The Warre' hive is built to resemble as closely as possible a bee's natural home. In nature, honeybees live in the trunks of old trees. The Warre' hive is built with a series of square boxes with top bars on each box for the bees to suspend comb from. The top has a quilt box to provide added insulation and then the roof. The entrance is at the bottom of the hive and the bees are left to build their own comb in each of the boxes.
Warre' recommended harvesting honey in late summer, leaving two full boxes for the bees to use over the winter. In the early spring, two to three empty boxes are placed under the two overwintering boxes for the bees to build in for the summer. This approach means minimal interruptions for the bees and minimal work for the beekeeper.
The place to start is to read Abbe' Warre's Beekeeping for All. This booklet outlines how the Warre' hive differs from other types of hives and provides basic instructions for beekeeping. Warre' called the hive, "The People's Hive" with the idea that every person could easily have one of these hives in their backyard.
We built our hive based on the original Warre' hive instructions utilizing improved construction techniques. We believe that gluing the hive joints and setting them with pocket hole screws gives a safe and strong environment for our bees. The Titebond 3 glue is used sparingly and our bees are not directly exposed to glue. Titebond is used in food cutting board construction and is also certified food safe for adjacent surfaces.
The base variation is considerably stronger than the conventional Warre hive. It is important to keep the beehive up off of the ground to avoid moisture issues. How high depends on where you live and how much moisture you have during wet seasons. In our area, the recommendation is 24-36" to keep the bees away from the moisture during our very wet rainy winters./p>
We also liked their observation windows. We’ve seen them added to various hive configurations and like the fact it allows the bees to do what they do best, but who doesn't want to sneak a peak now and then? Our window is made somewhat differently. The construction of an observation window certainly adds time for completing the hive box, but it seems worth it. Once everything is fitted, the assembly is quite easy.
- Beekeeping for All, by Abbe' Warre': This eBook provides a lot of detail on beekeeping in a Warre hive.
- The Bee Space: This site is a real inspiration for those building a Warre hive.
- Biobees Warre' Beekeeping: Biobees has lots of beekeeping information as well as information on several variations of the Warre' hive.