Warre’ Conversion

Larry Garrett’s Warre’ modifications on Langstroth hives.

Ever want to experiment with Warre’ beekeeping, but didn’t want to build more equipment? Have some extra Lang equipment setting around empty? Maybe a Warre’ conversion is what you need.

Larry Garrett has modified conventional Langstroth equipment to use Warre’s concepts. It’s a neat idea.

Larry has detailed photos of the various modifications on his site.

Larry’s Warrebeek Site.

It’s a great place to spend some time looking at Larry’s traditional Warre’ and alternative hives.  And reading about Warre’ beekeeping.


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5 responses to “Warre’ Conversion”

  1. Doug says:

    I started out with two Warre hives that I built. I now have six hives. Half Warre size, and half ten frame Langs. I am building quilts for the langs and I use foundationless frames in the langs and full foundationless frames that I build, in the Warre hives. I build screened bottom boards for my Warre hives, exactly like one that would be sitting under a Lang. I also use migratory tops, with Micheal Bush’s top entrances on everything.
    The lines are blurred for me. I have no equipment that an orthodox, serious, sane beekeeper would have. God I have fun in my shop though! What can I do today to blurr the lines even more? Why, anything, as long as it works! Anything I want to.

    • -bW says:

      Hi Doug


      At least half the fun is thinking, planning, dreaming. And then making those things come together in the woodshop.


  2. Larry says:

    Update: The 5-frame nucs placed in my Langstroth/Warré Hybrid hives six weeks ago have filled their second 8-frame foundationless deep hive box and I have added the first medium super with foundationless frames.

  3. Larry says:

    After a year I can provide an update. If you recall my hybrid design quilt boxes do not use a quilt bottom cloth. These quilt box bottoms were made of thin wood (5 mm) with openings covered with #8 mesh wire screen. No hessian sacking (burlap) was used for a quilt bottom or a top-bar cloth. A “bee space” of 9 mm was provided between the top-bars and the screened quilt box bottom.

    The quilt boxes of my original Warré design hives and my hybrid design hives were both filled with the same wood shavings. The hives were all located in the same apiary within 10 m of each other. All receive the same amount of sun, shade, rain, snow and wind.

    By mid-winter the wood shavings in bottom third of all of the hybrid hive quilt boxes and the thin wooden bottoms had become damp. I replaced the contents with dry shavings. The wood shavings in my Warré hive quilt boxes with hessian sacking (burlap) quilt bottoms and top-bar cloths remained dry throughout the winter.

    As a result I believe there are two elements of the original Warré design that are often overlooked by those inclined to focus on the more visible quilt box. Hessian sacking (burlap) is used as a top-bar cover and separates the top of the hive from the quilt box. The quilt box bottom is also made from hessian sacking (burlap). These seemingly simple crude cloths actually perform important hive functions.

    The outer edges of the top-bar cloth are exposed to the exterior of the hive on all four sides. In addition the quilt box bottom hessian sacking (burlap) extends up all four exterior sides of the quilt box where it is tacked in place.

    The combination of their double layer and course weave provides a breathable gap around the complete perimeter of the hive top between the hive box and quilt box. This horizontal venting at the top of the hive is in addition to any vertical air passage that occurs through the quilt box.

    The weft and warp of the hessian sacking (burlap) weave provide a capillary wick from any area of the cloth to each of the hive’s four exterior perimeters.

    Both cloths are exposed to the hive’s exterior but are well sheltered from the weather by the extended telescoping sides of the Warré roof design.

    The subtle yet effective venting of air and moisture can be controlled by the bees thereby allowing them to preserve the all-important “Nestduftwärmebindung”!

    I am nearly finished building new roofs and quilt boxes for my Langstroth hives. These new assemblies are constructed to the original Warré design in every detail with only slight dimensional changes to fit the 8-frame Langstroth footprint. I will replace the hybrid roofs and quilt boxes with the new.

    • -bW says:

      Hi Larry

      Thanks for the update. I appreciate your efforts to work through the principles Warre’ expounded and put them to the test.

      It’s just too easy to get entangled in debates about measures, etc. and miss the most important aspects.


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