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  1. #1
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    May 2013
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    Lake County, Illinois
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    Default Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    I'm a big Warre fan but I wonder if Warre would disagree with his own ideas if he were alive today? Warner's principles were based on making the most cost effective, suitable environment for bees he acquired for free in a simpler time.

    If the new paradigm is $200 bees and hives are quite expensive, would warre say if money were no object and bees are precious and hard to acquire, what would he do differently?

    It is not unheard of to have $800+ into a modified warre, stand, fence, pad to place it on, feeder, frames, foundation, etc. seeing how far that is to the economy people's hive, I wonder if there is a better version of a Warre to be made at that price point?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2013
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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    10

    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    Well seems to me this 800$ number is a bit ridiculous... This year I bought a warre hive kit for $200, my bees were 100$. The kit was for my ease. I put it together did a tiny bit if painting on the roof and then picked up a stand (old file cabinet) from Restore in our area and painted it. I know people have made hives out of recycled wood and so the cost would be tools and time (1 toddler and a newborn only allowed for assembly and painting). Keeping bees certainly seems to be gaining prominence but I can't say that the cache is bad given the state of the bee situation now. Certainly I would hope to be able to split or find a swarm next year but I still need to get another hive in order (and that assumes that my current colony Manages to overwinter). But if my neighbors decided to take up beekeeping I would certainly help them out. So I think the more people who get into it the more ways people will find to make money for sure but if you love the benefits if bees then its not exorbitant.

    People always seem to find ways to spend more money on stuff...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    >I'm a big Warre fan but I wonder if Warre would disagree with his own ideas if he were alive today?

    Well, he certainly was not envisioning having the equivalent of $800 tied up in a hive. He was trying to design one anyone could make very cheaply...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Anchorage, AK, USA
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    18

    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookhawk View Post
    It is not unheard of to have $800+ into a modified warre, stand, fence, pad to place it on, feeder, frames, foundation, etc. seeing how far that is to the economy people's hive, I wonder if there is a better version of a Warre to be made at that price point?
    I not sure I understand your thread. I have read his book a few times and I do not remember him discussing foundation in his hive design. The idea behind his hive was a design that a non carpenter (master wood craftsman ) could build and maintain. If you needed to run a modified Warre because of State Regulation I could see purchasing the frames from a store but building the hive bodies, roof, and stand yourself. I think that you are missing the simplicity and economic theory behind this style of hive. I don't mean to sound negative towards this thread, I think that after reading his book I come away with a different concept. He constantly mentions excess / cost and tries to empower with knowledge so more people can have bees and provide for themselves without a massive investment.
    I believe Warre' may make some small adjustments to his hive if he were alive today. I do not think he would change his concept on trying to design a hive that most people can create and maintain themselves. I have picked a few quotes from his book that represent this concept.

    Quote
    "We show you a simple method that is at the same time economical."
    " Hive manufacturers, on the other hand, will be motivated to recommend the hive that they mass produce. It gives them more profits. It is not always the best. It is thus better not to listen to anyone. It is just as well that there is an infallible means of recognizing the best hive. "
    " Moreover, it is not necessary to make a comparative study of modern hives to account for their lack of value. It would be costly, as we have said. It is sufficient to calculate what it costs to install them, what time is required in their management in order to be able to conclude, without even being a beekeeper, that their product necessarily costs too much. The cost of framed hives and their accessories can be found in the catalogues of the manufacturers. "
    " But many beekeepers are obsessed with invention. They have to change something on the hives that they own. Even the People's Hive [Warré Hive, Tr.] has already been a victim of the inventors. They say they are improving it. But the improvements I have heard of are useless, some are harmful, and a few absurd. "
    " Economical in design, economical in method, the People's Hive is a really logical hive. "
    " The People's Hive does not turn stones into honey; it will not give you honey without some work. No. But the People's Hive saves you a lot of expense, a lot of time and several kilograms of honey each winter. In a word, the People's Hive is a practical and logical hive. It will bring happiness to you and your bees. "

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Lake County, Illinois
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    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    Here is my point, since people seem to be defensive.

    There are two reasons to warre generally speaking. One is economics, you can theoretically do warre using scraps for a modest sum. Two is that many things about the warre principles make for happier, healthier bees.

    For many, the economics are not a driver any longer. A hand made, framed, western cedar hive with stand is much more than a Lang kit. If you're buying bees, things really get more expensive than Abbe Warre could have ever foreseen in 1900.

    So what we have is a group of people that may like warre principles but clearly are dumping a heck of a lot more into a hive than he dreamed in his era.

    So lets through economics out the window and ask, Warre, what would you do now that the average beekeeper has about 20-50x the financial means than the average reader did during your era? What improvements can be made that were once financially unrealistic?

    I myself built a red cedar warre hive out of 85% clearance lumber from Home Depot. After all glue, cloth, fasteners, screen, mesh and other items were added in, I still spent $200.... Plus lots off time. A $400 observation window warre seems like a pretty good deal for my pocket book, for example.

    So there it is, would warre have updated his suggestions for the times now that budgets have changed?

  6. #6
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    Feb 2013
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    Casper, Wyoming
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    154

    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    I will poke the bears.

    I think he would have top bar hives today. Cheap and simple to build and easy to manage. I don't know the history of horizontal management that well, but I think it has come about since his time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Seattle, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    The world has indeed moved on since Abbé Warré passed on 60+ years ago, but the core of his philosophy I think remains pretty solid and workable.

    Things Warré probably could not have anticipated: varroa and SHB, on top of the foulbrood he attributed to framed hives and intensive management; horrific systemic pesticides and toxic transgenic Frankencrops; the mass destruction of wild habitat; narrowing of honey bee genetic diversity through selective and artificial breeding.

    Also the flooding of world markets with ultra-cheap artificial sweeteners e.g. HFCS, synergized with the Chinese manufacture and illicit trade in and transshipping of cr@p faux-honey, driving honey prices downward even as the cost of other food rises—these have so undermined the economics of culturing bees solely for honey production that it's almost not worth doing do, except for ultrapremium, restricted-market boutique honeys such as Tupelo.

    But again, the Warré core remains, adapted and expanded now to the better understanding of bee biology, colony dynamics (der Bien), and preferentially taken up by (sub)urbanites who are rediscovering Nature, wishing to keep bees mostly for the simple pleasures and benefits Warré described. And for folks wishing to have a little honey too, it's already been estimated that pound for pound it can be produced with a fraction of the labor compared to intensively-managed Langs.

    As for Warré's ruche populaire, fine DIY tools and cheap materials—and the skills to use them—are much more accessible and affordable perhaps than a century ago, at least in The States, compared to, say, 1910 France in a village Abbey. I used full box joints and glue & screw construction in making my hives from scratch, and cranked out 160 topbars in an afternoon. The baseline for populaire i.e. People's has shifted in 100 years.

    Of course Warré hive and methods are not trouble-free: managing larger hives, desirable for healthier colonies, requires a hive lift for service and subinsertion expansion; even with hive knives and Warré-specific accessories, vivisection of the Bien for inspection is not casually done; per-box vs. per-frame management takes unlearning and relearning applicable techniques and approach.

    /Alex Templeton
    Author, Beekeeping for Poets

  8. #8
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    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
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    52

    Default Re: Flawed thinking - if warre was alive today?

    Everything evolves, including beekeeping. The idea behind the warre hive was economy, but he was a friar, with a flock ôf people in his care. (To a point). Making work seems to be a part of what he was trying to accomplish. If I use good plywood, not pine lumber, AND mill and grade all the small parts from pallet, a warre hive can be made for about $75.00 U.S. including screws glue and sundries. Even wax for starters. I have modified some tthings, and, I suspect, because of his life's work, the good Abbot had many willing workers. I doubt he made them, but rather, designed them, and "farmed out" the construction. The bees do like those hives, and they are half, or less, labor than a Lang box. That is why I switched, personally. I build all my hives, and it is easier to keep up with all the building with them. Working on a universal extractor frame, for top bars, or lang, or even cut-out comb. That's useful.

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