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  1. #1
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    Default I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Hey everyone,is anyone out there that has. A few Warre Hives please I want to know if modified warre are worth working,and if anyone likes it better,I'm all wishy washy on what hives I want to go with.�� Anyone

  2. #2
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    Mar 2012
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    I started with a Warre and have since added a Perone and three TBH's. Of the three I like the TBH the most and the Warre the least. While I wouldn't call it "unmanageable," it is very difficult to monitor when compared to hives with more moveable frames and unless you super it, lifting the whole hive in the spring alone can be tough. If you want a natural comb hive without foundation I would recommend a TBH. Easy to build, easy to inspect, and just plain fun.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    A natural comb hive can also be had with a 5 frame or 8 frame Lang by simply using foundationless frames. Hope this helps.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    If you follow the Warre' design exactly, then you'll have top bars with no guides and they will be nailed in. These are both problematic to having inspectable comb. Inspectable comb is not only important to good beekeeping but is legally required in almost all the US states. On the other hand, if you don't nail them in and put comb guides on them and you manage them carefully it is possible to have it inspectable.

    I think one of the pitfalls of TBH and Warre' hives is not so much the design as the mentality of people who chose them. They often seem to want to never open them and work them and the design is such that they require more frequent, not less frequent, interventions. One good comb leads to another and one bad comb leads to another. You need to make sure the combs are straight and on the top bars so the next will be straight and on the top bars.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5

    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Michael,

    have you ever seen a Warré hive? I just wonder...

    You nail the topbars - but you use nails without heads. You either pinch off the nail heads or use special nails without heads. This way you can lift the topbars and push them back into place. This is the method by Émile Warré himself, you can find it in his book.

    Every decent Warré beekeeper uses starter strips. Émile Warré did himself and you can find it in his book. If it weren't crucial, the Abbé Warré would have pruned it out of the system. But it is needed to get decent comb. So it is part of the system to use starter strips.

    I inspect Warré hives regularily. Usually every week or two. The best way to do it is, to look from below, means you turn each box on it's side. I have posted some pictures in another thread.

    Yes, mentality of some Warreors is a problem. Some just are afraid getting into full contact with bees. Those people should not keep bees. Nothing natural about letting bees getting into a bad state. Luckily there are others that know how to care for bees and take their stings. Unfortunately those beekeepers are not writing much. It seems the more people write the less their experience. Anyway, most of the know-it-all folks go silent after a while, as did their bees...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    >have you ever seen a Warré hive? I just wonder...

    Yes. I have seen several that had no comb guides and were nailed in and several that were modified from that to have comb guides and not be nailed in. It's been a while since I read the Abbe' Warre's book, and I admit I was more skimming it as I was not trying to build a Warre' but I don't remember any starter strips. One of these days I need to read it again.

    My concern was always what to do if they attach one box to the one below. I have not had them, but have often asked the people who's Warre's I've seen how that works and they all seemed to have problems with it. A "cheese cutter" seems like the most useful way to deal with it but I have no real feel for how much of a problem it is.

    I agree with several of Warre's conclusions but disagree with some as well. Some I'm just more in the middle on, such as the whole "brood nest scent and warmth" thing. I think too much interference probably does cause issues with this. But I don't see the brood nest as some sacred place you cannot go and while I think sometimes people get carried away with ventilation, some seems to work out well.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Michael, have you read the Russian book we've been discussing in another thread?

    I've wondered if the type of hive he favors has something to do with the Warre system, since the frames are the size of 2 deeps stacked together, He makes much of the fact that natural bee trees tend to have deep comb, as Warre hives apparently do, in functional terms.

  8. #8

    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Hi Michael,

    unfortunately a lot of Warréors do not read the original book but rather start with a modified system that they "heared of". Sometimes they do hear of "problems" and try to solve problems that are no problems.

    Starter strips are a must and that is for some reasons. Inspecting is not the first reason. Émile Warré has used starter strips to get straight combs that he can extract. He used cages to extract natural combs. He simply put the combs with topbar into a cage, so the comb is supported on either side by the wire of the cage. He then used a horizontal extractor. There is a picture of it in the 5th edition of his book. (An earlier version.)

    Straight combs are especially necessary in Warré hives. Since the hive dimensions are very small, the combs are tiny. If you let them build freely, the resulting burr combs do not have worker cells but drone cells or honey cells. That is a problem! Because a healthy broodnest is compact and egg shaped. To keep the warmth it must be roundish. Also worker cells must be uniform in shape and length. Uniformity of drone cells and honey cells does not matter, but it does when it comes to worker cells.

    Bees do not know square shaped trees. So they get in trouble if thrown into a square shaped cavity as a Warré hive is. They get puzzled and produce burr comb. Angled comb. They start some combs and fill the rest with burr comb. I call it "fill comb". (Don't know the exact translation.) Anyway. Fill comb doesn't produce workers. It gets filled with honey. The honey never get touched again, usually. So it it useless space. The brood nest stretches from top to the bottom of the hive. Not compact.

    Useless space in an already narrow hive can be deadly. For a hive to thrive it needs a lot of workers. Compare to the Perone hive concept (or Tim Ives). To get worker bees you need a lot of worker comb. Worker comb must be uniformly (of course with some variability) in shape and size.

    The Warré hive is shrinked down to the absolut minimal size possible. (In my opinion.) It is deadly to produce burr comb in such a hive. If you use starter strips you get a sufficient amount of worker. In my experience two boxes of Warré brood combs are sufficient to build up a good colony. Those combs get filled with brood wall to wall. All the pollen and nectar goes in a third box, thus three boxes is a minimum size for a developed colony. You need more usually to prevent the broodnest from backflooding in a flow.

    Such a minimalist hive does need a lot of comb care to work. Otherwise you end up with useless burr comb, a stretched broodnest and a weak hive population.

    I never used a cheese wire in that decade of Warré beekeeping. It is completely unnecessary. This is the trick. You may know this from regular frame beekeeping: frames get fully drawn when supered. Means the comb is attached to the frame on all four sides. Bottom bar included. If you nadir a box with foundation at the bottom of the hive, you will notice that the frames will have a gap at the bottom. Well, if the foundation does not reach down to the topbar. Same with fixed comb.

    If you use the original system and nadir the boxes, the bees build down to the floor. They do keep the beespace to the floor. If the comb ages a little they get rounded edges. Can't explain it better. Just compare edges of a fresh drawn natural comb and an old comb. Once the comb has rounded edges it doesn't get drawn further. Means: if you nadir they keep the beespace, start rounding the comb edges and never will attach it to the topbars when nadired later.

    So if there is some connection between the boxes, you either a) nadired too early b) supered c) never have touched the hive. If you inspect the hive by dismantling it on a regularily basis - at least once a month, there is no connection either. Scrape the topbars with your hive tool. I call it: scratching the back of the Bien.

    It must be highlighted, that even fixed comb needs a lot of care. Even in the old days, in the year 1568 as described in the first known German book about beekeeping by the author Nicol Jacobi, the comb in log hives was receiving a lot of care. You need to cull it here and there, straighten it here and there. Cut it, clean it and so forth. It is an old art. Or old craft.

    As a side note: even those days 1568 comb was transfered between log hives to a) raise new queens b) feed hungry hives. It is all possible. But must be learned, because as all crafts it is all about skills. If you read the book it is interesting that there is nothing new in beekeeping since 1568.

    Read the original book carefully when starting with Warré hives. Especially if you are about to go treatment free you need strong healthy hives. If your state needs inspectable combs, I'd go for frames. Not much difference between fixed comb and frames. Same for the hive. The main task for a hive is to keep the rain and winds out. No more. The rest is comb availability and management.

  9. #9

    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    This is one of Émile Warrés apiaries. He got hundreds of hives.



    This the Abbé Warré himself loading the extractor.



    You can see the fixed combs in the box he holds. On the floor are the cages he used for extraction (and reuse of the comb). On the right the horizontal extractor he used.

  10. #10

    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Sharp comb edges (in a skep)


    Rounded combs edges in a fixed comb Warré hive

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Vernon, AZ. USA
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    A couple of very good modifications, are these:
    Instead of little nails, use the smallest hand staples. very easy to remove and replace. Such as Arrow# J 21,or equiv.
    Use an inner cover of the same design as ordinary Langstroth hives. With a feeder hole. Up to a gallon feeder can be made from a clean paint can, and inverted right over the cluster during growth or winter store-up times. With vanishingly small chances of robbing or wasps/ants.
    Revive the old fashioned tool, called a "burr comb tool". Seldom seen, or used with Lang hives, BUT... any topbar hive user will find it a neccesity. It will soon be much more your favored hive tool, than your regular flatbar type.
    Another good modification for the U.S. is to just use the closest inch dimesions. Its hard to get quality metric measuring tools in the U.S.
    Be creative! An 8 frame Lang box, will fit warre size topbars, I would like to make a "long warre box" someday. That would be a really strange modification!
    And, yes, that feeder means don't use the "quilt". I guess that's another modification, and you'll find it saves work and the chore of replacing musty, mite infested sawdust or whatever from it. My bees seem to do better without the quilt.
    1 important thing, is to make warre hives as level as you can, or the burr comb goes way up.
    Put short legs under the floor, Just screw them right thru. and ants can be dusted without harming the bees. D.E is good. (Ants are a problem here!)
    I hope these few changes I have hit upon will help you.
    Last edited by jadebees; 09-17-2013 at 05:31 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Perhaps in arizona it is too dry for the quilt to be of much use. In humid Toronto I consider it one of the most genius aspects of the hive design. In fact we add a similar thing to our langs in the winter.

    In my second year of using the warré I'm starting to question the 2 boxes for brood. A good queen easily spreads into 3 boxes and I wouldn't be surprised to see some brood in 4 boxes. Bernhard, perhaps the bees they raise here have different growth capacities than in Germany and France?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Here in Western Washington the quilt box is absolutely essential!! There's no extra work involved and they don't get "musty" or "mite infested".

    It rains year round and moisture in the hives is one of our biggest issues. The quilt box is a life saver! I use them on all of my hives, warrés or not.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Very interesting analysis Bernhard.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15

    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Queens over here do lay as much eggs as they do over the big pond. There is no difference, I suppose, in broodnest building capabilities.

    A good queen lays brood in all four-five-six boxes. If you let her do that. But not all cells on those combs do contain brood in that case. All frames are mixed and muddled, brood, pollen, nectar.

    By using an excluder and only two boxes for brood you press the broodnest into a very compact shape. Which is beneficial since the broodnest can be kept warmer with less worker bees. Also I think the hygiene is a bit better since less bees are needed to clean two boxes of brood comb.

    Usually, when experimenting with splits, you can watch bees growing faster and stronger when put into an appropiate space. Compare the development of a three frame split in a single box (with just foundation or even empty frames with starter strips) with a split that has been put into two boxes of drawn comb. The single box usually grows faster and stronger.

    Bees can get lost in too much comb. If there is comb, bees walk it. So the same amount of bees can fill one to five boxes. I did a lot of experiments. I wintered bees on five boxes and in Spring they filled almost every comb in that hive. It appeared super-strong at that time. As a test I shook and brushed down all the bees in that hive and compared it with a shake-down of a two storey hive. Well, it turned out to be the same amount of bees in both hives. Of course in a narrowed hive, the bees are tighter. As said: bees like to walk combs and distribute in the place given.

    For small colonies, just started as a slit or: coming out of winter in Spring, and with weak colonies generally, it is much better to constrict them as much as possible. A lot of Dadant beekeepers do that here, too. They take out all the empty combs, narrowing the comb numbers to 5-6 combs. Closed by a follower board. I do the same in my long hives (T120 hives). In Spring that is.

    By using an excluder and two boxes for brood, you can get into a good rythm with the queen. Two boxes hold enough cells for the queen to build up a good colony. I have to highlight, that I use 5.1mm foundation. So more cells per box. Anyway, the rythm. First there is not enough capped combs, but once eight of the combs get capped, I put them into the upper box. What happens is: the capped brood emerges, leaving empty cells behind. Young bees are the nectar processors and wax builders. If they emerge right under the honey chamber, the bees more readily take the honey supers. Building combs and processing nectar into honey. Foragers also land where the young bees are to get rid of their cargo. I do have a small entrance above the excluder. So bees do not ahve to cross the broodnest and excluder to store the honey.

    When the capped brood emerges there are free cells to lay eggs in right at the top of the broodnest. So the queen works her way up. In my experience, if she can works upwards the bees tend to swarm lees. The egg laying rate corresponds with the rate young bees emerge. So within two weeks the lower box is capped and the upper box holds young brood. So every two weeks I swap bottom and top brood box. If bees find young brood at the main entrance, they again tend to swarm less. But forage like crazy.

    Even with Carnolian bees I can get away with brood box swapping every two weeks to prevent swarming for another month. Brood box swapping doesn't work in every hive type, in my opinion this is due to the size of the brood combs, which are too big to allow a rythm like I described above.

    The small combs of Warré hives prevent the bees from storing nectar at the sides of the broodnest. Instead it is directed upwards. If there is no attempt for side storing, the broodnest doesn't get flushed with nectar (backfilled) as quick as it can be found with larger combs. (Again: Carnolians, which tend to store nectar close and very close to the broodnest.) Of course at some stage of main flow, this happens in a Warré, too. This is the time where it is beneficial to remove the old queen and let them raise new ones.

    So to summarize why I use only two brood boxes:

    - broodnest is more compact: hygiene, warmth
    - brood boxes swapping works this way: less swarming, good foraging mood
    - emerging young bees (wax builders and nectar processors) emerge right under the honey supers
    --> *supers are taken and foundation drawn readily
    - egg laying pattern is in a continious upward movement
    - young brood at the entrance: good foraring mood, less swarming
    - you can find the queen more quickly
    - you can find swarm cells more quickly
    - queens lays a little less eggs per year and thus doesn't get exhaust as quickly
    - honey is a little drier
    - moving bees is easier, since there is less weight to transport
    --> Warré hive boxes are really light (compared to...) and have a nice compact dimension for transportation
    - splitting is easy. Split by the boxes. Done.
    - combs are strictly divided into brood combs, pollen combs, honey combs. There are few combs that are mixed during the season, which makes it possible to manipulate hives very detailled.
    - less hive boxes to get the same honey crop. Sometimes the restriction of the broodnest is the only way to get a crop at all. Some bees tend to eat up all they find and make brood from it. You end up with huge hives and little honey.

    Of course there are drawbacks, too. You need to make sure that there is enough food on the hive all year round. Also the management is a little more intensive and time scheduled compared to lets say a Dadant hive. But if you find your rythm it can be done.

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Im not even a Warreor, but really like your posts Bernhard. Very informative.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: I want to leep thos thread going on Warre Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    A good queen lays brood in all four-five-six boxes. If you let her do that. But not all cells on those combs do contain brood in that case. All frames are mixed and muddled, brood, pollen, nectar.
    These are my notes from recent inspections, :

    The 3rd box of brood is more 'muddled' than the first two boxes as it was formerly a honey box.


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