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Author Topic: Warre VS Langstroth  (Read 10249 times)
Shawn
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« on: February 20, 2011, 08:44:12 PM »

Another beek told me I should look into a Warre hive due to I want more comb honey than extracted honey. To me a Warre Hive is like the Langstroth that is foundationless. Is that correct? If so than why do people want the Warre Hive when you cant look in on them very much, you can not control where they build, and you take a risk of comb falling and possibly getting the queen when you take off a box. Im up for anything but I just have these questions. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 10:38:51 PM »

My reasons for using a top bar hive are to have a horizontal hive (no lifting) that is easy and cheap to build.  My reasons for running a vertical hive are to have a hive that requires less management because I can stack the supers on at the beginning of the flow and come back and harvest.

The other reasons for a warre are pretty much available in a Langstroth by using eight frame boxes (smaller space) and foundationless frames.  Then you have something close to standard and standards are much simpler to live with.
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Michael Bush
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 11:19:33 PM »

My reasons for running a vertical hive are to have a hive that requires less management because I can stack the supers on at the beginning of the flow and come back and harvest.

I've never been clear on this point.  Why does a horizontal hive require more management when it comes to honey harvest?
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 11:29:40 PM »

It requires less actual labor, but more frequent manipulations.  You have a fixed volume to work with so that volume needs to be manages more frequently.  When you can pile on supers, you have a variable volume which you can increase by three or four fold when you want and decrease down to one box if needed.  This gives you more freedom to do only a few manipulations a year rather than once a week in a flow.  A good flow in a place of good forage could max out the space in a small top bar hive in a week.  Failure to manage the space will result in swarming and a large loss of honey.
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Michael Bush
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doug494
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 10:30:17 AM »

Micheal,

I have finished one HTBH and am starting another, both able to fit lang deeps (though cutting the height to mediums later on would be easy).  My main reason for going horizontal is a lack of storage space for empty boxes.

After these two I want to try a vertical.  My thought is to use lang boxes, but with a Warre quilt box and roof for the top.  I am thinking I could store empty boxes between the quilt and the roof.  That way I get to manage the bee space, but the hive stays together, thus eliminating storage.

Do you see any glaring problems with this idea?
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 11:10:16 AM »

To me a Warre Hive is like the Langstroth that is foundationless. Is that correct?

That is a simplistic 50,000 feet view.

Warre's principals go far deeper than just being foundationless.   Box size, frameless, bottom supering,  quilt box and not opening the top of the hive where all key principles to Warre.   If you read his book you will understand his reasoning.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 12:01:10 PM »

The best comb honey I produce comes from stacked 5 frame nuc boxes utilizing foundationless frames.

I would not consider a Warre hive useful for comb honey. First, the whole idea of a Warre hive is the undersupering and other protocol. Undersupering means at least one or two brood cycles will be used in the comb you actually are pulling for comb honey. Not the ideal situation.

And if you over-supering, why even use a Warre hive in the first place. No sense going through the hassles of a Warre hive to accomplish something you can do ten other ways, which also happen to be easier.

The Warre hive is way overhyped.

Here are both the pro and con issues as we have experienced with our own Warre hives.

http://www.bjornapiaries.com/warrehivebeekeeping.html
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 10:19:02 PM by BjornBee » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 02:57:12 PM »

 I don't think the Warre is over hyped.   I think it is frequently mis-understood by people who just breeze through the book or don't read the book but just other quips and comments online.

People seem to get stuck on the hardware of the Warre hive, but as Robo said, it is a system, a combination of hardware and methodology that goes together as a complete package.

Not every hive or every method is going to be "right" for every person working with bees.

Will the Warre fit in to the needs or expectations of most or the majority of beekeepers?  not hardly.

There is a niche of people whose personal values, geographic area, time constraints, purposes for working with bees, etc.. will fit the Warre just fine.  For them, that is enough.  it doesn't have to be popular or the next fad to be useful to those people.

The beauty of beekeeping and the variety of hives, methods, approaches, etc.. to beekeeping is that there is no universal right or wrong over the vast majority of it.

people who don't like it, think it doesn't work for them, whatever, don't have to use it.

if they have a personal agenda to make everyone walk the same road they do, too bad for them.  They can do things the way they choose and you can do things the way you choose.

Read the Warre book for yourself before taking any other persons approval or dis-approval of it and make up your own mind.  it may just be what you are looking for.

or it may not.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 04:07:58 PM »

I agree.

Get a book.

And don't rely on the experiences of others on forums such as this.

After all, that isn't why forums exist anyways....... rolleyes

And I agree with bigbear......the promoters of such equipment are mainly from the groupies who push one sided agendas. You see that all the time with users of certain equipment or other groups of "This is the correct" way of keeping bees and everyone else is wrong. You can usually identify them by the fact that they fail to express their views or experiences once an opinion not aligned with their own viewpoint pops up. They mainly attack the "messenger" of any information they see different then their own. Or they turn it into some convoluted discussion not really answering the original request.


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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 06:04:12 PM »

yes, get a book, is there something wrong with reading the instructions that go with the hive and method.? where better to get first hand information?

forums are filled with all kinds of people, each with opinions and we know what opinions are like, and some of those smell just as bad.  Getting other peoples opinions is fine, but it doesn't outweigh thinking for yourself, unless you're a sheep which some people are obviously happy being.

people promote what they like. they promote what is exciting and interesting to them.  and some people promote things they have a personal interest in, be it financial, influential, etc.. so, regardless of what camp they come from, there are some you simply just can't believe.



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BjornBee
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 06:47:25 PM »

yes, get a book, is there something wrong with reading the instructions that go with the hive and method.? where better to get first hand information?

forums are filled with all kinds of people, each with opinions and we know what opinions are like, and some of those smell just as bad.  Getting other peoples opinions is fine, but it doesn't outweigh thinking for yourself, unless you're a sheep which some people are obviously happy being.

people promote what they like. they promote what is exciting and interesting to them.  and some people promote things they have a personal interest in, be it financial, influential, etc.. so, regardless of what camp they come from, there are some you simply just can't believe.


Ah yes...opinions....agendas..... like in a book?  rolleyes

You trash those on a forum trying to help others by passing on their vast experiences, knowledge and failures. I really don't get it. Your telling others that they should not rely on members on this forum, and it's best to read a book, and experience every trail and tribulation, every success and failure, first hand.

I simply do not get it. Sorry.

Can I ask....why are you here? To stand by and bash others?

Or are you here to tell your story, pass along your experiences, and help others? Of course, I'm sure you see yourself at a far less level that you may call others using terms such as "agenda", etc. I think anyone answering any question as to how to do something is telling an "agenda" in their own way. You and every beekeeper keeping bees passes along their way of doing things and is based on each person's agenda, philosophy, and management view.

Am I pretty close? As soon as someone says something you don't like, you backdoor in some comments about them using terms like "agenda", and make those trying to help on forums such as nothing more than useless chatter.

You really think Warre would not of made a few changes 80 years later after he wrote the original book? Your suggesting that 80 years of beekeepers collective knowledge still is inferior to some book written by some guy that croaked years ago. his book is like all other books....they get outdated and many items become irrelevant. Sorry...Warre was not a God. And he did not have every answer to every problem.


What's next...telling folks that a 1912 ABC-XYZ bee book is the best they can do?

Sorry....I came here to help and lend my experiences. You came here bashing others, and never even stated your own experiences except to state your pessimistic view of others, trash the forum, and tell the poster to "Read a book". Some help...  rolleyes
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 08:24:11 PM »

Mike, to be honest, I have no clue what your problem is.  you love to spout your opinions and comments. you have trashed more people here than anyone  I have seen but you whine the most if anyone dares contradict you.

My only point in the whole thing was that the best way to know what the Warre hive/method is about is to read his book.  A perfectly sensible recommendation.  you are the one who seems to have had a problem with advice to read a book instead of simply taking your word for it.

get over yourself.

you not all that bubba.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 09:51:35 PM »

I don't think the Warre is over hyped.   I think it is frequently mis-understood by people who just breeze through the book or don't read the book but just other quips and comments online.


Directed at me.


if they have a personal agenda to make everyone walk the same road they do, too bad for them.  They can do things the way they choose and you can do things the way you choose.


Give me a break.

I posted my opinion. You come in and right away and start flinging claims of "personal agenda" and stating anyone who does not think as you, that they must not have read or are somehow wrong and misunderstood...things that only apparently you do.

And when someone swings back, you get all righteous and defensive.

And even go as far to call me bubba and claim "I'm not all that" in some two year old type rhetoric.

I stated my opinion. You clearly had a problem with it and went in to attack mode. And when you can't stand on the merit of your own comments, you want to drag in other comments and conversations in yet another jab.

That is how I see it ......Bubba! And that ain't whining. But perhaps you should look in the mirror.  Wink
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Shawn
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2011, 06:12:43 PM »

Ok, thanks for the comments. I think the the only way for me to know if I would like it or not is to try one (or not try one). BjornBee I went to the webiste you posted and looked at the advantages and disadvanatges. I was hoping for some personal experiences kind of like Robo posted in another post of why they like them or why they dont. We can end the thread because I dont like to see people arguing and getting off track.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 07:51:24 AM »

Ok, thanks for the comments. I think the the only way for me to know if I would like it or not is to try one (or not try one). BjornBee I went to the webiste you posted and looked at the advantages and disadvanatges. I was hoping for some personal experiences kind of like Robo posted in another post of why they like them or why they dont. We can end the thread because I dont like to see people arguing and getting off track.

Shawn,
I did base the list of advantages and disadvantages on my own experiences. Maybe that was not clear. Where did you think I got my information.....a book?

Was I going to write a four page detailed account of my first attempt at harvesting honey and needing to use a piano wire to separate the boxes, or how removing each comb was a real mess.....each and every time someone asks a generalized question about a Warre hive? No. But I can see that it was not what you were looking for. Thank you for being gracious and understanding I was trying to help you.

You do have me however completely lost on the personal experiences you give credit to Robo. I see one post from him. And it mentions basically getting a book and reading it. I thought you wanted more than that, so again, I missed the mark completely.

In the end, I probably agree with you that getting one, experiencing it, and finding out what others already know is probably best for you. Start with the book and then move on from there. Who knows....maybe the Warre will be magical in the results that some claim.  grin
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Thymaridas
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2011, 09:43:26 AM »

I like Warre Hives now that I have modified some of Abbe Warre's idea. And I did read the book thoroughly. The ideas that I took away were box size, moisture absorbant quilt, and over-wintering.

Three years I set out to test them and built 5 hives and managed them according to Warre's techniques. I used what I call forced swarms to supply the bees. Basically, I squeezed the bees in 5 8 frame langs to induce the swarm impulse until they started producing swarm cells and moved the old queens to the Warre's and split the langs a couple of times. In the last three years I have found this the best way to populate a Warre, as the Abbe. You really need bees that are ready to work to make a Warre work.

The only change that I made was I put in a vented bottom and flat tops. Summers can get hot here in North Carolina and I felt that the extra ventilation and mite fall through was important. However, come harvest time I found the boxes  at the top very hard to separate. With the under-supering those top boxes remained unmoved from March to September. Over-wintering was as Warre said. They survived wonderfully on fewer stores.

Four of the hives did great and two made it to 5 boxes.

The next year I added 5 more Warre's but running half-frames, and I have managed these using the more traditional lang methods. This works great for me and I now add the Warre boxes instead of langs.

For me the thing that makes most sense is size of the box. It is easier for the bees to heat through the winter which means less stores which means more honey to sell to support my bee habit.

Have fun!
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trentfysty
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2011, 12:54:59 PM »

I grew up working Langs and think that they are a great hive. In my own backyard I have a TBH and Warres. Like others have said there are advantages and disadvantages that I have found when it comes to Warre hives. Let me start with what I like and why.

Likes:
Fewer inspections. I like this because I have a full time job and for me I don't have the time that it takes to manage multiple Langs. The Warre is more of a set it and forget type of hive. I look in on them each day and when needed I add additional boxes. Otherwise I don't do much with the Warre Hives.

Easy to build. I like that I can easily build a Warre hive myself and given that there are no frames it is one of the simplest hives to build yourself.

Overwintering. I have found that the Warre Hives seem to overwinter very well. They don't use as much honey during the winter which allows me to harvest more. Granted I am not doing this to sell the honey but to provide for my family.

Box size. The size of the boxes is easier to manage when full of honey compared to a super. It's easy for my wife to lift a full box of honey from the Warre then to lift a full super. I will talk more about this in my dislikes because the weight factors in differently in other ways with the Warre.

Quilt. The quilt seems to help adjust the moisture of the hive as well as provide good insulation. I haven't put a quilt on a Lang but I would imagine that you could get similar results with a Lang and quilt setup.

Cross Combing. Now some of you might be wondering why I like this about the Warre hives. What I like is that I don't really have to worry if the cross comb. It doesn't matter because I am going to harvest the entire box and I am not doing inspections. Cross comb on a TBH is not good at all and can be stressful for the Beekeeper, with Warres no such worries.

No Frames. It cheaper to make a Warre Top Bar then a Lang Frame. I also like the fact that the bees are drawing their own comb rather then using foundation. Also you get more wax during the honey harvest which I use in my woodworking hobby as well as soap and candles. I will say that you can do foundationless frames in a Lang so not sure this is a huge advantage as it's not unique to a Warre.

Dislikes:

Weight. As I stated above the boxes are smaller and so easier to handle individually but when is comes to adding additional boxes to the Warre the weight is a disadvantage. With a Warre you add boxes to the bottom. The advantage to this is that you don't open the hive and as such preserve the hive heat and scent. Also, it allows the bees to build downward like they would in a natural environment. When you need to add the 4th boxes and so on the hive can be extremely heavy. I had to construct a lift because my wife wasn't able to help me lift the hive. With a Lang you super or add to the top and avoid this issue. Also once you get to 3-4 plus boxes the hive is tall and can be difficult to manage.

Honey Harvest. It is messy since you have to cut the comb out of the boxes. While this isn't a huge issue for me because we are not doing it to make money or on a large scale it is a disadvantage over a Lang. You have to crush the comb and then press it to get the honey out. This requires additional equipment and or time to accomplish. With a Lang you can uncap the frames and extract the honey. Most bee clubs have and extractor so you don't have to own one. Pressing the honey is messy and I think that there is more residual honey left in the wax then by using an extractor with a Lang. I will say that you can use a wire basket on an extractor as Warre suggested in his book. I haven't done this so I can't comment on it but it might make things easier but again requires additional equipment.

Equipment. Given that the majority of beekeeping in the U.S. is done with Langs most of the equipment commercially available is targeted at Langstroth hives. Hive tools, extractors, feeders etc are all mostly geared toward Langs. That requires you to adapt what available or make your own. An example would be a feeder. The entrance to a Warre is too small for a standard entrance feeder. That means you have to make your own or adapt a commercially available feeder to work on a Warre. For me I put a jar feeder inside an empty box in my Warre. It works but is more difficult to refill.

Populating. If you want to populate your Warre buy purchasing bees you will have to go with a package because there are not commercially available nucs that will easily transfer to a Warre. While this isn't a game changer is just means fewer options when populating a hive.

Inspections and Legality. A Warre, unless modified, does not lend itself to regular inspections of the comb. Yes you can turn a box over and look it but it is not nearly as easily done as removing a frame in a Lang and it isn't as effective. If you are used to doing inspections it might be difficult for you to adjust to using a Warre without adding frames to it. Also, since the comb is really not removable without severe damage to the comb it might not be legal in your area to have a fixed comb hive. Again that can be overcome by modifying the hive to accept frames or partial frames.

Support. There are fewer experts on the use of a Warre hive then on the use of Langs. Yes there are forums but when I go to the local club it's difficult to get advice concerning my issues with a Warre as most other club members are using a different hive. This is especially challenging as different climates require different adaptations, management etc. While the forums provide good general advice the shortcoming is that what works in England may not work for me in Colorado and what works for me in Colorado may not work for another Warre Hive keeper in Florida etc. Thus is takes more trail and error to find out what works best in your area.


With all of this said would I give up my Warre Hive? No. I have learned how to manage the hives for my specific needs in my specific area. I am happy to offer advice and help where I can but as with any hive choice you have to decide what you really want and what is most important to you. I have purposely left out any talk of what is more natural for the bees because I find that it really comes down to personal preference. I have tried to cover, from my own personal experiences, what I like and dislike. I am not trying to push one hive type over another because to me they each have their advantages and disadvantages and you have to match those with the individual needs of the beekeeper.

Is the Warre Hive overhyped? In some ways yes and in some ways no. Again, I really don't think that there is a perfect hive. If someone is telling you that one hive is the absolute best bar none then I would question their motivation for telling you that. Warre had his own ideas of what was important to him and he came up with a hive that met the majority of his needs. For me and my back yard hives the Warre works fine. If I was going to produce large amounts of honey to sell and make a profit I would opt for Langs because I feel they are easier to use when needing to produce and harvest large amounts of honey economically. That doesn't mean that the Lang is a better hive than the Warre just that they have their strengths and weaknesses.

I think it is awesome that people are using ideas from all of the different hives out there to make their own. I liked the idea of a quilt and so I added one to my TBH and I feel it makes my TBH that much better. Others are using foundationless frames in Langs that is awesome and seems to be working really well. My feeling is don't be afraid to try something new and different. If it doesn't work at least you have the knowledge gained from trying. If it does work then even better. Beekeeping is full of uncertainties and unknowns. There are not absolutes. Just have fun and enjoy.
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Beeinquiring
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2011, 02:13:24 PM »

Thymaridas,

I am considering building a modified Warre’ hive myself, and for the same reasons you mentioned.  You stated that you now use partial frames and manage in a more Langstroth manner. If you don’t mind could you expound on your adopted management system. Also, why did you settle on partial frames as opposed to full frames? I am also curious about how you extract honey with the partial frames and your success with that endeavor.

Thanks
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Thymaridas
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2011, 07:47:54 PM »

The management practices are really just the standard land frame manipulations. Not much new there.

I decided on half frames because they are easier to build than full frames. The top bars didn't give me the flexibility that I wanted, and when I started their were no inexpensive suppliers of Warre equipment.

I don't extract the honey from my Warres. I cut out all the comb, put it in a cheesecloth bag and sqeeze it in a cider press. I do have a cage that I can put a Warre frame in that is adapted to fit in my extractor, but I don't really do that. I hate extracting honey. I like messing with bees.
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2011, 06:17:40 PM »

Trentfysty,

Thanks for that information.  It was nice to finally get some firsthand experience.  I've used langs and KTBH and had success with both of those.  Over the winter I built a Waare and am waiting on a package to get it started.  In the meantime, I'm having some second thoughts about it, especially when it comes to either requeening or trying to raise queens from it.  Can you even find the queen in a Waare or is the philosophy just to stay out of the way and let the bees replace her when they need to?
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