Home » Get Started » Which Hive? » Warré

Warré

Other hives:  |National| National 14×12 | WBC | Commercial | Smith | Langstroth | Dadant | Dartington | Beehaus |

Warré

Exploded view of Warré hiveTop bar hives take many forms and their origins date back hundreds of years. The Warré hive is a top bar hive, usually referred to as ‘The People’s Hive’ in France where it was designed by Abbé Émile Warré (1867 – 1951) and described in his book ‘Beekeeping for All’.

As the hive does not use conventional frames like the other hives described so far the calculation of the number of cells available for brood in each hive box is approximate. The National hive figures are given for comparison.

As can be seen from the illustration the Warré hive consists of a tower of identical hive boxes plus floor, top bar cover cloth, quilt and roof.

The usual procedure is to introduce bees into a single box. When more space is required a second box is added below the first, called nadiring. This process can be repeated as often as required.

In each hive box there are eight top bars which are usually supplied with wax comb guides. The 24mm wide bars rest in a rebate cut into the thickness of the hive wall and are spaced 12mm apart.

The cover cloth rests on the bars in the top box and can be of hessian or other breathable cloth. Above the cloth is placed the quilt which is essentially a shallow box with a cloth base and filled with wood shavings, dried leaves etc to act as insulation.

The roof is placed over the quilt but there is no direct passage of air from the hive to the vents in the roof.

Hive data

National

Hive data

Warré

Brood frame

14" x 8½"

Brood box
cross section

300 x 210mm

Super frame

14" x 5½"

Honey box
cross section

300 x 210mm

Frames / brood box

11

Top bars / box

8

Cells / brood box

54,000

Cells / brood box

39,000

Lug length

1½"

Lug length

Approx 1cm

Warré hive data with National for comparison

The essential feature of Warré beekeeping is to reduce disturbance and intervention to a minimum. If a hive box needs to be inspected it can be removed and tilted over with the combs in the vertical plane.

To remove a comb for inspection or honey extraction may require some cutting between walls and comb. Once free, the comb should be lifted gently and placed in a comb holder.

Warré developed his system before Varroa mites arrived in France. The consensus is that long term the bees will adapt to the mite. Mite population can be considerably reduced by artificial swarming techniques and could be further reduced by treatment while the colony is brood-less.

Honey can be collected from brood free combs by using a honey press or other suitable device. The remaining wax is a potentially valuable byproduct.

This hive is not recommended for novices unless an experienced mentor is on hand.

For more information a good starting point would be the Biobees website www.warre.biobees.com/

Other hives:  |National| National 14×12 | WBC | Commercial | Smith | Langstroth | Dadant | Dartington | Beehaus |

Latest updates:
2019 Beginners Course
2019 Membership details

Recent update = Honiton Show

Recent update = Asian hornet page

 

News & Events

Scientists sew trackers to Asian Hornets to find and destroy nests before they kill honeybees
Britain’s beekeepers are turning to technology to prevent aggressive Asian hornets destroying their colonies. In a first successful trial, experts at the University of Exeter attached tracking devices to the backs of the voracious hornets and then followed them back to their nests.
Asian hornet information
The June edition of the BBKA News has extensive information about the Asian hornet threat. In particular, pages 209 and 210 have full colour reproductions of the Asian hornet alert document issued by the Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) for you to cut out and use as your personal guide to identification of this invasive species.
EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
More information can be found at:          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
LATEST ASIAN HORNET WARNING
The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of a single Asian hornet in Lancashire. More information can be found in the Defra Press release:   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-identified-in-lancashire