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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    7

    Default Considering changing to Langs

    Last year was my first year as a beekeeper. I had a Warre hive and a Kenyan top bar hive. My Kenyan top bar did amazing ,however, I had swarming with my Warre. When I installed my package, I had 3 hive bodies. The top one serving as the area containing their syrup for feeding, the middle one was where they started building comb, and the bottom one they were supposed to move down into once the middle one was full. Well, they never migrated down and ended up getting cramped and swarmed. I tried moving comb into the lower box to encourage the bees to follow but they didn't take the bait ( I think it was too little too late at that point). I talked to some local beek's and they all chided me for not adding "supers" on TOP of my full brood box. I explained it was a Warre and that is not the method they use and got chided some more. The colony ended up not surviving because they were so weak. A few weeks ago I installed packages into 2 warre hives on the leftover comb. They drew out the top box quickly so I moved bars 1,2 & 7,8 of each box down to lower box-some bars contained brood. I've read so many tips but everyone seems to disagree and I often see Warre owners struggling with this issue. My neighbors own Langs and are constantly telling me how easy they are to manage. It's so disheartening. So, does anyone have any tips for encouraging your bees to move down? Does anyone use supering instead of nadiring on their Warre? Im trying to be proactive and a beekeeper not a beehaver.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    This sounds wrong somehow, but I am not an expert. I will be interested to hear what some more experienced beekeepers have to say about it. Sounds like your local beekeepers are sorta jerks to me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Eilis,

    I am in my third season with Warres so I am in no way an expert. I have had the the same problem with a colony refusing to expand down. When it did this I moved a comb from the outside of the box to the center of the undrawn box and supered it. I know this sounds like heresy but I think it has something to do with a young queens limited brood space needs in her first year. The colony will not draw anymore than she needs. Also light 1-1 syrup can stimulate the house bees to draw more comb but if she is laying all she can they will draw it above the brood nest to store the surplus nectar/syrup coming in.

    Not sure how much any of this is helpful with swarming. I had one swarm out and it was in three boxes-I needed to split it but the books said to not worry about swarming the first year.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,135

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    After 45 years of Langstroth hives I got a Warre and a topbar. I manage my Warre like a Lang by laddering combs to help them work up. My topbar I just let them fill it and then harvest. Framed hives are more modern technology and better technology.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Quote Originally Posted by herbhome View Post
    Eilis,

    I am in my third season with Warres so I am in no way an expert. I have had the the same problem with a colony refusing to expand down. When it did this I moved a comb from the outside of the box to the center of the undrawn box and supered it. I know this sounds like heresy but I think it has something to do with a young queens limited brood space needs in her first year. The colony will not draw anymore than she needs. Also light 1-1 syrup can stimulate the house bees to draw more comb but if she is laying all she can they will draw it above the brood nest to store the surplus nectar/syrup coming in.

    Not sure how much any of this is helpful with swarming. I had one swarm out and it was in three boxes-I needed to split it but the books said to not worry about swarming the first year.
    I think Im going to do the same this year too, Neil. At this point I am not trying to be a purist, I only want to have happy, healthy colonies. I will try that method and let ya know how it goes-thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Odfrank,
    Im going to try that method as well. Here's hoping to a more successful year of beekeeping!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    clarksville, virginia usa
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    I am only in my second year of beekeeping but I will share this. I started with two Warre hives and packages. The bees built down in both hives and I added a third box on both hives. By the end of the summer there wasn't a lot extra honey so I didn't take any honey and both hives made it through the winter.
    Now the other story - A friend gave me a langstroth so I used it as a test hive. I got a nuc and put the nuc in a deep (btw these are very dark bees and I think they are Caucasians). I added two shallows underneath but they wouldn't build down. I added another shallow thinking more room would do it, but they still wouldn't build down. A tiny bit of comb here and a tiny bit of comb there but no building down, but they completely filled the deep.
    Last fall I took the shallows off, still with nothing in them, and left the one deep. I put sugar on top (mountain camp method) but they didn't need it till February when it got unusually warm, then they started eating the sugar like crazy and really building up their numbers.
    Again I added shallows underneath to encourage them to build down as in a Warre but no dice. I left the shallows underneath until March and they were crazy busy but only one tiny piece of comb was built below the deep, however I noticed they were starting to try to build comb in the spacer I was using for the sugar. I decided to put the shallows on top to see what would happen and within a couple of days they were building comb like crazy. I didn't use foundation an any of the shallows but once the shallows were on top of the deep away they went. They have already filled one shallow and half of another.
    So I guess some bees just don't want to build down. Again, I think these are Caucasians as they are very dark, so maybe that has something to do with it but I'm not sure.
    I added a third Warre this year and the packaged bees I installed in it have already filled a box and are starting on the second, building down. Last years Warre's are also doing well and building down, but the dark bees refused. Go figure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Baldwin, Wisconsin
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    From reading experiences of others and from my own experience it seems to be common for a hive in a Warre' to build two hive bodies worth of comb and then stop. I had hives swarm as many as three times their first year, they simply would not go down and draw any more comb. I have since switched to supering and have less trouble with swarming and generally find it much easier to manage. I have only done this for four years now and am a long, long ways from having all the answers but it seems that for the most part workers like to go up, queens seem like to move down rather than up but the workers really prefer going up. So if I have comb available I have no problem to nadir a box but otherwise I will super. I try to keep not less than two boxes for brood, three is better.
    For honey I use a queen excluder and super as necessary. As you've seen in the other responses, if there is a flow on the bees have little trouble to fill out frames of foundation and if they won't you can put a bar or frame of comb in the super and this draws the bees up quickly, then they will start to fill out the rest of the frames/bars.
    I have also switched to using frames, generally with a partial-sheet of foundation (1/2 of a full Lang sheet of foundation fills about 70% of my Warre' frames, I leave a little gap on each end). I wouldn't go so far as to say that frames are not as good for the bees as a comb built on a topbar - but for sure it is a lot better for the beekeeper. Usually I overwinter very well, I lost one hive last winter and one the winter before, even with the frames, in a fairly tough climate (NW Wisconsin), so losses around 10%-15%/year. I really hated the topbars, it makes a real hive inspection so much more time-consuming and messy and difficult. But that of course doesn't mean that this is for everybody.
    johnsof
    NW Wi, zone 4a

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Okay so why not just switch the hive bodies' positions once the top hive is full -- just put it below the other and let them work up if they won't go down?

    I have a Warre hive that I'm going to start soon, and I have no experience except for years ago with Langstroths. I am going to try Warres because there really is not much good the beekeeper can actually do in the brood chamber, like Warre said. That just rings so true from my experience from long ago. We'll see . . . soon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsof View Post
    From reading experiences of others and from my own experience it seems to be common for a hive in a Warre' to build two hive bodies worth of comb and then stop. I had hives swarm as many as three times their first year, they simply would not go down and draw any more comb. I have since switched to supering and have less trouble with swarming and generally find it much easier to manage.
    bee biology..
    They like around 40L space when choosing a natural home, enuf space to swarm a few times and rebuild for winter 2 Warre boxes are 39.6L a deep lang is around 42L , and you see this issue as well in langs, The bees see they have filled from the ceiling down to 40L and want to swarm, even with draw comb below them, that's why they reverse brood chambers to prevent swarming. .

    The main advantage of nadiring in the warre management style is you do it and walk away with an early season visit (The bees in the top stay warm. if you supered them it would be a big heat sink above them) leave them alone and come get your harvest in the fall. If your going to actively manage your bees supering seems to be more effective

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    there really is not much good the beekeeper can actually do in the brood chamber, .
    If you cant make increase, your stuck on the package bee treadmill.
    If you don't stop swarming your loosing your increase and your harvest
    Last edited by msl; 04-20-2017 at 08:36 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Warre describes a method of splitting in his book. Is that the method you use?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    His method is more or less walk a way splits, witch I feel is a poor use of resources, and a problem for the small time beekeeper in the modern world ie the 50 and under hive club advrages 40%

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    His method is more or less walk a way splits, witch I feel is a poor use of resources, and a problem for the small time beekeeper in the modern world ie the 50 and under hive club advrages 40%
    Okay, I am getting package bees in a week or so. You've got me worried about mismanagement, swarming, and my sanity. I am here to learn. What are the best resources on keeping Warre hives in the modern world?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Guilford, CT
    Posts
    242

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    May I ask the motivation to keep alternative hives vs the standard which is Lang at this time? I'm trying to understand the motivation to try Warre?

    Could you not buy frames to fit a warre and turn it into a lang?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    There are 3 kinds of warre... fixed comb, movable comb, and framed.
    there are some advantages to the Warre sized box, less weight to lift, generally considered to overwinter on less stores, and with movable comb or frame you get more splits per same area of brood... and of coarse the "al naturale" appeal for some

    For me the motivation was costs, I could bang together one on the cheap, It pains me when I see people paying as much for a movable comb warre or KTBH as they would a lang... that is doing the beginner a large dis surveace, and selling them that some how one box is inhearntly diffrent then another
    I build my KTBHs for around $30 each. The one (fixed comb, top bars nailed in place) warre I had came about as I was out of wood wear and had swarm sitting in a bucket with a screened lid, the next season it was cut out as I needed its resources
    however the hobby market in my area seems to be crashing and by watching craigslist and a bit of driveing I put together 10 sets of langs for $307....so I will be trying out the darkside as well this year

    You've got me worried about mismanagement, swarming, and my sanity. I am here to learn. What are the best resources on keeping Warre hives in the modern world?
    |
    The Box is fine, the management can and does work
    all depends if your going to keep them under Warre's methods or modern methods. It not the box, its how the box is manged, nothing a lang can do a movable comb or frame Warre can't as an example Sam comfort runs them by the 100s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tN90jDml44
    my point was there are well and good reasons for the beekeeper to be in the brood nest, even the skept keepers of old went in. When you think about it, 3500 years ago the Egyptians were practicing more advanced beekeeping then some modern Warre users

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    1,709

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    I built a warre. I don't have bees in it yet but if I ever do, I intend to try it just as warre intended in his book "The peoples hive".

    As a hobbiest that does not relie on the income from bee keeping, I find his method intriging. Plus the hive looks really cool. I will have no windows in my hive cause I like the simplicity of the ideal of just the boxes with top bars. I am only running langs and want to get familiar with splitting and keeping enough alive to never have to buy a bee. When I feel comfotable in that, I will play with the warre and not worry if it swarms itself to death while learning it. It will be kind of fun seeing the differrences of the warre management compared to the langs, just for the fun of it, regaurdless of outcome.
    Cheers
    gww

    Ps I would build a couple more of them but find it harder to come up with boards that are 8.5 inches wide then I do 6 and 5/8th inch wide that I can build medium langs with.
    zone 5b

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    There is no reason you cant make a medium depth (or shallow for that matter ) Warre box. Sam comfort does just fine building his out of 6" (nominal ) lumber with about 279mm ID, aka 11"
    The whole cult of Warre thinking- That if you fudge the measurements a bit, some how the magic won't work, is a bit silly. The bees don't care +- a few CM

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    1,709

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    Msl
    Possibly true but abby was pretty adimate about his measurements and his reasons for them. My stuff is pretty shabby anyway and so I do my best to stick to whatever plan that I am using at the time. Two inches seems quite a bit of change to the plan.
    gww
    zone 5b

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Baldwin, Wisconsin
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    The advantages of the Warre' for the hobbyist beekeeper are the simplified design and MUCH lighter weight which allows anyone with a modicum of woodworking experience to build their own equipment and be able to lift the boxes. A full box of honey in a Warre' box weighs about 35 lbs and almost anyone can lift one of these; a deep 10-frame Lang can weigh 90-something lbs if it's full of honey and for me they are really awkward to handle. With the lighter weight you can use a butt joint or better a rabbet joint rather than the finger joints you see on the Langs; the end grain of the wood is much less (with the rabbet joint) and I suspect that this will make the boxes last longer (again reducing cost).
    For sure if you stick with the fixed comb topbar system then it can be pretty cheap to do. But if you want to run frames then you are stuck either building your own frames - a lot of busy work - or buying Lang frames and cutting them up. By the way, if you go this route, make sure you make the Warre' boxes the same depth as a Lang deep, I know from experience that this saves a ton of time only having to cut twice (the top and bottom bars) rather than having to cut the sidebars of the frames as well.
    But if you don't use frames and don't use foundation it is a complete pain in the rear to take out the comb and look to see what is going on. You are going to see a lot of wonky comb. You are going to see a lot of cross-comb. You are going to see a ton of large cell comb (i.e. drone comb). Every time you pull a comb out you are going to drip honey all over the place.
    I have to say this carefully....when Warre' designed these hives he didn't have varroa mites and a lot of the diseases that we are dealing with. He designed a system for use (let's be honest) that a peasant could put up in a time when sugar wasn't so available and honey was something that people could get for themselves. If the hives swarmed it didn't matter so much, I believe the concept was that nobody expected to get vast quantities of honey, it was only for the family. You can be hands-off but you will see swarming, you will see losses due to varroa, you won't probably get a lot of honey. If your goal is to just have bees and if you get a little honey you're satisfied, then that's OK for you, but you have to consider your neighbors and what your varroa-infected bees are doing to their bees. I am not too far from the folks at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab program and (I don't want to put words in their mouths but) they are more-or-less saying that if you don't actively manage for mites then you are making it really difficult for everyone else. You really can't inspect for mites or EFB or some of the other problems if you can't pull each and every comb out and look at them on a fairly regular basis, sample nurse bees for mite checking, and so forth.
    Sorry to so strongly express my feelings about all of this, it's really not my intent to rain on anybody's parade but to be fair you have to consider your neighbor beekeepers as well. I started out running fixed comb on topbars and I wasn't happy with doing it that way. I sorta feel that someone with experience - some years under their belt - might be able to do this as it was originally intended, but someone who is just starting out "might" be a lot better off by using the system that has been developed using frames as "management" is a lot easier.
    I really like my Warres' and I really dislike my Lang but I do manage them all the same. I think the Warre' is a really sound design and for the hobbyist I really think there are a lot of advantages (as long as you can build them yourself).

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    1,709

    Default Re: Considering changing to Langs

    johnsof
    Of course to your post on disieses, abby was convinced that more disiese like abf was atributed and had a bigger breakout with the bigger use of movable frames. He also felt the cooling of the brood nest and multiple brood nest invasions caused stresses to the bees making them more suceptable to disiese.
    He had his view on that subject and used it as a reason his hive was better. They didn't have mites but if that is your thing, there are plenty of comercials that treat once a year and that is thier control of mites.

    I doubt a backyarder has much higher impact on his neibors then the sidliner does who loses more swarms to the surounding envoroment.

    I see the belief put out alot but can't make the math seem to work to back it.

    I do say that a backyard guy has a choice and pays the price if he choses wrong but doubt he will be hurting his neibors very bad but might give up bee keeping if he does not keep his bees alive.
    Just a differrent view.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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