Preparing the quilt
The quilt is placed on top of the hive boxes and is said to provide insulation. The quilt box consists of a 300mm x 300mm box and piece of cloth, commonly burlap (hessian).
|The pieces of the quilt|
The burlap is sized to stiffen it and then fastened to the bottom of the box.
|Sizing was made of flour, water, and laundry starch. Recipe here. It|
is said to help prevent the bees from chewing holes through the cloth.
|I painted it on and let it dry in the sun until stiff.|
|Since I stiffened the burlap so well, no stretching was necessary.|
|The quilt box is filled with absorbent material such as straw, |
wood shavings, dried leaves, or shredded paper. I read that
cedar shavings help deter ants, so that's what I'm using.
An interesting alternative for the quilt can be found at the Milkwood blog, "Quilt box design mod for the Warré hives".
Preparing the top bars
In a traditional top bar hive, the bees draw their own comb from bars at the top of the hive boxes. Because they have the annoying habit of building their comb at angles rather than straight across the bars, the top bars are painted with a thin strip of melted beeswax as sort of a "start comb here" signal to the bees.
|Kind of hard to see since the wax is the same color as the wood.|
It is possible to get frames or modified frames for Warré hive, but I just started with the basic hive.
Installing the top bars
|3/4 inch brads help hold the top bars in place. The spacer |
(right) helps get the bars at the natural bee acceptable spacing.
Some Warré beekeepers prefer to attach the bars to the box, but my top bars came with notched ends. We used evenly spaced brads, setting each top bar over them. Once the first set of brads was measured and in place, the spacer made a quick job of getting the rest in proper placement.
Observation Hive Box
This did not come with my kit nor did I initially think about getting one.
|A piece of plexiglass completes the observation window.|
However, five boxes are recommended to have on hand, but the kit came with only four. While I contemplated that bit of advice, I got some bad news about my honeybee order.
I originally ordered my bees from BeeWeaver Apiaries in Texas. They raise naturally resistant, chemical free bees and that appealed to me tremendously. I bit the bullet and ordered a package. My delivery date was scheduled for April 20. I had a near panic attack when I received an email from them, advising me that there were problems: UPS had suddenly changed their policies so that shipping bees with syrup was no longer permissible. The bees would have to be shipped with solid food. Unfortunately UPS did not give BeeWeaver enough time to make new shipping boxes, so I had a choice of cancelling my order or risking USPS (known to be slower with such deliveries). I opted to receive a refund, but it left me frantically trying to find bees.
Happily the local beekeeping group still had packages available. Neither resistant nor chemical free, they are considered "hygenic" bees because of their tendency to monitor the brood comb and remove dead, diseased, or infested larvae and pupae. At any rate, they were considerably cheaper, and would only require my picking up at a designated location rather than worrying about UPS or the mail. I used the extra money from the refund to purchase the observation box and a top feeder.
I'll show you the feeder in an upcoming post. The nice thing about the observation window is that it's another way to check on the bees without opening the hive, plus it gives me an extra box for years of good honey flow.
Last but not least -
If you are interested in Warré beekeeping, I would recommend the following resources for more information.
- The warrebeekeeping Yahoo group Mostly about Warré beekeeping, but also quite a bit of technical discussion about honeybees in general
- Warré Hive Construction Guide at The Bee Space
- Video tutorials at The Warré Store website
Next - Beehive: Painting and Naming