Warre frames.. outside of Australia
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  1. #1
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    Default Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Evening all,

    New member.. longer time reader, first time poster etc etc.

    I have been researching some specifics on Warre hive construction and I am interested to know what people are using in their Warre hives outside of Australia (if you aren't using fixed or movable top bars)

    In Australia there seems to be a (strange) general acceptance that a 'Warre frame' is a frame without the bottom bar. What intrigues me about this is that it appears no more/less valid than a full frame that includes the bottom bar, both were referenced in the 5th edition of Beekeeping For All. I can't help that this has perpetuated as it creates a point of difference from the Langstroth frame.

    I recently had the 5th edition section on frames privately translated to validate my understanding.. as I feel what is prescriptive as 'Warre' in Australia isn't elsewhere in the world.

    So if you're outside Australia... what is the generally accepted frame style for Warre when not using top bars?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    The Warre Store sells Langstroth frames shortened to fit a Warre.

    http://www.thewarrestore.com/

    Frames:

    http://www.thewarrestore.com/apps/we...s/show/7268378



  4. #3

    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    In Germany and France usually you get either full frames (with bottom bars) or topbars only. There virtually is no three sided frame, at least not on the market. Sure there will be some beekeepers doing their own thing.

    The height is roughly that of one box. I reckon Tim Malfroy in Australia uses three sided frames prolonging throughout two boxes. That is not too bad an idea for the bees. But you can't work by the box when splitting hives. Also when starting a hive in one box, the space is more adapted to the bee cluster. As always there are advantages and disadvantages.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    I build my own top bars. I fashioned a tool to cut the comb loose from the hive wall to pull combs for inspection. I have very little trouble with bees attaching to the top bars of the lower box but when it happens I have to crack the boxes open and slide my hive tool across the top of the attached top bar.
    I've never tried side bars but my concern is it would afford a hiding place for pests. Where I live SHB just love to hide anywhere they can.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    In Germany and France usually you get either full frames (with bottom bars) or topbars only. There virtually is no three sided frame, at least not on the market. Sure there will be some beekeepers doing their own thing.
    Thanks. This is exactly the detail I was after.

    I guess I should really re-word it to 'how popular are 3 sided frames outside of Australia?'. I am specifically interested in variants of what is in Warre's original writings. I don't believe he spoke of a frame that extends beyond a single box? please correct me if that understanding is incorrect.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Hi RBK

    Being the person widely credited with bringing the Warré hive and philosophy to Australia in 2009, I think I can answer your questions.

    Firstly, the beekeeping legislation here states that combs must be removable without cutting comb, so top-bars in a Warré hive are in a grey area (as are Kenyan top-bar hives). As I teach the Warré method (or my 'Australian' version of it) to over 150 students a year, I thought it would be best to modify the design slightly to allow the combs to be removed quickly and easily if required. My boxes measure 308 x 308 x 240mm internally, so the open frames have almost the same surface area as a traditional Warre with top-bar.

    Why not full frames? Well, because the Warré is a divisible hive and brood is spread across multiple boxes. The fewer the gaps between these boxes the better. With a full frame there is a gap of 27.5mm or more between boxes, affecting the nadiring process, queen movement and thermoregulation. With the open frames the gap is is only 13-14mm, and if the bees connect a little bit of comb to the top-bars of the box beneath, the 10mm top-bar is incorporated into the nest structure. There is bee space between the end bars and the hive walls.

    After working with top-bars, full frames and open frames in my 300 Warré hives for the past 8 seasons, I can say that the open frames are the best. A lot of this has to do with how you work Warre hive - using the 'tilt' method similar to skep beekeeping methods. It is not a Langstroth hive and the management techniques are really quite different (my father has run 800 organic Langstroth hives for 45+ years).

    There are other benefits too long to go into here. The only negative comparison is that they are more expensive to build than top-bars and slightly less stable than full frames over a number of seasons.

    All the best,
    Tim Malfroy

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your response and explanation for your reasoning for the 3 sided frame.

    I try not to mix the method with the hive style, ie. I believe that you can take a 'natural' approach to beekeeping regardless of the hive style used and it is not inherently linked to the Warre design. That aside though I do have some questions about your version of the hive which has been adopted in great numbers locally, and specifically some of the modifications (I have met you in the past, so have looked through your modifications).

    Warre was strongly against the use of frames and in one of his chapters actually describes that running frames results in essentially a fixed frame box over time because of the propolising of the frames by the bees, and concludes it's essentially the same result (my summary). What I find interesting about this is that the frames Warre described were fixed width side bars that had a large 'shoulder' contact area like (much older) traditional Langstroth frames, which are prone to propolising. The frames I have seen in locally adapted Warre hives are using 'self spacing' Langstroth frames ends with 'Hoffman' edges, a fairly distinct evolution of the frame that goes part way to solving the propolisation issue Warre spoke about. Are these bars from Langstroth hives?

    If they are Langstroth hive parts, are they 35mm spacing? or are they made to a wider specification to match Warre's original design?

    A few other minor questions (if you have a minute)
    With the increase in spacing to 308mm to 'absorb' the frame ends, what impact does this have to the beespace when pushing the width out to 308mm also?
    Was the depth of your box increased from 210mm to 240mm to match the Langstroth deep super dimension so Langstroth frame ends could be used without modification (you mention plank size on your site)?
    Warre discussed the use of an excluder (referred to as 'mechanical excluder'), but local Warre keepers claim that the excluder isn't part of the Warre system (the same is true for feeders), what are your thoughts on this?
    Last edited by RBK; 02-18-2017 at 04:04 AM.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Hi RBK

    "I try not to mix the method with the hive style, ie. I believe that you can take a 'natural' approach to beekeeping regardless of the hive style used and it is not inherently linked to the Warre design."

    Of course. But I never mentioned natural approaches being linked to Warré, only that the Warré hive is a really different hive to a Langstroth hive, and should be managed differently.

    "Warre was strongly against the use of frames and in one of his chapters actually describes that running frames results in essentially a fixed frame box over time because of the propolising of the frames by the bees, and concludes it's essentially the same result (my summary)."

    Warré was making a strong case for minimal intervention beekeeping and box-hive management. Yes it's true that if you leave a frame hive alone for a long time, the frames are not longer removable. But most beekeepers with frame hives regularly inspect individual combs, keeping those frames removable. He was also making a case for simplified beekeeping, resulting in a strong preference for top-bars in the 12th edition of the book.

    "The frames I have seen in locally adapted Warre hives are using 'self spacing' Langstroth frames ends with 'Hoffman' edges, a fairly distinct evolution of the frame that goes part way to solving the propolisation issue Warre spoke about. Are these bars from Langstroth hives?"

    They are hoffman end bars, slightly customised for my Warré hives ie no notch for bottom bars and no wiring holes.

    "If they are Langstroth hive parts, are they 35mm spacing? or are they made to a wider specification to match Warre's original design?"

    35/36mm, same as Warre.

    "With the increase in spacing to 308mm to 'absorb' the frame ends, what impact does this have to the beespace when pushing the width out to 308mm also?"

    I'm not sure what you mean, but the extra space is there so you have room to push combs away from each other to remove them easily. The frames are pushed together in the centre at the beginning and the bees lightly fix them there. The wall combs become thick combs of honey and pollen, insulating the brood.

    "Was the depth of your box increased from 210mm to 240mm to match the Langstroth deep super dimension so Langstroth frame ends could be used without modification (you mention plank size on your site)?"

    Standard dressed timber plank sizes in Australia are 190mm and 240mm. I started with 190mm and top-bars. The bees were filling boxes so quickly I moved to the larger size. That means there is no wastage of timber. I like the comb surface area with 240mm boxes and open frames. I also use 120mm half depths with top-bars.

    Langstroth is 244mm - the end bars are 232mm, so there is a gap of 12mm between every box (allowing for bee space either side of a queen excluder). However, that means that in the honey supers or if you don't use a queen excluder, there is brace comb between every box.

    "Warre discussed the use of an excluder (referred to as 'mechanical excluder'), but local Warre keepers claim that the excluder isn't part of the Warre system (the same is true for feeders), what are your thoughts on this?"

    I don't use queen excluders and they're not compatible with the Warre approach if you're nadiring etc. I have 5 or so Warre queen excluders for specific manipulations (like Warre), but rarely use them. Queen excluders are really only useful if you're a commercial migratory Langstroth beekeeper.

    Hope that answers your questions. I suggest that if you're interested, you should populate a Warré hive alongside any other hives you have, and see if you like it.

    Best wishes,
    Tim

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Thanks again for the response, it's great to have someone practically experienced responding!

    I found the strong preference for top bars over frames pre-dates the 12th edition of his book. In the 5th edition he stated (from the publicly available translation):

    Nowadays, I recommend without hesitation the People's Hive with fixed combs, even for very
    large enterprises. [...] However, out of respect for the freedom of my readers, I will describe
    the People's Hive in its three forms: fixed comb, ordinary frames, open frames* with closed
    ends


    The 5th edition was from 1923. I have a hard copy of the 9th edition of the book which isn't currently available publicly, and all mention/description of the use of frames appears to have been removed from this edition of the book which is dated 1942. The 12th edition is 1948 and also maintains the removal of the frame section.

    In the 5th edition when describing the use of frames he specifically advocates for the use of 9 frames per box and that the frame length should be longer than his described top bar (300mm) hive at ~350mm. In your version, what ultimately brought you to the 308mm 8 frame sizing?

    The reason I point out the propolising of the frames into the box is that all frame designs that Warre described maintained a fixed with of the top bar + side bars (bottom bar was slightly smaller), without the self spacing 'Hoffman' design element, so I can only assume that his conclusions relating to frame propolisation comes from this design... so why does this matter?.. and more importantly.. why do I care?

    The idea of integrating frame spacing into frames is old. It predates the 5th edition of Warre's book. There are metal straps used for frame spacing that appeared in the Root Catalog in 1912, 11 years before the 5th edition of Warre's book. There are drawings from around 1920 of frames with the Hoffman style edge integrated into the end bars. I appreciate the Warre was in France and probably didn't have access to Internet forums to discuss ideas.. but for someone that has apparently researched 350+ hive designs, this seems to be a fairly glaring omission in his writings. I appreciate that removable frames are required for modern regulatory reasons, and having removable top bars in straight walled hives is problematic because of bees building out to the sides... but Warre's framed hive still seems very different to what I see referred to as Warre in Australia.

    I am sure similar discussion could be raised about the evolution of the 'Langstroth' hive, especially if you are referencing the original patent filing.

    The interest is purely from an academic perspective, and perhaps philosophical. Like the Ship of Theseus... with the number of minor changes.. when does it stop being a Warre hive and start being another one of the 350 hives Warre didn't agree with?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Following up on this thread because I decided to draw the instructions from the 5th edition up in CAD to achieve some further clarity (for myself).

    It appears that the 9 frame design is specifically for frames with bottom bars, and the 8 frame design if for open frames (no bottom bar).

    From the following english translation:
    http://www.warre.biobees.com/warre_5ed_60-71.pdf

    On the two other surfaces, parallel to the frames, two partitions
    [follower boards Tr.] are fixed to rest against the frames with a spring. I prefer one side of the double wall fixed and the other a partition with a spring. There will of course be only eight frames.


    The last comment 'there will of course only be eight frames' is what I missed originally as 5 or so pages before he is specifically discussing 9 frames. What's also strange is that the full frame design rests on rebates on a double walled box, but the open frames he talks to them resting on a 10mm batten.

    What's interesting about the 8 frame design with open frames is that he suggests using a spring loaded follower board on one side. Is anyone currently using this system in their Warre hive?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Here is the result of the CAD.

    I think some issues with this hive design are fairly obvious and it's no wonder he describes problems with propolisation. This is drawn to the dimensions in the 5th edition translation available here:
    http://www.warre.biobees.com/warre_5ed_60-71.pdf

    This doesn't show the follower boards that he describes (on either end), and only 8 frames are shown as described (288mm total) even though 9 (324mm) would have fit comfortably in the defined 350mm internal measurement. I assume the reason it was dropped to 8 is the fixed follower board would add 10mm on one end, and the floating follower board would be 10mm+ spring on the other. This ensures you maintain minimum wall thickness on all sides of the hive.

    Note: The frames are shown spaced 4mm apart to maintain clarity of components in the drawing, this isn't spacing defined in the original document.

    Batten design:


    Batten design with frames from end view:


    Open frame design as described (full contact on sidebars):


    Remaining space not filled by frames (52mm) where spring loaded follower board would be located (other side is assumed 10mm fixed):
    Last edited by RBK; 02-20-2017 at 05:49 AM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by RBK View Post
    I think some issues with this hive design are fairly obvious and it's no wonder he describes problems with propolisation.
    You maybe wish to take a look at frames on this link:
    https://postimg.org/gallery/1jvqg5bas/

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Thanks for that viesest. Do you know where this design came from? is it widely adapted in your country/region/area or something you have developed?


    More renderings of the original Warre open frame design with the frames in the box showing the problems with spacing to the box sides.

    Note: I have changed the batten size to 10x24mm to match the top bar size. The explanation only details '10mm' as batten size.. I am thinking the re-use of top bars as battens would have been likely.

    Showing fully enclosed side bars (no galleries like Hoffman style frame)


    A cavity is created under the batten that the bees can't access. The spacing from bottom of frame to bottom of box is 2.5mm, and with follower boards in place there is no way for bees to enter


    Showing spacing at the top of frames. 12mm space is created between top bars


    Stacked boxes showing frame spacing between boxes from bottom of frame to frame below (2.5mm)


    Cavity created between frame end and side of box under batten. In the top box, no way for bees to enter space


    I think the cavity space is (now) a major issue in this design considering we now have to contend with SHB, and SHB will pass through the space under frames to get into the cavity.

    I am still interested if anyone is running the original (as described) Warre open frame design? and if it is working for you? Or has everyone applied modern adaptations to the frame design?

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Warre frames.. outside of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by RBK View Post
    Thanks for that viesest. Do you know where this design came from? is it widely adapted in your country/region/area or something you have developed?
    The design is mine, but not ideas: i.e. top bar with guide and wire, side bars are Hoffman style.
    Frames are experimental.

    My opinion about open frames on pictures; side bars are unnecessarily to long and top bars are to thin.
    IMO food available is more important for overwintering than compact cluster space.

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