The case for Warre and Top Bar beehives

How to set up your Warre Beehive



A quick note on how to set up your Warre Beehive…

Starting from the bottom…

Ensure the surface underneath the hive is reasonably level with a slight lean towards the direction which the front of the Beehive will face, so for excess water to run away from the hive. The surface underneath can be a patio slab, a wooden pallet or whatever materials you have around.  Ideally your hive would be placed upon a hard-standing around 10cm-15cm off the ground

A solid wood floor
A solid wood floor

The solid wood floor… is the first item used and is in contact with the ground.

Side view of the varroa floor
Side view of the varroa floor
The front view of a varroa floor on top of the solid floor
The front view of a varroa floor on top of the solid floor

(Optional). The Varroa Floor is a visual aid to the condition of your colony It is placed upon the solid floor with the mesh and removable cover to the rear of the hive (as shown in the picture below).  You will need a screwdriver to remove the rear two screws which removes the rear cover, inside you will slide the tray in and out to check the contents that have fallen through the mesh, and returning the cover afterwards to reduce drafts and unwanted visitors from going inside the hive.

8 Top bars come with each box, with a groove already inserted, just awaiting a wax starter strip
8 Top bars come with each box, with a groove already inserted, just awaiting a wax starter strip

Now we have the Boxes and the Top bars… you can if you wish add a starter strip of wax into the slot of the top bar prior to inserting the tops bars into the Warre box (Please click the link for a simple short video on YouTube showing how someone has done it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-oD33LFp7E.  When ready, Insert 8 top bars with the slotted side facing down into each box in the metal castellated spacers.

If using windows, please ensure that the windows are not above the entrance of the colony, the windows can be to the rear or to either side of the hive, and we always have a minimum of 2 boxes in situ with more boxes added to the bottom when required.

The Top bar cloth comes oversized, needing to be sized and and cut to shape
The Top bar cloth comes oversized, needing to be sized and and cut to shape

Next we have the Top bar cloth…  This arrives with you oversized and requiring sizing (flour paste).  Firstly you need to make a flour paste to add to the Top bar cloth.  In the “Bee-keeping for all” book it states

“In order to make the flour paste, mix into a litre of water, four or five soup spoonfuls of wheat flour, or better still rye flour.  Boil it while stirring with a spoon until it becomes a thick homogenous paste.  It is good to add a small amount of starch to the flour”

The top bar cloth then gets “painted” all over with the paste and left out to dry.  Once dry it will stiffen quite nicely and make it easier for you to cut to size (cut just slightly smaller than the top of the top box). When done, place it on top of the top box.

Insulation is provided in the form of wood shavings from your bee hive
Insulation is provided in the form of wood shavings from your bee hive

The quilt… lives directly on top of the top bar cloth, with the hessian of the quilt touching the hessian of the top bar cloth.  Supplied you will find a bag of Western Red Cedar wood shavings, used to produce your hive.  You should empty the contents of wood shavings into the quilt to act as insulation.

Please note, you can also use other materials to act as insulation, such as fleece, hay or straw.

The roof sitting proudly on top of the Warre hive
The roof sitting proudly on top of the Warre hive

Finally… We arrive at the roof…  It is simply placed over the top of the quilt.  I tend to not have the sloped face on the same side of the hive entrance, just to eliminate water runoff landing at the entrance onto your ladies (Honey Bees).

We wish you to have many, many years of enjoyment using the Warre hive

Thank you very much for providing a home for some of our wonderful Honey Bees.