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Beekeeping for All:

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Warré Beekeeping
Bryan I'Anson Bromwich's hive

Bromwich wanted a hive that avoided the barbarous practice of sulphuring bees as used by skep beekeepers. This is clear from the following verse in his book1:

And must ye kill?--Mistaken thought--ah, shame!
No more involve them in sulphureous flame.
The tender race, whom works of peace employ;
Busy'd in public cares and full of joy!
Was it for this they sought the roseate bowers!
With ceaseless labour toil'd on spangled flowers?
For this they bore the summer's sultry ray,
And autumn's sunny gleam; nor lost a day?
Ah! cruel man! the sulphured matches spare,
And be content the nectar'd sweets to share!
In just return, the happy race reward;
From chilling winds the peaceful mansion guard:
Regale them too upon some smiling day;
Thy tender cares they amply will repay.

His boxes, kept in a bee house, have 1 inch (25 mm) thick walls and measure inside 9 inches (225 mm) square by 8 inches (200 mm) high. Each box is closed at the top except for a 3 inch (75 mm) diameter hole in the middle and 'in order to save the bees trouble, and retard their labours as little as possible' 4 smaller holes of about 1 inch (25 mm) are cut around the middle one.

That he speaks of holes in the top of each box suggests they are open at the bottom, like skeps. The same is evidenced by the method of drumming bees out after a harvest, i.e. by inverting the box.

The entrance is 4 x 1/2 inches (100 x 13 mm).

A prime swarm is introduced into a box and immediately given a second box underneath. In a few weeks the two boxes are nadired with a further box. After a while, and when the third box is full of comb, the top box contains only honeycomb and can be harvested. This is done before sunrise by inserting a thin knife with a blade of 7-8 inches (175-200 mm) long to cut off the top box. An empty third box is nadired.

The harvested box is taken some distance from the hive, inverted and drummed with sticks to drive out the bees that are still in it. He goes on to describe how to shift bees that are not so co-operative.

He says that rarely less than two boxes can be taken in a season, and often three and adds that none should be taken after the first week in August (in the UK).


1. Bryan I'Anson Bromwich (1783) The experienced beekeeper -- Containing an essay on the management of bees wherein is shewn from long practice the most easy and profitable method of treating those useful insects; particularly interesting to the keepers of bees, and useful to every family. Charles Dilly, London. Downoad a PDF of the second edition at: http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apuntes/libros/472_Bromwich.pdf .


We thank Dietrich Vageler for drawing our attention to this work.