Natural Beekeeping with the Warré Hive
A Manual by David Heaf
There are only two beekeeping practices no matter what type of beehive style you use: the more common Anthropocentric & the less practiced Apicentric.
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What’s the difference?
Basically, this is a beekeeping style that favors the convenience of the beekeeper first and bees last. Equipment, operations, and goals are all geared towards the beekeeper making money. This is generally a commercial practice.
This is almost completely the opposite. This beekeeping style favors the natural tendencies of honey bees first and the beekeeper second. Beekeepers with an apicentric mindset may still have money as one of their goals but not at the expense of the honey bees’ well-being. This is generally an ecological practice.
Natural beekeeping with the Warré hive
A book & a manual
This book is all about apicentric beekeeping and how to manage it in as convenient a way as possible without sacrificing things like: proper hive ventilation & insulation, winter honey stores, natural in-hive traffic and flow, and even what the hive material is made of.
While introducing the book with defining the two distinct mindsets of beekeeping, the book leaves nothing else uncovered. It goes on to describe the crucial elements needed for the beginner to ‘get their hands sticky’ in this unique style of beehive.
Getting your Warré hive
This section covers in great detail the material, construction, and components of the Warré hive. And yes, the construction details the plans of each hive component with measurements included.
You can be sure that by the time you’re finished reading this book that you will have what you need to know about getting started from the ground up for building your own Warré hive.
But just in case you aren’t a fan of table saws and prefer to buy the materials, here is a great resource within the U.S where you can get anything and everything you need. It’s called the Warré Store.
Siting your hive
By far the shortest section of the book, it gives you plenty in knowing how to locate and setup your apiary in the best location.
Personal protection & tools
Definitely a must-have, this covers the protective clothing and tools you need to get started. There’s also a very specific tool associated with this style of beehive and it’s called a Comb Knife.
This isn’t the type of knife used in preparing comb honey for market. It’s an ‘L’ shaped knife for slicing up the sides of the comb that the bees have attached to the insides of the hive body boxes. This makes the frames removeable when necessary with the least amount of disruption and destruction.
Amazingly, the book even details a hand crank device used for lifting hives during spring for something called ‘Nadiring.’ I go over that shortly.
And if you don’t want to build your own, they have a resource section in the back of the book including someone who makes them.
Nadiring– The process of lifting a hive up with minimum disturbance and placing a new hive body box under the colony’s brood chamber. This way the bees can work their way down just like they do in a hollow tree.
A hive without bees isn’t beekeeping. So they cover how to acquire bees, with an emphasis on catching swarms.
The author doesn’t leave you hanging with what to do once you catch a swarm. He details what to do with them afterwards and how to do it. He even offers a solution to hiving bees in your Warré equipment from a Langstroth style nuc with a converter box.
Lots of Extras…
The book continues to go over the usual topics like pest & disease management, colony reproduction, honey harvesting and feeding your bees.
What this book is NOT
A history lesson
I’m so glad the author chose not to make this book a history lesson about the Warré hive. There are plenty of online resources for people looking for that.
Is this the book for you?
Well, if you’re looking for how to acquire bees and equipment specifically for a more apicentric style of beekeeping without all the glitter, then I would say yes. I am certainly happy with it and cannot wait to start building my own Warré beehives soon! Get your own Manual here!!
So let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you operate Warré hives? Do you have anymore questions about the book or Warré beekeeping?
Until next time remember,
~Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee!~
Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire