Ever since this blog was started, many of you have been asking a lot of great questions. Questions about backyard beekeeping, the Warre Top Bar Hive, how to keep bees naturally…the list goes on!
(By the way, if you have a beekeeping question, checkout the Beekeeping Forums. Those guy’s are awesome!)
After a while, I realized that I was being asked a lot of the same questions over and over. Which is good! It means that you are thinking about how to keep bees in a sustainable manner. I like that! The bees like it too!
So, in order to answer your questions in a better fashion, I packaged a lot of the most common questions in a free Quick Start Guide to Natural Beekeeping.
I need your help to make this Quick Start Guide better. Go grab a copy at http://diybeehive.com and read it. Then, post your thoughts about it in the comment area below.
How did you like it? Did it answer some of your questions? Do I need to expand it in certain areas? Do you think it is helpful?
The more feedback you leave, the more often I can update the Quick Start Guide according to your wishes…and as a thank you I will send you a fresh copy of the Guide every time it is updated.
So, download your copy right now, then come back and tell me what you think!
It’s good. Very informative from a beginner’s perspective.
This next spring I am going to start 3 warre hives with nucs of five frames ea., of russian bees. Do I start them with 4 boxes or 2 Boxes and do I put the nucs in the top box or the bottom Box?
Can’t get to the guide! I’m excited to read it when it is available.
I purchased your guide to Warre hive building some time ago and now have 2 hives, each with 3 boxes. As a novice, I am keen to read your Quick Start Guide. Sadly when I go to download, the page tells me that the site is not there yet and I should check back in a couple of weeks. Clearly some people have successfully managed to download. Can you advise?
The season is fast coming when I can procure the bees, and I am anxious to get started.
Oops, sorry for the broken link! It’s fixed now, let me know what you think of the Quick Start Guide…
Nick, NICE job on the guide. As always, you make it simple and that’s wonderful. I especially like the photographs. Explaining it is one thing, SEEING it is what we all need. Many thanks!
I come from a similar langstroth background and am currently preparing for my all natural transition into top-bar hives. I was wondering what your take was on the screened bottom board as an IPM approach. True, bees do best when left alone, but we humans alter everything else outside of the hive (i.e. shipping hives and pests) so i feel this is an important addition to any system.
As for the quick start guide that I just read, a few things to clarify ( i will be making presentations to the local beekeeper associations in a month so I was being thorough):
Do all/most warre hive bodies support a max of 8 topbars?
– How does one keep those top bars evenly spaced? (one of the few upsides to the langstroth design was bee space by design)
What prevents/and or encourages honeybees from bridging topbars adjacent to one another so that they can not be worked independently? And bridging between hive bodies? (you mentioned the 4 mm to move around, but it has always been my experience that bees will bridge regardless)
Can a beekeeper use a standard langstroth design but replace frames with topbars and honey supers with cloth and insulation?
I am currently working with a company called BaltimoreHoney.org, on a hybrid-hive that combines a Kenya topbar system with that of the langstroth supers and Warre hive. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions, thank you and bee well!
Hi Nathan, I think a screened bottom board is a great addition to any beekeepers arsenal for pest management. When we put bees in a box and keep them, then we have to take some responsibility in keeping them safe from robbers, pest, disease, etc… I’m working on a plan for a SBB as an addition to my plans here that I hope to have finished soon.
As far as your other questions go:
Yes the majority of Warre hives use 8 top bars, as for the reason why it has to do with the volume of space in a hive box. Check Beekeeping For All (link is in the sidebar) right around page 38 for a more thorough explanation. I keep mine evenly spaced by attaching the bars with a finish nail then prying the top bar up. It creates something of a placement dowel for me.
Cross and burr comb is always a problem, you can use half frames in a Warre to help them build straighter comb and it lets you work a Warre like a Langstroth. In fact if you live in an area that requires inspection then half frames must be used.
Good luck on your hybrid and hope this answered some of your questions 🙂
Nick, you mention half frames, would that be a wax frame cut in half and fitted into the top bar? I have been informed that my state requires inspection but I’ve never heard of any urban hives being inspected here. Never heard the mention of half frames before.