Groups / Fora
Abbé Warré's book
to a complete beginner to beekeeping
1. Join a local association and pick up what you can. If you have not done so already, and there is an opportunity to handle bees with the guidance of association members, do that. In that way you get to understand the different members of the colony and handle bees in a way that you will not with Warré hives. If you can find a willing mentor amongst the association members who will let you go along to routine apiary visits, a huge amount can be learnt that way.
2. Take note of what the experienced conventional beekeepers tell you about the life cycle of bees, pollen and nectar sources, what you can observe and learn from the hive entrance (i), how to handle a swarm etc. Listen to what they tell you about hive design and management, but do not take it as gospel. It might also be tricky to tell them about Warré as they will probably not be supportive.
3. You should learn as much as possible about bees themselves. Read as many bee related materials as possible...anything that you can get your hands on. The more you read about the bees and bee characteristics and habits, the better equipped you will be to meet their needs, thereby ensuring your success as a beekeeper. Check out books from the library and borrow books from other beekeepers. Read online sources and mail groups. Learn all you can about bees from every source that you can. The better you understand the amazing honey bee, the better you will be able to manage their home and life. Jürgen Tautz's book The Buzz About Bees (2007) is an excellent, beautifully illustrated, introduction to bee biology and describes recent discoveries regarding several aspects of natural bee life that we are trying to encourage through use of the Warré hive.
5. Put the word about that you want a swarm. In south west England May and June is the main swarming period so a decent swarm in that period will get you going. It will be a magical experience to hive the swarm which will also have the perfect population of bees for occupying a Warré hive. Don't worry about them being Russian or Chinese or Italian etc -- just whatever is flourishing in your area is good.
6. Read and re-read the translation of Warré's book Beekeeping
for All (iv) and ask questions on the Yahoo e-group
about bits you don't understand. You can ask even the most elementary beekeeping questions
there even if the discussion seems a bit advanced a lot of the time.
7. You might not get any honey in the first season but you will have a well populated hive to take through the winter and a lot of valuable experience.
8. Getting another type of hive, e.g. a conventional frame hive (Langstroth, Dadant, UK National etc.), would risk wasting your time energy and resources and fill your mind with things you don't need to know. Getting experience of conventional beekeeping through the association as a way to become familiar with bees is more than enough.
i) "At the Hive Entrance" by H. Storch OBSERVATION HANDBOOK "How to Know what happens inside the hive by observation of the outside." This book was published in German under the title: "Am Flugloch " Translation: F. Cells. European Apicultural Editions Europäische Bienenzucht Ausgaben Edisions Europeennes Apicoles B-1040 BRUSSEL, 1, Rue de l'Escadron D/156611985/1 (Available in print from Thorne's ( http://www.thorne.co.uk), and on the Internet as a PDF file.)
(ii) Plans for construction are in Warré's
book (see ref. iv below). Technical drawings for constructing a Warré hive according to
Warré's own specification are available in English here. Larry
Garrett's illustrated guide to self-build here.
(iii) Warré hive manufacturers:
English Warré web portal http://warre.biobees.com/index.html
Johannes Thür on 'Nestduftwärmebindung' and the Abbé Christ (1739-1813) Hive: http://www.users.callnetuk.com/~heaf/thur.pdf (the Christ hive is an identical concept to Warré's). The original German of Thür's book is at http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/bien/bienenzucht_full.pdf .
Bernhard Heuvel's sustainable beekeeping based on Warré hives (in English): http://www.selbstversorgerforum.de/bienen/sustainable_beekeeping.pdf
First Warré hive experiment in anglophone countries? http://www.users.callnetuk.com/~heaf/beekeeping_for_all.pdf
This advice has been compiled by various members of the Yahoo e-group http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/warrebeekeeping