Though there are many positive aspects to Abbé Émile Warré (1867-1951) beehive design, one of the drawbacks is the incompatibility between it and other hive systems. As I’m learning more and more about starting splits, queen rearing and using nucs in the classes offered by West Sound Beekeepers Association I’m seeing how much of a hassle it is to work between Warre and Langstroth hives.
In this particular case I wanted to start a split using several frames of brood and pollen and several frames of honey. Typically you would take these from one or more strong hives and just move the frames into a nuc, however the Warre bars are quite a bit shorter than the Langstroth nuc…so what to do….what to do?
Warre frame adapter
One option is to build an adaptor. This will allow you to slide the smaller Warre bar with its comb into a frame that will then fit into a Langstroth nuc. Fortunately for me I have a friend/fellow beekeeper who is a master wood worker. Darren, House of Bees.com, built a slick frame that allows just that. You can see to the side what it looks like.
Another option is one I devised on the fly before Darren proposed his Warre adapter. Simply take the top bar of aLangstroth frame and
Zip ties used to attach larger langstroth bar to a warre topbar
zip tie connecting the two bars
lay it along the top of the Warre bar. Run two zip ties through the comb and around cinching the two top bars together. Then simply hang the combination into your nuc or other Langstroth hive. As you can see in the photo the bees are more than happy to fill in the space.
The big difference between the two approaches is that Darrens adaptor can easily be undone if you wanted to move the Warre bar back into a Warre box. My zip tie method would be a little messier.
Bees have filled in the space around the warre topbar
After one week I opened up the hives to see how the bees were doing. The hive with flowers, the one with Italians were building comb but not at the same rate as the other hive with the Carniolan queen.
A little smoke to keep them calm
I’d guesstimate that the Italian hive had some comb on maybe 4 of the bars with the Carniolan colony having comb on probably 6 of the bars. Easily twice as much comb produced in the Carni hive. You can see that the carniolan hive built the queen cage right into the comb. I was afraid of removing it for fear of weakening the structure. Once this bar is fully drawn out I’ll see if I can carefully extricate the queen cage.
I don’t know if this is just the difference between two hives or a specific difference between an Italian queen and a Carniolan queen. This is something I’ll have to watch in the future.
I’m finding that they are going through almost a full bottle of sugar water in 24 hours, which is about half of a kilo of sugar. I’m mixing my sugar on a one to one ration. 1 liter of warm water with 1 kilo of white sugar.
It also appears that in both cases only about 15% of the bees are in and out of the hive, the balance are all focused on comb building. I’m wondering if this will shift as the comb gets built out and perhaps I’ll see more bees foraging.