Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.


warre hive users

This is a group of people who want to learn more about warre hive's.. Share their experiences and knowledge..

Members: 26
Latest Activity: Jul 26, 2019

Discussion Forum

Link for PDF Beekeeping For All- by Emile Warre 2 Replies

Started by Ivy. Last reply by Raymond Espinoza Feb 8, 2015.

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Comment by Rhett Renoud on July 26, 2019 at 6:21am

Kris, I’m glad to hear that your bees are doing well.  Monsoon season isn’t going to hurt the bees.  Sugar syrup is acidic and isn’t an ideal feed, so I wouldn’t use it unless in an emergency situation.  Being in the Albuquerque area, your bees will forage nectar well into October, so you still have plenty of time.  

Also, bearding mostly occurs when the hive is extremely warm and crowded. Since you have an empty third box, your hive is not crowded, hence no bearding.

Keep the updates coming!          

Comment by Kris Price on July 25, 2019 at 10:35pm

Also, my hive is doing awesome in the direct sun, I have a third empty box under the two active boxes, with a screened open bottom, I notice from the viewing window a lot of bees hang out in this shaded ventilated area, rather than beard on the outside.

Comment by Kris Price on July 25, 2019 at 10:13pm

My hive is doing well, top box completely filled with comb, brood, capped honey, second lower box 5 frames of comb built....  bees docile... but as we’re approaching monsoon season, I was wondering if the rains will prevent them from nectar and foraging... making them stressed and using their reserves in summer before fall...  I want a strong fat colony going into fall... so I was thinking that now during monsoons would be a good time to supplement feed, sugar water and pollen patties, internal hive feeders...  I figured robbing can’t occur if every other hive is not flying during rains and it’s still early enough in season for bees to utilize these added stores.  I’m not pulling any honey this year so I am not concerned with syrup tainting honey....  Thoughts? 

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 10, 2019 at 10:03pm

I promised to post this picture and never did.  All of the honey that we took to the New Mexico State Fair came out of Warre Supers!

We took first place in cut comb, first place in liquid honey (taste), and second place (twice) in the chunk comb category.  We had two varieties of chunk comb (light and amber).  According to the judge, we missed first place because we didn't clean the top of the honey.  The top of the honey can't be seen unless you open the jar, but now I know to clean the top (bits of floating wax) after putting in the cut comb.  But hands down, the combs looked beautiful!      

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 10, 2019 at 9:47pm

If all possible, try not to keep your hives in full sun.  As for temperature, if you don't see beading on the outside of your Warre, the temp is probably just fine.  Remember, bees try to keep the hive temperature around 93 - 95 degrees.  The reason why I don't think adding ventilation is necessary in a Warre is because research has shown that too much airflow may interrupt colony communication.  In other words, too much ventilation disturbs the pheromones.   I've heard Michael Bush talk about this very issue.  He says there's a difference between cooling the hive and ventilating the hive.  Bees have to cool the hive which they can do easier when the ventilation is controlled.  In the Warre, the ventilation is controlled.  When you remove the sawdust and drill holes, you no longer have a controlled environment for the bees.  It's a fascinating discussion, really.  Bush even points out that hive openings should be very small.  Apparently research has also shown that multiple entrances have a negative affect on the hive.   

What I've been experimenting with is a variety of insulating materials.  I've seen some people use sawdust that is nearly as fine as sand.  I've seen others use sawdust that looked like garden mulch.  In my opinion, you want a sawdust that is fine enough to have insulating properties but course enough to breathe.  Since I live amongst the ponderosa pines, I've even been using pine needles.  Pine needles, for example, breath better than sawdust that is packed like sand.  So, my suggestion is that you find a material that will insulate your hive, but provide a little better ventilation, but controlled ventilation!         

Comment by Kris Price on June 10, 2019 at 8:08pm

Yep, I see.....  my hives are only one inch thick cedar, with screened bottoms,  but they are in full sun... ( at least this year until the willow tree grows bigger). I have temp. strips on all the boxes viewing windows and I can say that the inside temps are borderline too high.... so I’m taking out the sawdust and I’ll drill a few 1/8 inch holes on the solid mouse board under the roof. ... I’ll replace sawdust in fall...  

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 10, 2019 at 7:10pm

Kris, I think the next question is, are your bees in full sun, partial sun, or mostly shade?  

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 10, 2019 at 6:02pm

I see why there’s some conflict. I don’t think you’ll have problems either way. Personally, I practice leaving the sawdust in place, which I also believe makes the most sense. Honestly, removing sawdust and increasing ventilation is being reactive to the fact that the hive itself lacks thermal properties to keep the bees cool. If hive manufacturers didn’t use such thin boards, there would be a higher thermal value. For example, log homes that uses 10” logs have more thermal value than a home built with 8” logs. Bees survive in their natural habitat (a hollow tree) and do not have ventilation, but they do have better thermal value (insulation). This is why I build my own hives with 4” thick walls. The Warre Store, the last I checked, doesn’t use a full 1” inch board. The minimum that Warre regarded as sufficient was 22 mm; however, he recommended 24 mm for improved insulation. In cold climates, people will use 50 mm or larger. If people in warm climates used 50 mm or larger, they wouldn’t have an overheating problem.

Comment by Kris Price on June 10, 2019 at 5:22pm

That’s what I thought, BUT the Warre store wrote in a recent newsletter that sawdust should be removed in summer...

  • No harmful condensation will occur during the summer months even if all of the insulation is removed from the quilt. In fact, the insulation can cause the hive to overheat during the summer months and should therefore be removed, or at least pushed into the corners so that more heat can escape from the hive during hot weather. Basically, reduce the R-value (amount of insulation) in the quilt when night temperatures are no longer dropping below 50F. If you have a problem with pests (ants, earwigs, etc.) hanging around in the quilt box during the summer months, just remove the sawdust altogether. “

and when i further consulted david heafs book warre natural beekeeping....

he states... in 7.3 ventilation ... that warre was in a cooler climate and that in extreme heat  to aid ventilation  cooling at the top can be created by removing quilt contents.  He even states that drilling 1/8 inch holes in roof mouse board will aid in heat escape with the quilt contents removed. 

Soooo... I’m still not clear on if keeping sawdust in in summer heat is the way to go.

Comment by Rhett Renoud on June 10, 2019 at 4:52pm

Hi, Kris.  Leave the sawdust in the quilt box year round.  Just like in the roof of your home, insulation helps maintain a consistent temperature in the hive.  The sawdust also helps absorb condensation when you have extreme temperature swings and helps maintain the odor in the hive. 


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