Warré, Better?
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Thread: Warré, Better?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South San Francisco, CA

    Default Warré, Better?

    Abby Warré readily admitted to a square being less ideal than a cylinder, (although much imprived over a rectangle,) but which was impractical to build. Now we have $129.95 mini table saws. Toolry makes a difference. Still, a square is simple and rugged as compared to an octagon.

    To this end I fitted my square design with corner infills. As this robs volume, it was first increased by the addition of a 9th topbar and accomodating size increase. Eco-mindful of waste, a common 4x4 was split diagonally, and then again. This design used a basic square internal dimension of 12.5"/317.5mm. I use metric well but as a rebel, did americanize it with imoerial dimensioning. Topbar spacing was continuously variable and succeeded well, but has been changed.

    Lumber is "2x" so thickness is 1.5". A standard Warré box will be 14 lbs and mine, 16. But now topbars will be evenly spaced at 1.375"/ 1 3/8" (the most common US spacing,) ~35mm to Warré's 36mm. Basic internal square will be 13" versus the present 12.5, (versus 12" which is close to Warré's 11.81"/300mm.) 18 liters? 5 gallons. 2 boxes make for the american "10 gallon hat," (which, FYI, never actually got past 3 gallons.) The 4x4 may only be split once to create the cirner infills, in this design upgrade, I think. The infills are rebate height so ALL 9 topbars match exactly!

    A sister hive is a nuc, as it were. Same lumber. 10" versus 13" and only 7 topbars. This approaches Seeley & Morses' 1976 "typical tree cavity," where they saw, "up to 8 combs..." which to me says, usually 7 combs.

    This smaller box is easier for small swarms to initially warm. In colder areas, it can drop into the 9bar-box if corner infills (held in by a single screw, each,) are removed, or set atop of the corner infills and topbars of an existing 9-bar [internal-only] octagon.

    It must be said, it will be a very tight fit. Do your best work. Ideally, 1.5" lumber would be planed down 1/16" so there was more clearance. But 9-bar boxes can be unscrewed a bit to de-encapsulate a 7-bar box which could become stuck. Or, a dimension could be altered here or there.

    Seeley and Morses' drawing shows a 6 or 7" thick tree-wall. Wood is about R1 per inch. Near San Francisco, my marine influenced climate does not get "cold," and bees have, untreated, continuously inhabited my 9-bar "octagon," for about 6 seasons.

    Some term this, "bee-having," as opposed to "beekeeping." Ok.

    I have been too busy to harvest, (secondary to me wanting bees in my area after "progress" displaced 4 nurseries and bees...) so they stayed at 3.5 boxes for 5 years. (A few beekeepers have noted that some colonies seem to like this volume and do not tend to swarm.)

    The smaller 7-bar is the result of a desire to have a 2nd hive, and experiment with a "tree cavity sized" version, which ought to grow-down, more quickly, making for harvesting more often, and a hive within a hive, if as an option, it is desired.

    I did have severe DWV the 2nd season. It was hard to watch. Superceedure occured. Almost no DWV since. A study showed that powdered sugar was useful as a census-tool but not useful as a treatment.

    I use 8" foundation strips as guides. The central strips are 1-2" deep, decreasing to almost nothing near the sides. I plan to consider meat-skewer "side frames" about 4-5" long in 8" tall boxes in the 9-bar box size. Box height for the 7-bar design has not beed decided... various thoughts are in play.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Rosebud Missouri

    Default Re: Warré, Better?

    If you have been reading abby warre book, you will find that he was not a big proponent of using thick boards. So his view were not wrapped around being like a tree as much as what effects do things that you do have on a bee.

    Not being critical but just adding to those "various thoughts are in play" that you mentioned.

    zone 5b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    England, UK

    Default Re: Warré, Better?

    Quote Originally Posted by BillSF9c View Post
    Seeley and Morses' drawing shows a 6 or 7" thick tree-wall. Wood is about R1 per inch.
    That particular drawing was representative and intended only to show the overall principles of the relatively few samples found. It was drawn for an academic paper, and was never intended to become a blueprint for the building of beehives.
    As ROB Manley describes in his book 'Honey Farming', some tree cavities are split from top to bottom thus providing next to zero insulation - but the bees inside still manage to survive ok.

    One major problem with rounding the internals of a square hive is that the frames/combs then need to be of unequal length - which is fine for the 'bee-haver' (not my term - don't like it much - but useful in this instance), but not a very practical proposition for the craft of beekeeping.

    If the idea of the importance of hive insulation(*) can be dropped, then square or oblong footprint hives become theoretically realistic again (especially when housing deeper frames) - as the egg-shaped cluster which is formed in cold weather can do so across several combs within such a box: the shape of the box itself becoming fairly irrelevant, although the volume and orientation of it do appear to be relevant factors.

    Before human beings came on the scene, 'natural' cavities (meaning cavities occurring within the natural world) were few and far between, and so would have been highly desirable for all organisms wishing to get out of the weather: tree-living reptiles and birds, as well as honey-bees.

    (*) Do bear in mind that insulation does not equate to warmth (which is a very common error). Insulation buffers extremes of heat and cold, but doesn't in itself generate either.
    The commonly-held idea that tree cavities were warm, cosy places needs to be judged against the mechanism of their formation, which is either by continuous wet-rot of the heartwood from rain ingress (in the case of cavities at height), or from rising damp in the case of cavities formed at ground level.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Warré, Better?

    "Boxes don't kill bees unless you set them on them."--Aaron Moe
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF


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