My Warre-type hives
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Syracuse, UT
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    201

    Default My Warre-type hives

    Here are a couple pics of my hives:
    20180901_194313.jpg
    20180901_194334.jpg

    I lost 4/5 hives two years ago and the only one that made it was one that I had let build natural comb and that had a quilt on top. The hive that survived had very few bees or stores. I put a shim on the top box and poured dry sugar on a piece of cardboard. The other hives had lots of bees and honey but all died. I inspected them in the spring after they died and looked like moisture (and probable mites) got them. I eventually lost my one good hive also. I cleaned out the dead bees but didn't seal them up like I should and the wax moths got in and ate up everything.

    After those catastrophies, I decided to start over (with two new packages this spring) and try some new things.
    1. I put a quilt on both hives. That is the dark colored spacer. I stapled a screen on the bottom of those spacers and filled them up with cedar shavings. The spacers have 2x1" screened holes in the front and back (same config the one hive had that survived the winter two years ago).
    2. Under the spacer, I put another shim for a top entrance. It has 3x3/4" holes in the front side of them. One hive uses it a lot and the other has propolized them mostly shut. I like upper entrances for the winter because snow clogs up bottom entrances and also yellow jackets go in the bottom entrances when it hasn't frozen yet and the temps get below 48F or so. The bees ball up and don't protect the entrance. I think they will protect the upper entrances since the heat will rise and they will wander around in there. I will close two of the upper entrances when it gets colder. I will plug all the bottom entrances as it gets colder.
    3. I will put dry sugar on the top box in the upper entrance spacer as needed for the winter.
    4. I turned the bottom board landing board side to the back and put a spacer on that and screened the top of it with 8x8 hardware cloth to help with mites. I also cut out 3/4" of the bottom of the spacer out by the bottom board entrance so if I do the powdered sugar treatment, I can let it fall on a removable piece of cardboard and pull out the fallen sugar easily. Right now i have a sticky board in there that i just put in today.
    5. I added another spacer above the screened bottom board with 7x3/4" holes for a bottom entrance. I will use those in the spring, summer, and early fall but will close them all up for the winter. I will close the top entrances in the spring, summer, and fall next year (if they survive) because I will try to do comb honey on top and don't want a top entrance for that (travel stain and storing pollen in the comb honey if have a top entrance).
    6. I have frames in the boxes but am going foundationless with them. They built mostly straight but are a few frames where they built into the next one. I don't plan on inspecting much so this hopefully won't bother me because it can be a mess with out foundation when they build across.

    I hope all this works. I don't want to store extra boxes so I just put them at the bottom of the brood boxes, that is why the hives have so many boxes (all medium langstroth boxes, some I had and some cut down from deeps). The talles hive has built out 4 boxes and the shorter one 3 boxes. I only want to nadar (except for the comb honey box which I will super). i don't want to use chemicals because as the boxes rotate up, they will be the honey supers. This will be a challenge to protect against mites without chemicals. I plan on crush and strain as I harvest from the top to rotate comb that way and will put the empty box on the bottom after harvest.

    That is it. How do Warre hive owners treat for mites and is it ok to have empty supers on the bottom? I think it shouldn't hurt.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by blamb61; 09-01-2018 at 09:34 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Hello Neighbor.

    I've only got one Warre, I mainly use Langstroths. Beekeeping is regional so I thought I'd offer my input since I'm just a little ways south of you. It looks like you are using Langstroth boxes but managing them Warre style. If you haven't yet, then download Bee Keeping for All from Abbe Warre (you can find free PDFs) and read it.

    I started using quilts four years ago on some of my Langstroth hives. I have not yet lost a Langstroth hive over winter that had a quilt box on it. In the fall I put a thin canvas over the frames on the top box and the bees will usually propolize it. I figure that gives them a chance to regulate the air flow through the quilt. Since you're using an upper entrance that may not be practical for you. I wouldn't close up the bottom entrance completely, leave a bee size opening. There are others on the forum who use quilt boxes on Langstroths so you could try posting in the main forum for more advice.

    Treating for mites in my true Warre was a challenge due to equipment compatibility, My Warre has a standard Warre bottom board and there is no way the oxalic acid vaporizer was going to fit in there. I had to shim it up for vaporizing, but that of course means lifting the entire stack, which gets old for multiple treatments with geezer back.

    I also use Apivar strips after I get the supers off, however I've been hesitant to just put Apivar in the Warre because of the crush and strain harvesting, maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I understand your concerns in that regard. You could try an OA drip or MAQS. I don't worry about it on my Langstroths because its confined to just the brood boxes and I extract my Langstroth supers.

    I'm a little concerned about nadir stacking all the empty boxes. It still looks like your entrance is at the bottom, so the bees are having to climb a lot. Also in the winter time they will have a lot of extra space to heat. My recommendation here is to find a different place to keep the empty boxes. I have a bottom board that I stack everything on with a cover on top. It keeps the insides dry and maybe a swarm will move in some day.
    Zone 6B

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Syracuse, UT
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    Hello Neighbor.

    I've only got one Warre, I mainly use Langstroths. Beekeeping is regional so I thought I'd offer my input since I'm just a little ways south of you. It looks like you are using Langstroth boxes but managing them Warre style. If you haven't yet, then download Bee Keeping for All from Abbe Warre (you can find free PDFs) and read it.

    I started using quilts four years ago on some of my Langstroth hives. I have not yet lost a Langstroth hive over winter that had a quilt box on it. In the fall I put a thin canvas over the frames on the top box and the bees will usually propolize it. I figure that gives them a chance to regulate the air flow through the quilt. Since you're using an upper entrance that may not be practical for you. I wouldn't close up the bottom entrance completely, leave a bee size opening. There are others on the forum who use quilt boxes on Langstroths so you could try posting in the main forum for more advice.

    Treating for mites in my true Warre was a challenge due to equipment compatibility, My Warre has a standard Warre bottom board and there is no way the oxalic acid vaporizer was going to fit in there. I had to shim it up for vaporizing, but that of course means lifting the entire stack, which gets old for multiple treatments with geezer back.

    I also use Apivar strips after I get the supers off, however I've been hesitant to just put Apivar in the Warre because of the crush and strain harvesting, maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I understand your concerns in that regard. You could try an OA drip or MAQS. I don't worry about it on my Langstroths because its confined to just the brood boxes and I extract my Langstroth supers.

    I'm a little concerned about nadir stacking all the empty boxes. It still looks like your entrance is at the bottom, so the bees are having to climb a lot. Also in the winter time they will have a lot of extra space to heat. My recommendation here is to find a different place to keep the empty boxes. I have a bottom board that I stack everything on with a cover on top. It keeps the insides dry and maybe a swarm will move in some day.
    Thanks for the comments. I have two shims on top and the bottom of the top shim is where the screen is. This creates space below that and the next box down for the upper entrances and also a place to feed them dry sugar. As I said, my only hive that survived was in that config (it also was the only one that was foundationless). Good confirmation for me on your experience with the quilt boxes. It is very easy to check for mites now since the shim on the bottom board has a 3/4" cutout above the normal 3/8' opening. I can slide stuff in and out real easy. I did my first might check yesterday with the sticky board and the short hive only had 2 mites but the large had 15. Also did the sugar roll test on saturday and the short one had 3-mites but the large had 15. Both tests indicate that the taller hive needs treatment. I think I'm going to gamble and just do the powdered sugar treatment. I bought a removable piece of plastic board I will cut to fit the full bottom board and I should be able to easily remove the sugar that drops on it. If I get a little tilt to it, I could even take a hose and wash it out if I'm careful. My bees have propolized the edges of the upper screens but not in the middle. I plan on only using the upper entrances in the winter so they won't have far to go and I won't have to worry about mice or snow. I think the bees only heat up the area right around them and above so I don't think putting boxes below them should be a problem (I hope). I think I'm going to still leave them there based on that reasoning. Thanks again for your comments. I may try some not so strong essential oils also for the mites.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    1,561

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    ... It looks like you are using Langstroth boxes but managing them Warre style.
    Just wanted to comment that - if we take away the copious details of Warre's method, stand back and analyse it's foundations - then what remains is the basic principle of a small footprint 'chimney-style' beehive. Although I adopted Roger Delon's alternative methodology (fully sealed and heavily insulated top with bottom entrance) during the short time I ran Warre hives - a methodology I continue to use with all my vertical hives - it became very clear to me that bees really do thrive within such a tall and narrow beehive format.

    It can be no coincidence then, that on another thread this morning someone is proposing that a '5 over 5 over 5' format may be preferable for the over-wintering of a developed nucleus colony, than the alternative '8 over 8'. It would appear then, that there is a growing recognition that the narrow chimney-style format, whilst perhaps not being the greatest for honey production (?), does indeed provide optimal conditions for the winter survival of smaller colonies.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    1,913

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    I only know of one side by side trial, and I don't draw that conclusion from it's resluts

    In the winter of 2015/2016, I compared multiple equipment styles. I overwintered 86 colonies in
    five different styles of equipment: Full size hives (n=8), single 10-Frame deep boxes (n=15),
    double side-by side deep boxes (n=12), four frame towers (n=38), and Styrofoam 5-frame nuc
    boxes (n=11). The nucs were started within a few weeks of each other from the end of July
    through the beginning of August, with most made the first week of August. They were made with 5
    frames of bees, 2-3 brood frames and had queen cells from the same mother queen.
    All of the equipment for the study was purchased from Betterbee.
    - Double deeps: Based of the system championed by Michael Palmer, these had 2
    colonies in the same volume of a double deep hive. The bottom deep was divided,
    each with a 4-frame nuc above it (purchased from BetterBee)
    - Full hives were colonies that I got ready for winter in standard fashion.
    - 4 Frame towers were similar in dimension as the double deeps, but were stacked
    according to need – 2 deeps or a deep and a medium or 3 mediums
    - Single deeps- the 5 frame nuc was put into 10-frame equipment, with the edges filled
    with foundation or drawn comb. A spacer with an upper entrance was added under
    the inner cover.
    - Styrofoam nucs – Insulated 5-frame nuc boxes (purchased from BetterBee).
    In year 1, I had better survival in my nucs than my full size hives with their old queens. The
    greatest survival was in the single deep hives (87%), followed closely by the Styrofoam nucs
    (82%). The double deeps, 4-frame towers, and full sized hives had similar rates (67%, 68%, and
    63%, respectively.

    Milbrath 2017
    https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...leFallNucs.pdf

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    ...it became very clear to me that bees really do thrive within such a tall and narrow beehive format.
    I think so too. Although I've only operated my Warre for two seasons, in both summers the hive populations have just boomed. The Warre bees have also been the best behaved bees, including this summer, when it is housing a swarm that includes a queen that was one of my more temperamental hives last summer. The narrow chimney just seems to make them happier. Almost like maybe that is how they evolved .

    The equipment compatibility is a big issue however. I've transitioned from 10 frame to 8 frame Langstroths primarily because I'm not 17 anymore and the boxes are a lot heavier than they were back then. Four seasons ago I started mixing in 8 frame gear and I haven't yet lost an 8 frame hive over winter.

    Although I adopted Roger Delon's alternative methodology (fully sealed and heavily insulated top with bottom entrance) during the short time I ran Warre hives - a methodology I continue to use with all my vertical hives
    I think this is a very interesting comment. I've been toying with the idea of making a winter cover board that has a sheet of clear perspex in it with fondant space below and then putting a 2" foam insert inside over the perspex, with the telescoping cover on top. Its an idea I got from a Finnish Honey Paw hive. The idea being that one can lift the telescoping cover, peek under the insulation, and see what is happening inside the hive without actually breaking the seal. A fully sealed hive is not something I've ever tried as I have condensation concerns that I've posted about before.
    Zone 6B

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,812

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    >it became very clear to me that bees really do thrive within such a tall and narrow beehive format.

    They also thrive in wide squat style hives, like these 12 Frame brood chambers with 11 1/4" deep frames.


  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    3,156

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    I think they do best in 8 frame deeps for brood and medium supers
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    3,277

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    .....It would appear then, that there is a growing recognition that the narrow chimney-style format, whilst perhaps not being the greatest for honey production (?), does indeed provide optimal conditions for the winter survival of smaller colonies.
    LJ
    From my experience, here is a very optimal hive for maintaining small colony (including wintering) - 40-50 liter; 6-7 Ukrainian frames.
    Multi-purpose, portable, single-body hive without many hassles of the Warre.
    Single-bode make transporting a non-issue.
    Yes, this is a "tall" hive, not wide-type and yet works with the standard US frames.
    20160807_135817.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,561

    Default Re: My Warre-type hives

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    >it became very clear to me that bees really do thrive within such a tall and narrow beehive format.

    They also thrive in wide squat style hives, like these 12 Frame brood chambers with 11 1/4" deep frames.
    The context of my post was that of a suitable hive configuration for the overwintering of the smaller nucleus colony, rather than for the larger colony where variations of the Dadant hive work extremely well. I have several 16-frame boxes housing 12" deep combs in which large colonies flourish, but I wouldn't dream of ever over-wintering a nucleus colony in such a large volume hive without dummying-down significantly beforehand - at which point it would cease to be the same large-volume hive, of course !

    I think that Michael Palmer's continued use of paired vertical chimney-style stacks - as someone who relies in part on the winter survival of nucleus colonies for an income - speaks volumes.

    I wouldn't consider housing a really large colony in a Warre-format beehive precisely because of the stack height required to achieve an appropriate volume - unless one favours annual swarming to be desirable (which I personally don't). I have seen pictures of Warre hives so tall that they required guy-ropes to support them, but that certainly isn't my idea of working.

    One other piece of 'evidence' to support my claim that bees have a preference for the narrow chimney-style beehive - is that when conducting his bait-hive volume experiment, Tom Seeley discovered that - when given the choice - the bees actually preferred a real-life chimney to any of the bait-hives on offer. Sure, that was one single occurrence, but failing to follow-up on that event was a scientific opportunity missed, imo.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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