Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Discussion pertaining specifically to hives that fall under the Warre banner.
User avatar
ExpatBeekeeper
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 3:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby ExpatBeekeeper » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:32 pm

I felt it's important to highlight a problem that every Warre owner encounters at one point or another. My first experience of this happened at my very first club meeting when I mentioned that I use Warre hives... "Oh.. We had a member try a Warre hive last season.... Her bees died..." That's the entire statement. Ok, died of what?

Now I wasn't there and can't tell you for sure what killed them, but as with all beekeeping, there is a strong chance of losses no matter which hive design you have. If you assume an average 25% losses each year (for ease of calculations more than anything), then if you have four hives, you're likely to lose one. If you have just one hive the odds escalate that you'll lose your only hive. If there's one thing I've learned from watching all the cutouts and traps outs, it's that bees are comfortable living just about anywhere, even in water meters, if you lose a hive, the chances that the wooden box was to blame is highly unlikely. Causes of the losses might be mites, virus, pesticides, or simply PPM.

Bees die, it's a fact, if you want to stay ahead of the game then looki into expansionist beekeeping, or listen to the podcast on it and establish a safety margin above your baseline. Let's stop looking at boxes for losses and focus on the real issues.
Beekeeper, Meadmaker, Teaboy, and Gopher. Richmond, VA

Nate K
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:42 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Nate K » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:13 pm

I unfortunately have seen this at my local club as well.
If you have topbar hives or Warre hives, you aren't a true beekeeper.. Have yet to figure out why non-Lang beekeepers are ousted like Lepers.

But yes you're exactly right, the box I use may be a little longer or a little taller than yours, but so what? We are all beekeepers and some will die out.
Thats life. Or more accurately death, so make your splits, catch your swarms, and keep expanding.
What's good for the beekeeper, isn't always what's best for the bees.
http://Mylibertyhomestead.com

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby lharder » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:07 pm

I'm a lang user, but think the warre is probably a better dimension than a 10 frame lang especially for overwintering success.

User avatar
ExpatBeekeeper
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 3:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby ExpatBeekeeper » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:48 pm

There's no doubt about it the bees clearly find it easier to control the environment, and the heavier wood (Warre recommended full 1" (24mm) planks), make them more efficient at thermo-insulation.... indeed here are some overwintering stats from one user (used with permission) on the Warre Yahoo group.

I used the Wikipedia energy value for a typical honey of 1272 kJ / 100 g and a winter period of 162 days.
This gives the relationship:

stores consumption = weight loss in kg x 0.91 (Watts)

This gives values in the same order of magnitude as yours (but my assumptions are slightly different). I've not yet recorded a wintering Warré colony as consuming more that 5 kg (or emanating more than 4.5 W)

That winter (2012-2013) the average power output for the three standard Warrés monitored was:
Hive A: 1.91 W
Hive B: 3.12 W
Hive C: 4.21 W

How about a lighting analogy:

Wooden Langstroth/National = old tungsten filament bulb
poly national = halogen spotlight
Warré hive = fluorescent bulb
hollow tree ( 5 inch thick walls etc) = LED bulb?
Beekeeper, Meadmaker, Teaboy, and Gopher. Richmond, VA

User avatar
ExpatBeekeeper
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 3:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby ExpatBeekeeper » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:57 pm

Also, I'd like to call bovine scatology on another widely spread myth about the Warre. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this one...

"Obviously the bees won't produce as much honey in a Warre as they do in a Lang"

As always I'm very keen to receive more information on this theory, but I struggle to see how they'd produce any less honey due to the box they live in? Assuming an equal amount of space is available, and similar management methods are used (nadiring, no foundation, etc), I fail to see the correlation.

If I'm off the mark I'm happy to be corrected.

Cheers.
Beekeeper, Meadmaker, Teaboy, and Gopher. Richmond, VA

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:27 am

You get the same treatment just be being treatment free. If your bees die, it's because you didn't treat. If you treated and your bees died, oh well, you did what you could. The fact is, there is a good chance that when you treat and your bees die, you DID cause them to die...
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby lharder » Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:32 am

I make my langs out of 2 by 8's. 1.5 inches thick. I'm curious about overwintering with these. I'm sure a Warre could be made out of this as well. I found some true 1 inch material to make nucs. Really nice boxes. I'm thinking hard about the idea of 8 frame lang boxes.

waspkiller
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 5:13 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby waspkiller » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:26 am

ExpatBeekeeper wrote: I struggle to see how they'd produce any less honey due to the box they live in? Assuming an equal amount of space is available, and similar management methods are used (nadiring, no foundation, etc), I fail to see the correlation.

In an area with only modest honey production a Warre hive might be able to keep up. But not if there is a heavy flow. That's because the bees in a Warre hive, if large amounts of honey start pouring in, the bees have to wait for the brood to hatch so they can move the broodnest downwards so they can store the honey above. Since brood takes 3 weeks this can waste a lot of time. The bees might store honey below the brood nest but they don't like it and it will also mess up moving the broodnest down, under these conditions they will not store at maximum. In a Langstroth, supers are added above which suite the bees perfectly, the brood nest stays where it is and the bees fill up the overhead supers to their hearts content, it fits with the bees natural urges to put as much honey as possible overhead and they are not restricted. The comb foundation used in most Langs let's the bees get straight to work in any boxes added.

The reason Warre hives, and management system, are designed the way they are is that Emile was in an area with only modest honey harvests so the Warre hive worked for that, but also the people were small semi subsistence farmers who typically had a small holding with a few cows, sheep, vegetables, chickens, etc, and possibly bees. Not all these people were inclined to want to build the whole gamut of skills needed to be expert beekeepers so Emile designed something easy to build with an easy management system. Which is why it's called the peoples hive. The hive is just easy to make boxes with a roof and a floor, any French farmer could make it. The management system was to put new boxes underneath, so that people with little bee knowledge would not be wrestling with putting foundationless boxes on top and trying to get the bees up the empty space, the new boxes go underneath so in a foundationless box the bees could extend their combs down there when they were ready and it didn't matter much if the beekeeper timed it wrong and put the box on before the bees were ready to use it.

So a person with almost no skills could use this hive reasonably well and get a honey crop, where the same person could struggle with a langstroth, both in building it and in running it. The Warre may not give the ultimate honey harvest, but if those people were using Langs they might have done even worse, especially relative to cost of the equipment.

Nate K
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:42 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Nate K » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:05 pm

lharder wrote:I make my langs out of 2 by 8's. 1.5 inches thick. I'm curious about overwintering with these. I'm sure a Warre could be made out of this as well. I found some true 1 inch material to make nucs. Really nice boxes. I'm thinking hard about the idea of 8 frame lang boxes.


Man thats some weight, what does one of those weigh?
What's good for the beekeeper, isn't always what's best for the bees.
http://Mylibertyhomestead.com

Ryan D
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:17 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Ryan D » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:17 pm

New beekeeper question: What would happen if you tried to add a box to the top of a Warre hive? I assume there must be some undesirable consequences....?

Chuck Jachens
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 2:04 am
Location: Rescue, CA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Chuck Jachens » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:12 pm

First a little history, in the book "Beekeeping For All" by Abbé Warré: "Put a super on this hive? This was to fall back into the mistake attributed to the Dadant hive; time wasting and chilling the brood. In our case there was another disadvantage too. We had observed that the bees ascend with difficulty into supers placed above deep frames, because there remains a little honey at the top of these frames. And bees cross over honey with difficulty"

Putting a box on the top wont hurt anything but Abbé Warré thought the bees built comb more naturally in a downward progression. The newest comb was just a continuation of the old comb. I think it closely mimics a hive in a hollowed out tree. Abbé Warré also thought to harvest the oldest comb which was at the top was a good thing. Today, we know that the oldest comb is most likely to have residual diseases and chemicals so Abbé Warré was forward thinking in this regard.

The meat of the philosophy behind the Warré hive can be found on a dozen or so pages in the middle of Abbé Warré's book. The book can downloaded and read from many places on the internet. Check out http://bees.library.cornell.edu/ for this and other bee keeping references.

Ryan D
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:17 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Ryan D » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:22 am

Chuck Jachens wrote:a little history

Thanks Chuck. The Warre method sounds interesting. I've heard people say they like the Warre as a more "natural" hive/method. Now I am begining to understand what they mean.

waspkiller
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 5:13 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby waspkiller » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:54 pm

Ryan D wrote:New beekeeper question: What would happen if you tried to add a box to the top of a Warre hive? I assume there must be some undesirable consequences....?
It can be done and is actually recommended if there is a good nectar flow, you will get more honey that way.

But there is a trick to it. If you put an empty box on top, no comb or comb foundation, the bees just see an empty gap above them and may never break their cluster to move up to the top of the new box from where they can start building combs downwards. So to solve this problem, if you add a box on top, you have to, one way or another, have a comb or two in there that reach all the way to the bottom of the new box and will be in contact with the bee cluster. The bees don't have to break cluster to work these combs so will start on them and work their way up to the top of the box from where they will start building more combs. These bridging combs should be in the middle of the new box, where the most bees are ready to start using them.

To do this you may be able to remove a comb or two from a different box. I believe Emile himself had a section in his book about top supering. But as you can see, it is a little bit more complex than bottom supering (nadiring, in French), so that's why he mainly went with undersupering it's more idiot proof. But if you want to increase you skillset and capabilities, yes, give this a try and reap the benefits. It's what I ended up doing quite a bit.

For purists who want to manage the hive exactly as per the basic Warre method, when placing a box underneath the hive should not be broken, the whole thing should be lifted in it's entirety so as not to disturb the cluster. As recommended by Emile. The weight lifting involved in this would require either a team of Monks like Emile had at his disposal, or an insanely strong backbone and supersized muscles. Top supering avoids all this and can be done quite easily by an averagely built guy like myself.

lharder
Hobbyist
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 6:36 pm
Location: Kamloops, BC

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby lharder » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:38 pm

Hey Nate:

No idea about weight (2 by 8 boxes). OK just weighed one. About 8 pounds.

Hill Top
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:41 pm
Location: Abilene TX

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Hill Top » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:45 am

I like my Warre hive's. They seem really easy to manage to me. You can add a box on top if needed and works well if you want cut comb honey with a pristine comb. However the beauty of the warre is the built in comb rotation with I think keeps the bee's healthier by cycling out any old comb. Look on beesource and theres a guy who post on there under the warre group who is a small commercial beek who uses warre which he makes frames for. I made a small lift from a trailer jack so under supering or nadiring is no problem. Individual boxes of honey weigh about 30 lbs. Warre was a commercial beek and did want to make money as well as honey. I've not seen heavy flows as a problem at all.

User avatar
trili
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:50 pm
Location: Placerville, CA

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby trili » Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:12 pm

ExpatBeekeeper wrote:Also, I'd like to call bovine scatology on another widely spread myth about the Warre. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this one...

"Obviously the bees won't produce as much honey in a Warre as they do in a Lang"

As always I'm very keen to receive more information on this theory, but I struggle to see how they'd produce any less honey due to the box they live in? Assuming an equal amount of space is available, and similar management methods are used (nadiring, no foundation, etc), I fail to see the correlation.

If I'm off the mark I'm happy to be corrected.

Cheers.

My Warre boxes are smaller than the Langs, in depth and with, and only 8 bars each, it would seem that they would hold less honey stores (each box). This could be made up by the number of boxes added. I have 4 colonies, 2 langs (pkg spring 2014 and split), 1 Warre pkg (4/2015), 1 top bar (pkg 4/2015). It is really hard for me to compare productivity, but I think from observation alone that the top bar colony was growing and storing the fastest (just had a bear mess up my top bar so this obs was prior to the destruction).

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby moebees » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:54 pm

Bees certainly live in all kinds of places and survive. The box you put them in is usually not the reason they die. But nonetheless thermo regulation is very important. And I don't just mean in overwintering. During spring summer and fall bees kept in well insulated hives will fly at lower outside temperatures. I don't think anyone knows why for sure but one theory is that they are able to because fewer bees are needed to keep brood warm. Some have observed better hygiene in more insulated hives. Others in the UK have noted a lack of hum in polystyrene hives on cool nights presumably because the hive is better insulated. I know one thing. Langstroth hives suck for insulation. I recently was watching a youtube video of someone inspecting and 8 frame two deep hive that is sitting in a field with no shade at any time during the day. The queen was laying in the top box but only on the east side and the four frames on the west side were packed with capped honey. Not a normal pattern. Why? I believe they could not keep the hive cool in the afternoon west sun so they packed if full of honey for insulation and put brood right up against the side on the east side. Bees that are wasting energy doing that are less productive than if they are in an adequately insulated hive. The object of the exercise is for us to provide them with the best conditions. Not see how crappy a house we can give them and still get by.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:45 pm

> "Oh.. We had a member try a Warre hive last season.... Her bees died..."

I'v been thinking about this because of responses to all kinds of things like foundationless, not treating etc. It's very much like someone saying "I drove a car once and it wrecked". Yes, but I've been driving cars since 1970 and none of them wrecked... so what does that mean exactly? You tried foundationless and the bees messed it up. You tried it how? Just frames with no foundation? How did you space the frames? What did you use for a comb guide? Did you check on them early on to make sure they got started correctly? Someone did a Warre and their bees died. Has anyone try a Langstroth hive and their bees died? Success and failure is all in the details. It is not in the broad general things like what kind of box the bees were in.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby moebees » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:14 pm

Someone did a Warre and their bees died. Has anyone try a Langstroth hive and their bees died? Success and failure is all in the details. It is not in the broad general things like what kind of box the bees were in.


Agreed. If I started and hive and it died I would not assume it was caused by the box I put them in if it is a kind of box that thousands of beekeepers have been using for a hundred years or more! If it did have something to do with the box then I must have misused the box in someway. Boxes don't kill bees unless you set them on them.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

User avatar
Michael Bush
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am
Location: Nehawka, Nebraska
Contact:

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:05 pm

>Boxes don't kill bees unless you set them on them.

I like that. Can I quote you?

"Boxes don't kill bees unless you set them on them."--???
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby moebees » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:04 pm

I would be honored if Michael Bush quoted me. :)
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

Imker Ingo
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:30 pm
Location: Newport, Wales, UK

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Imker Ingo » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:15 pm

Apicentric beekeeping in my opinion relies on doing lots of little things to support our colonies. The theory of success by marginal gains, which has helped the British cyclists achieve Olympic Gold so consistently.
The advantages of a Warre are:
Quilt and minimal hive disturbances ( Warre only inspected twice a year ), thus preserving the hive microclimate and atmosphere ( in German called Nestdunftwaermebingung ). The "Bien" can thus control intrahive CO2, airflow ( build natural comb and cross-comb ) and humidity, factors all important in bee health and probable Varroa reduction. It also allows the return of good commensalism including non- harmful mites.
The dimensions of the hive 30x 30 cm are said to mimic a natural tree cavity.
Increased wall thickness reduces heat loss.
A circular hive is even more suitable as there are no cold spots.
David Heaf from Wales UK has translated Ware's book into English and also written a very good book on the People's hive which I can recommend. He is the Warre expert in the UK, he has a very good Warre group on Yahoo
I have started 2 Warres this year, both from swarms and so far bees are healthy, hardworking and calm. I shall be adding quilts to my 3 British National hives this winter.

User avatar
SiWolKe
Hobbyist
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am
Location: South Germany

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby SiWolKe » Sat May 06, 2017 7:12 pm

Hi to all warré users!

The warré hive of one of my group members throwed a swarm yesterday and he gave it for free to one of our co-workers who had high losses this winter.

This group member is the only one I know who multiplies via swarming, that means, he let´s his hives swarm and catches the swarms, if possible.

So, we others visited to see, or better hear the swarm ( it gave good sound in the box) and talk about that method.

So far he treated his colonies once with thymol in late summer and once with OA in winter brood break but now wants to try tf.

He has small colonies mostly which almost every year throw a swarm. One of these he wants to lodge into a hollow tree.
Picts :
Attachments
6.6.2017 G8.jpg
6.6.2017 G8.jpg (134.22 KiB) Viewed 1207 times
6.6.2017 G6.jpg
6.6.2017 G6.jpg (154.96 KiB) Viewed 1207 times
6.6.2017 G5.jpg
6.6.2017 G5.jpg (143.45 KiB) Viewed 1207 times
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

Imker Ingo
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:30 pm
Location: Newport, Wales, UK

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Imker Ingo » Thu May 18, 2017 5:32 am

Nice fotos, thanks for sharing.

Varroa Apiary
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:18 pm
Location: Poland

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Varroa Apiary » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:40 am

Feral bees in Warre hive alone in polish forest. Enjoy it. The one family that survive last spring in my apiary.
The voice in in polish but still You have a picture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLD8eXaXIz0

User avatar
SiWolKe
Hobbyist
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:36 am
Location: South Germany

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:37 pm

Very nice, thanks, VA.
That our tools on top?
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

Varroa Apiary
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:18 pm
Location: Poland

Re: Starting with Warre Hives and Colony Losses

Postby Varroa Apiary » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:14 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Very nice, thanks, VA.
That our tools on top?


Yes


Return to “Warre”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest