done any reseach on these hive types. I have no bees. I have two nucs on order to place into my two langstroth hives that I fabricated and built.

    I plan to keep bees for pollination purposes, hobby value, and general awesomeness. I'm not in it for the money, or even for the honey, for that matter. If I got a gallon of honey in a year, I'd have more than i needed.

    So, with that out there, I plan to try and trap some swarms and was cutting wood last night and got to thinking...why the heck would I make new Lang Deeps and all of the frames to have them sit out in the woods, fields...etc and possibly never be used. Making all of the frame components is labor intensive and not all that fun. So, I decided to do top bar traps. Well, if I'm doing top bar traps, I might just as well have a top bar hive or two.

    So, now I have to consider the Warre or the Kenyan tob bar hive. I'm not concerned about the difference in costs, or the difference in appearance, or honey production. I"m most concerned about which will be the easiest to overwinter in a Michigan climate. Without knowing anything, it seems like teh Warre might be the better option.

    I'll be researching this for a few days before building, but I figured I'd toss it out there for input from you folks. I welcome all input you might have, but I don't want to stir the pot and start a big debate about this hive or that hive. I will likely end up with langstroth, warre, and KTBH. after a couple of eyars, i can decide which I prefer.

    Thanks,

    Kris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    Here is my two cents after keeping all three for two years.

    Tbh-I truly had nothing but troubles with this hive. Weak compared to my other hives. They never filled up more than half of the hive. They swarmed every year no matter what I did. Feeding was a pain in the but. However they are by far the most pleasant to inspect, but a pain to close. They don't winter well and are difficult to treat with any kind of strips (for varroa). It may sound kind of harsh but these are simply my observations. This spring I am cutting out most comb and placing them in Lang frames. I will likely keep the hive there just in case a swarm wants to move in.

    Warre- it's an interesting hive. Thus far I have had mixed results. You have to micromanage a bit, but I have learned from my mistakes enough to make it work. In my humble opinion you will need to put a piece of comb if you ever plan to super or nadir a box. There are good odds that if you super without a comb or two they will make a huge mess. There is also a good chance that if you nadir without adding a comb they will ignore the box and swarm. Unfortunately had happened to me more than once. However when supering or nadiring with a comb, my hives have take to the new box very nicely. I believe that the small box size does have some benefits when it comes to wintering. I used 2x lumber. The box also has the inner dimension of the average winter cluster. I have also done away with the quilt in favor of a permanent top feeder with an upper entrance. In my neck of the woods, you need an upper entrance. I like the idea of natural comb, but on the other hand you could always just run 8 frame equipment and come close.

    Lang-my first year hives gave me a surplus when my overwintered warre and tbh did not. They also built up bigger and stronger. Frames make many manipulations easier, but you could make warre half frames and keep things inspectable. It's also a huge plus that you can purchase Lang equipment very readily. Again you can easily run foundationless 8 frame equipment and run your hives like a warre.

    In the end if I could go back in time and talk to myself and change things, I would start with Lang equipment, have a warre or two and completely skip tbh altogether.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    I will be starting Warre this year. Langstroth I've had for 12 years, TBH for 3. Unless you have several of each, I don't know that you can compare too much. My TBH are the best this year, and much better survival than my others, but I didn't pull any honey off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    You are also in a climate that differs from mine. Maybe there's something to the TBHs don't work as well in cold climates. I had just assumed that it was a horizontal thing. All of the old timers in my area told me it was a horizontal issue and that bees will only move so far before they just flat out swarm.

    Who knows...maybe my entrances are in the wrong place. They are on the end. Maybe they need to be in the middle.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    I moved to MI from the TC area of MN. The MI winters are much more mild. We're only at 2 days that dropped below 0...so much more mild that the MN winters. Wintering seems like it would be more difficult in a KTBH. It seems like it would be much easier for a colony to survive in something that was more three dimensional with less of a horizontal cross-section. Part of me wants to try them all and see, but i don;t want to lose bees just for the sake of testing something. At times I have to remind myself that otehrs have had these thoughts and I'm not likely to revolutionize anything.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    Here is what I would do if I were in your situation. I would start with foundationless 8 frame equipment. You can run deeps or mediums. Doesn't really matter. You can even run foundation if you want, but if you want to get close to the warre ideal go foundationless. When things get stable tinker with a warre via a package. I was in the same position as you a couple of years ago. I wanted to try everything to get a feel of what worked and how it worked. As a result I am starting my third year and should finally be getting to where I want to be. Again you can to whatever you want. Your life your choice. It is just nice starting with something proven and then tinker with the other things.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    Anyone who keeps ktbh have an upper vent to let out humidity? I have built 2 for some bees I have ordered this year and have only had langs before (years ago).
    I live in Zone 3-4 and it can be windy as hell.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    >Anyone who keeps ktbh have an upper vent to let out humidity?

    That is my only entrance...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    Drew. Why seal it off with plastic?

    Both my tbh died. One starved. Only eating the upper 2 or so inches till it hit the other end. The 2nd never moved.

    I built two boxes last night for a warre.

    I am in climate zone cold as heck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    meredith, nh, usa
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Warre VS KTBH for overwintering

    Right now I have one horizontal TBH, two Warres and four eight-frame medium Langstroths and one ten-frame double-deep Langstroth.

    The TBH has a window, and I love looking at it and working it. But it has never overwintered successfully. Maybe this will be the year.

    The Warres don't produce a great deal of honey, but they are very low-maintenance. I split them a couple weeks before the main flow starts, add a couple boxes once they get going again, and harvest in the late summer. That's about it. If you have a remote bee yard or don't want to spend a lot of time on your bees, I think they're a great choice.

    Lanstroths are nice because you can buy hive components for less than you could make them yourself, and the removable frames give you versatility. You can manipulate hives by the box as you would a Warre if you like. You can also harvest frames one at a time when your wife says you're out of honey, or open brood nests and checkerboard to discourage swarming. You can mine frames for nucs.

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