from "Beekeeping for all"
less costly than that at the grocers?
Would you like to start a cultural activity that nourishes you and your family?
In this case, you will need a hive that is less expensive, a hive whose management
demands less work from you, whose honey simply costs less.
Then only a hive with fixed combs will give you this result.
This advice might appear rash in view of the large number of framed hives of all systems that are
on offer and used by beekeepers.
Which are the modern hives that have not been abandoned after some years of experience?
All the other apiaries disappear quickly because they do not feed their owner.
It is sufficient to calculate what it will costs to install
what time is required in their management
in order to be able to conclude,
without even being a beekeeper,
that their product necessarily costs too much.
The cost of framed hives and their the number of types of hive continues to increase. They remove a centimeter here and add one
They take the frames through all geometric forms and advertise a new hive which will assure,
better than others, that the beekeeper will make a fortune.
This begins by increasing the capital outlay,
as all these modifications generally increase the cost of the hive.
In any case, they do not constitute a new system
because they are not based on an essential apicultural principle.
Even the People's Hive [Warré Hive, Tr.] has already been a victim of the inventors.
They say they are improving it.
But the improvements I have heard of are useless, some are harmful, and a few absurd.
Construction of the People's Hive with fixed combs
comprises a floor,
three identical boxes
and a roof.
The floor is the same size as the exterior of the hive-body boxes and is between 15 and 20 mm
The entrance to the hive is made through the depth of the floor.
The entrance is 120 mm wide and 40 mm deep if the walls of the
hive-body box are 20 mm thick.
The resulting notch in the floor is closed with a piece of wood 160
mm square (alighting board).
The basic rule in the People's Hive is to give each box internal dimensions as follows:
depth: 210 mm;
width and breadth 300 mm with a rebate of 10 x 10 mm.
The external dimensions may vary according to the thickness of the wood used.
The floor must have a maximum size the same as the external dimensions of a box.
It is preferable
to make it a millimetre less on all sides so that it will not trap water.
The quilt must have an exterior the same length and breadth as a box, less 5 mm to facilitate
The roof should enclose the quilt and cover the top box by 20 mm with a play of 10 mm to
facilitate removal and replacement.
The floor is for closing the hive at the bottom, whilst at the same time allowing access for both the
bees and fresh air.
What wood should be used for the floor? The thicker the wood the longer it will last. However, if
the wood is very thick it will be heavy to handle; if it is too thin it will not resist bad weather or the
knocks it will receive for long.
A thickness of between 15 mm and 20 mm is a good and sufficient thickness, all the more so for it
being reinforced by battens underneath.
What should the bees' entrance be like? People have given it a length of the full width of the hive
and a height of between 10 mm and 20 mm. I am of the opinion that such a length, which goes beyond
400 mm in certain hives, is definitely harmful. During the course of the summer the population may
diminish and not be able to defend itself on such a front. The supporters of big entrances say that they
reduce them when necessary. But they may forget such surveillance. In any case, it is extra work that
we do not want. It is not without reason that we have given the entrance to the People's Hive the
following size: 120 x 15 mm. But we draw attention to the fact that we prefer that size to 200 x 10 mm
which gives the same access mathematically speaking. With an entrance of 120 x 15 mm, the bees
have less distance to cover; a weak colony will thus defend itself more easily.
Of course, in winter, we reduce this entrance further. A metal entrance has an opening of only 70
x 7.5 mm to prevent the entry of rodents. Moreover, in winter there are not that many bee sorties. This
opening serves, so to speak, only for ventilating the hive.
Furthermore, the entrance of 120 x 15 mm is enough to allow passage of the bees even of a strong
This is the most important part of beekeeping.
I will post a separate blog post on this.
Moisture is generated in any hive by the life of the animals
and by the evaporation of nectar.
There is also stale air resulting from animal respiration.
This stale, humid air is warm when it is in the cluster of bees and thus it tends to rise.
Reaching the top of the hive,
it does not cool down quickly, because the top of the hive is always warm,
and because the walls of the People's Hive are never very cold,
due to the shorter distance between them and the bee cluster.
This stale air will then continue to occupy the top of the hive,
but the cloth lets it
pass and be taken into the quilt.
This escape of stale air draws in fresh air through the hive entrance.
As this escape of air is
continuous and under the
control of the bees,
the fresh air enters only slowly but continuously,
to renew the air in the hive
and without making the bees uncomfortable.
In other hives this ventilation does not take place in the same manner.
The stale air is quickly
stopped by the oilcloth or crown boards
and continues to surround the bees,
for in hives bigger than
the People's Hive, the bees are closer to the top.
This stale air extends as far as the walls
and condenses on contact with them
as they are further away from the bee cluster
and thus cooler than the walls of the People's Hive.
the moist air passes down the walls
and the outer combs and produces
moisture and mold.
However big the entrance may be
the fresh air does not enter the hive
because it is not drawn in
by the departure of the stale air.
Ventilation in such hives
is insufficient or absent.
to build your Warre hive, the way Ware did, you can search the web for free plans.
Just make sure the plans are for the original design.
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