He wrote an explanatory book of his beekeeping approach, methods and hive design titled "Beekeeping For All". Though he died in , his book, methods and hive design continue to have a following of modern beekeepers seeking an organic and more naturalistic beekeeping experience. It is freely available as a PDF on the internet. He is known for wanting to make beekeeping accessible to the poor in France as a means of becoming self sufficient.
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I loved sitting cross-legged in front of the hive. I enjoyed more than just the honey; I liked having them around though, the honey is great too. Despite some domestication, one might expect that millions of years of evolution may know a thing or two about hive management!
Could there be a better beehive out there? Langstroth hives designed for beekeepers. Working with bees results in less work and happier, healthier colonies. Warre hives are foundationless. The bees draw natural honeycomb on top-bars. Warres hives are classically nadired expanded by adding empty boxes to the bottom. Made possible by smaller boxes, Warre hives take advantage of the bees natural tendency to build from the top-down.
Adding empty boxes to the base of the hive expands the brood nest and allows the hive to grown downwards their natural tendency eaches as the colony expands. The effect is that Warre hives act like a never ending tree-trunk; infinitely growing downwards.
A happy result is that the top boxes fill with honey and no queen excluder is necessary. Honeybees build downwards but reverse their direction in the Winter. While they build comb from top-down, they consume it bottom-up. The effect is that an over-wintering hive will ball together and rise with the heat consuming honey as they go.
Quilt boxes protect the top of Warre hives. Unlike solid roofed langstroth hives, Warre hives have a breathable top box called a quilt. The quilt provided ventilation and insulation from the elements. Honeybees add or remove propolis a stick substance gathered from plants to regulate the airflow and humidity inside the hive. Full disclosure, I kelp honeybees in Warre hives for a few years but abandoned the classic Warre design for a modified Warre that uses standard Langstroth frames. Click here for more information on the Beecentric Hives that I now use.
In either case, it is essential that any method of natural beekeeping works with the nature of these beautiful insects.
Beekeeping with the Warre Hive: The Original Homestead Beehive
Next skip Interference with bees Article 10 of the law of 4 April it is not permitted for any reason to disturb bees in their travel or work; as a result, even in cases of legitimate seizure, hives may be moved only in December, January and February. Accidents Blunders, mischief by neighbours or passers-by can cause accidents which, before the law, might cost the owner of the bees dear. We recommend that all beekeepers take out accident insurance. Beekeeping associations give a complete guarantee for a minimal premium. Melliferous plants On the following page we give a list of melliferous plants which can be cultivated as green or dry forage, or green manure. Lucerne alfalfa , black medick, phacelia, sainfoin.
The following is an assessment of our experiences. Many of which we already utilize in our own operation with other hives. We made the Warre hive exactly as his protocol stated, with a few modifications such as an observation window. Throughout the year, the bees seemed to build up very quickly, and had little problems. We love this concept and management strategy.
Beekeeping For All was made available to the English-speaking world when Pat Cheney and David Heaf translated the text in from the original French. We were particularly excited about how the hive would suit Australian beekeeping conditions. The hive features a number of square wooden boxes of x x mm internal dimensions, which aim to mimic the natural cluster size of Apis mellifera and the natural nesting site for a honeybee colony, that of a tree hollow. Our modified version is slightly larger, and features dimensions of x x mm. The reasons for this are purely practical - the standard timber plank size in Australia is mm.
Natural Beekeeping with Warre Top Bar Hives
Warre Hive and Warre Beekeeping Warre Beekeeping involves the use of a A Warre Beehive which is a vertical top bar hive that is simple to build and easy to use. The cost is about one-third to one-fourth the cost of one standard ten frame Langstroth hive. A Warre pronounced war-ray hive is simple to manage and maintain and incorporates natural beekeeping methods. Also known as tiered or supered top bar hives, a vertical top bar hive is such as the Warre hive is friendly to the bees since they are allowed to draw out their own comb, thereby ensuring a hive environment that is healthier and better suited to their own needs. Characteristics of Warre Beekeeping Warre hives have a simple hive box with no frames.