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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking into a first hive and I like the simple Warre idea but suppliers around here only do Langstroths. Is there a reason I can't just buy Lang boxes and put top bars in them for comb production?
 

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If you just put in top bars the bees will join the comb to the side of the box, and it must be cut loose to remove the comb. The bees will often cross comb, drawing the comb not along the underneath of the top bar, but across several if not all top bars.

Warre hives are not as popular as Langstroth Hives for many reasons. If you are serious about becoming a beekeeper, purchase the Langstroth.

You should enter your state in the location box, it helps to know that information when making a recommendation. Beekeeping requirements often vary greatly from state to state.
 

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Warre hives are not as popular as Langstroth Hives for many reasons. If you are serious about becoming a beekeeper, purchase the Langstroth.
.

What you can do is use Langstroth boxes and frames and go natural cell, also known as foundationless.

The natural combs will be weak until the bees attach them to the bottom bar. And yes they will go cross comb. An answer to that is keep the hives level side to side. One can also use some purchased combs (plastic?) in the boxes as guides to get the bees building their combs in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Renton,wa. I don't mind the occasional cross comb. If rather have a natural environment where they make their own comb plus I'd get wax from it. She was thinking of the flow hive but I'm not a fan based on some feedback I've seen online. Plus it's plastic and even if it is good plastic, I imagine those things breaking and they're pricey. I like the idea but you'd still have to open and inspect them to make sure they are capped off
 

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Your state (Washington) beekeeping regulations require that you keep bees in a hive that has movable comb. That means that even if you keep a Warre style hive you must use a modified Warre with frames. I kept a Warre for a while and I found that equipment compatibility caused no end of headaches. You may as well do a Langstroth. There are only seven or eight states that do not stipulate that you keep bees in a hive the supports movable comb. There are also some significant advantages to frames.


Instead of using foundation you can place a starter strip on the top of the frame and let the bees build natural comb. When going foundationless I do recommend you string fishing line or wire in the frame or insert bamboo skewers across the frame to reinforce the comb. You can also get, or make gabled roofs for your Langstrogh hives if you want the garden style hive look of a Warre as well as you could use 8 frame Langstroths (very common and easy to get).

Edit:
Here are some of the regulations for your county (take note of the movable frame requirement) and your city (take note of the hive placement regulations).

Edit 2:
If you'll go up to the very top of the forum page, you'll see a link called Settings. Click Settings. On the settings page over on the left hand side of the page you'll see Edit Profile. Go there and put in your location and also while you are there put in your USDA agricultural zone. To find your USDA zone go here https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/ and enter your zip code. Having both your location and your climate zone will help you get much better information from the forum.
 

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Looking into a first hive and I like the simple Warre idea but suppliers around here only do Langstroths. Is there a reason I can't just buy Lang boxes and put top bars in them for comb production?
Well, you could - but that would then be a foundationless 'Langstroth' Hive (or more correctly a Langstroth-Root or Langstroth-Root-Heddon Hive), but not a Warre.

Because - the principle difference between the two hive designs you mention is the length of the Top Bar, which determines both the shape of the hive's footprint AND indirectly it's volume, and thus it's height, and - far more importantly - determines the shape of the comb it supports.

The size of a 10-frame Langstroth Box is around 18" x 14" (inside measurement), whereas the Warre cavity is 12" x 12" - a huge difference - which results in one hive having wide, relatively shallow 'landscape-format' combs, the other having narrower and deeper 'portrait-format' combs, which are considered by many to be a more desirable shape.

I have uncovered evidence that later in his life Langstroth was considering changing towards a narrower and deeper format, but by that time the size that we see today had become firmly established. I've also found anecdotal evidence that around 1858 he supplied hives with frames strung across the short dimension of what has become known as his 10-frame brood box - those frames were known as 'short Langstroth frames', and had dimensions of 12 1/4 inches long by 10 1/2 inches deep. So 12 inches or thereabouts just keeps reappearing as a hive dimension - being also the size of the classic 12x12x12 American (pre-Langstroth) Box Hive, as well as the Warre.

Have you considered making your own Warre Hive ?
LJ
 

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I would definately start with a Lang. If you want to try something else later, that's great, but Lang guidance and ecompatible equipment is quite a bit easier to find than Warre or others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm in unincorporated King county so we have pretty lax regs. So far I like all the feedback. Looks like it's gonna be a Lang and foundationless. She wanted a flow but I'll see if I can sway her. As an experiment a future box can be flow.
 

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I have a flow hive, it is very difficult to inspect and yes you still need to inspect before harvest. One thing I will say is that it is very strong. Just today I unburied it under a pile of poorly stored equipment. The frames were in their side and had several other boxes directly on the frames. No damage at all. All that said I don’t recommend a flow hive. We only use it when we are in a jam.
 

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I'm in unincorporated King county so we have pretty lax regs.
You may have lax enforcement. That is something different. Its also typical as most apiary inspectors are underpaid (some are volunteer) and over-loaded. It looks like WA state law requires you to register as a beekeeper and there is a fine for failure to register. Make sure you check out the regulations.
 

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"...Warre hives are not as popular as Langstroth Hives for many reasons. If you are serious about becoming a beekeeper, purchase the Langstroth."

If you explore the Warre forum(s) you will find very serious beekeepers, whose focus is beekeeping in all its aspects. Your comment is narrow, unfair and unhelpful for those who are considering bee hive options. I think you meant, "...not as popular (in the US).

Earl Butz, US Secretary of Agriculture in the 70s said, "Go big or go home" and the result is monoculture, big farms and less about a balanced ecosystem, and surely less about the bees.

Experience and wisdom comes from doing many different things, many ways, over 42+ years, not doing the same thing over and over again, for over 42+ years.
 

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........
Have you considered making your own Warre Hive ?
LJ
LJ, surely many people had the same idea that late Langstroth finally came to.

This old man did not give a hoot of the so-called "standards" and built a hive to fit himself after developing a hernia - modernized Warre.
Though mine will be for a smaller frame still.

No need to repeat obsolete designs either (i.e. frame-less) - take the best of everything.
20+ years running this design.
(English subs are available)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsNk5JoKECM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENFLNr3yfAE
 

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Greg, what sizes are you using?
This is me speaking of my planned summer project - Compact Vertical Hive (CVH).

My own standard frame will be shortened Lang medium - 12.5" x 6.25".

The first experimental boxes will be from modified 10-frame Land medium boxes (since I got many of these to destroy in any way I see fit).
Makes sense to work out a way to retro-fit Lang boxes as they are laying around in hips for ~free or very cheep.

Should nominally fit 9 frames cold way or 9 frames warm way (either way should work).
I prefer frames to be the warm way.

9 shortened Lang med frames ~ 6 standard Lang med frames == very manageable weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The suppliers in my area seem to make a lot of Langs so I'll go with that. Probably a 10 framer for more honey. I'm young and strong so I can deal with the weight for now. Most seem to be selling them as 2 deep and 2 medium or a pattern similar to that. so I'm assuming I'll need deeps for the brood and you save weight with the mediums.
 

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I like the boxes and frames to be all the same size. It's easker to know what equipment I'll need to take to the yard and it's easier to move frames around to get comb drawn, honey out of brood nest, brood out of honey. Also, a 10 frame deep is easy to put on the hive empty but at 80-100# can be difficult for 1 person, me, to pull off from shoulder height, and about impossible to put on. (So far we have been using bee escapes to clear supers for harvest in July which means pulling the nice off, adding escape board, and putting the boxes back on. I don't have a crane but need one when I am working alone, which is most of the time, and come across a high deep....)
You can keep an eye on warre comb drawing to get it straight enough to have removable frames. But, since you normally add space on the bottom and cut honey out this becomes a cumbersome prospect in the future.... I'd go with langs and make it as natural as you can/want. The bees overwinter fine on medium deapth comb.... Good luck!
 

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I believe a first and fundamental question should always be are you going to be a hobbyist or commercial beekeeper. You'll notice advice given as if everyone is strictly looking to be a commercial keeper with hundreds of hives. That simply doesn't apply to all and the appropriate tools/methods are not the same. If you're doing this alone or having some fun in retirement, you will most likely not want to strain your back or hurt yourself proving you can still lift an 80-lb box.

1: I'm one the backyard/hobby scale. I came out of winter with three out of five hives alive. I now have eight hives going. Three new NUCs from splits off of one hive and two from swarms.

2: I'm 54 yrs old, got a full-time job and two little girls that take my valuable time. I have no intention of trying to run a commercial operation and do not subscribe to the one-size commercial size fits all mentality.

3: I've got four(4) 10-frame Langstroths, one(1) five frame deep NUC, two(2) five frame medium NUCS I built for queen rearing, a 15-frame Layens hive I made.

4: I like to "fix" things whether they need it or not. I've got a seven frame Layens hive NUC ready to start. I put two Layens frames into my backyard three medium resource hive to be drawn out and laid full by that queen. I'll take a gorgeous new dark queen from one of my NUCs and put her in there. Then either let them raise another queen or do a newspaper combine with the other NUC to keep a queen on reserve is needed throughout the year. I'm also building a new 8-frame medium Langstroth out of 2" (1 1/2") untreated fir. I'll also insulate the top of it as I've began to do on all my hives. Next up will be another 21-frame Layens hive.

As you see, I like to experiment and not let others tell me I have to do what they've done so they don't feel like they're not doing something as well as they could. I let them do what they want and I do what I want.

Another big question: do you have the ability to build your own gear or not? If not, they you need to buy what's readily available. I like to support my local supply stores, but I will not be bound to what they carry. If you want 8-frame mediums for weight and interchangeability then simply order that equipment from Mann Lake or others if it's not available. For myself, I'm hoping the Layens hives turn out good. I'm not trying to setup a stand at the local farmer's market. My honey is for myself. I don't need a ton or so a year to make the operation financially viable.

IF you can build your own, take a look at the link here. Once the hive is setup, no more lifting. I'm only on my second year with the Layens hive but I can certainly say those bees are much more gentile to work that the Langstroth bees. I don't have to take their house completely apart to inspect them.

https://horizontalhive.com/

I also highly recommend putting 1" insulation (from Lowes/Home Depot) into the top cover of your hives. I think that really helps reduce condensation in the winter and keeps them cooler in the summer.

There's my two cents. With inflation, you're getting your money's worth.

Take care,
Terry

Northern Virginia, zone 7a
 

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..... But, since you normally add space on the bottom and cut honey out this becomes a cumbersome prospect in the future....
To clarify - no one needs to follow that clunky idea of "adding on the bottom" however "natural" it may sound.
Unnecessary hassle for the human side and a disaster/injury waiting to happen.

Add on the top and be done.
This applies to any hive, be it a Warre, what not.
Practice has shown that small boxes added on the top get utilized very, very quickly.
 

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I believe a first and fundamental question should always be are you going to be a hobbyist or commercial beekeeper. ......
Aside from the details - +1.

Before you get into this "beekeeping" thing - ask yourself what is it YOU want and what is your OWN situation?
The "beekeeping" thing is not universally about producing tons of honey and dumping it wholesale - only for very few this is true.

Are you a professional biker who trains for the next Tour de France?
Or are you an aged, not entirely healthy, occasional weekend rider?

The goals and the equipment requirements are worlds apart.
The same old biking and yet very much different.
 

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Mendozer, if you are looking to go "natural" go with a foundationless Langstroth. The wax will be new and as untainted as you can get in your area. I really like top bar hives and have several of those and a bunch of Langstroth hives too. However, if you want to succeed as a beginning beekeeper, going with plastic foundation is the way to go. Fewer things can go wrong when using it and as a beginner, when things go wrong, it is doubtful you will have the experience to know it before everything goes really far south on you. There is a reason plastic foundation is the king in beginning beekeeping kits. Once you have experience and have tasted success, you will have a much easier time making the change to foundationless.
 
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