• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Warre/Perone hive hybrid?

 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Was kicking around an idea today. What if you took the extra large Perone hive body, placed it on top instead of on the bottom, had it sit on top of a cabinet style structure with the comb grids situated like removeable drawers. Best of both worlds right? Hive body on top and no need to disturb it to get to the honey. Bees get to build from the top down, as they like to do naturally. And comb is as easy to harvest as pulling out a drawer. I'm not sure if this would exactly be a Warre/Perone hybrid but thats the notion that brought me to this.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
interesting idea, and it probably merits further development. the fatal flaw that you'll need to address, though, is that honey is stored above brood, not below. as bees build down, they first fill comb with brood, then honey as new bees vacate their cells and the nest expands downward.
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Its been my understanding that hives are built from the top down, isn't that how the Warre is arranged? With hive body on top and comb boxes under it? The Perone uses 4 inch high comb boxes because supposedly the queen doesn't like building in them. Combine both and I would think the queen would prefer staying in the larger have body. Thats kinda the corner stone of the idea.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
honey bees do, indeed, prefer to build down. the trouble with the arrangement you've proposed is that as they build down, the comb is used for brood first, then honey and pollen after the brood moves out. the upshot: the brood nest is below honey. there are occasional exceptions to this, as when a queen "tunnels" and lays a column of brood in the middle of the hive from top to bottom, but that won't help in this situation.

it's a strong enough impulse for the bees to have the brood at the bottom that changing the structure of the hive will not be enough to overcome the arrangement.

in a Warre hive, the bees do build down perpetually, with brood below honey. this is why a whole box of honey may be harvested from the top of the hive without disturbing the brood and queen below.

the shallow depth of Perone's honey supers may contribute to the lack of brood there, but the location of the supers above the brood chamber is also important. the enormous brood chamber likely also ensures that the winter cluster and queen never end up in the supers because they won't exhaust the stores in the brood chamber. if they did, and moved up into the honey supers, the queen would lay there when pollen and nectar flow resumed in spring.

without very dramatic intervention or very unusual conditions, it's quite difficult to convince a colony to consistently store honey below brood. the one exception that comes to mind occurs in locations where nectar flow is exceptionally strong for a short season and honey-binding is an issue. that is more a case of there not being room for brood anywhere in the nest, though, rather than honey being stored below brood.

if the failure of one hive wouldn't be a catastrophe for you, I definitely encourage you to go ahead and try out the design you've proposed. your experience will certainly be instructive to you, and more than likely instructive to other folks, too. in the event that it works wonderfully, I know there will be a whole lot of beekeepers interested in what you learn, myself included.


you're trying to create a better hive, which I think is great. keep it up. but keep in mind that you're going to have to take into account an awful lot of sometime very complex honey bee behavior.
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very good points! I've been reading up a lot more on bee behavior. They are amazingly complex critters. I love the harvest method of the Warre. It allows the bees to act naturally but it has to be disturbed a lot more than I'd like. The Perone allows for the "super hive" which I think is a great concept and allows for a more hands off approach which I also like. There must be a happy medium to be found between the two.

Lets say you have a Perone style hive body at the top with removable comb drawers of similar dimensions to the perone ones under it. Lets make them slide out instead of having to lift the hive body. The bees move thru those drawers drawing out comb, then raising young, then depositing honey. You harvest once a year from the top drawers down and deposite unfinished comb with brood back into the top drawers. They still have the hive body undisturbed and you get to harvest honey from the drawers. What do you think about the feasability of that?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
any chance you could draw a picture and post it so we've got a better idea what you're thinking? I think I understand what you're suggesting, but I'm not entirely sure.
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did a mock up with google sketch up. I think it gives a decent representation of what I am thinking. Scale is a little off but close enough.
Bales Hive.jpg
[Thumbnail for Bales Hive.jpg]
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brian Bales wrote:I did a mock up with google sketch up. I think it gives a decent representation of what I am thinking. Scale is a little off but close enough.


excellent. thanks. that makes it clearer.

I think you're still going to run into trouble. harvesting from the bottom seems like a losing proposition to me, but I've never tried it, so I can't be totally certain. my guess is that the queen would be loathe to lay in the shallow drawers below and the hive would remain entirely in the large chamber at the top. alternately, if the hive did expand into the drawers, it might be used entirely for brood rearing until late fall, when the colony would contract back up into the top. again, the only way to know for sure is likely to try it. or find somebody else who already has.

how about using hive units of the same size as Perone's supers, but forgoing the comb grids and substituting spales for comb support? that would allow the large, uninterrupted brood nest that is the heart of Perone's design, but it could be managed and harvested roughly like a Warré hive. one substantial problem would be rigging up a system to reliably and safely lift a hive that large in order to nadir new units.
 
Brian Bales
Posts: 90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The bees instinct to build from the top down is what I am counting on for this to work. The queen not wanting to build in those drawers is also a hope of mine but as you said until its tried we won't know for sure that it works or not. I considered the idea of stacking Perones but as you pointed out the weight is a problem. Supposedly a full Perone hive body can weigh over 200lbs. I cannot imagine a "simple" system for moving such things. I'm hoping to build this hive this year so we will see how it goes.
 
Jacqueline Freeman
instructor
Posts: 83
Location: southwest Washington state
19
bee cat forest garden trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Brian,
When I look at the idea you're proposing, I see a few places where it might not work. First, pulling out drawers will be challenging simply because the bees will propolize any intersection and drawers won't slide. That's why we have to lift off hive boxes, because breaking the propolis seal is required or the box just won't budge. Also a drawer is going to slide/crush bees as it's slid out. You won't be able to see who is in the way and when the bees riding on the top get to the opening, squish happens.

In my experience bees will build down to expand the hive but they'll keep lowering the brood area as they do so. Honey on top, new space gets filled in underneath. That's the beauty of warres, they acknowledge that kind of growth.
 
I am mighty! And this is a mighty small ad:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic