A Warre hive is a vertical top bar hive that uses bars instead of frames, usually with a wooden wedge or guide from which the bees build their own comb.
The Warre (pronounced: WAR-ray) hive is named after its inventor, French monk Abbé Émile Warré, who developed the hive in the early 1900s after experimenting with over 350 hives. Warré wanted to create a hive that was simple to build, easy to manage, the right size for the bees, and still allowed for surplus honey harvest. During this process, he wrote a book called Beekeeping for All that documented his findings and reasons he designed the hive as such. We've used these hives since 2008 and find them to be the most hands-off of any hive design.
With a Warre hive, there is no need to frequently inspect the colony, purchase an expensive honey extractor or use foundation full of chemicals. Management of Warre hives calls for adding extra boxes to the bottom of the stack, causing comb to be regularly harvested and cycled out of use. This prevents old comb from being reused and therefore ladened with environmental and agricultural chemicals and toxins. Warres are a healthy, relatively hands-off approach to beekeeping.
Our hives are crafted using Western Red Cedar in Portland, Oregon. Western Red Cedar is the ideal wood for hive construction due to its strength, light weight, and weather resistance. Our wood is kiln dried and milled to full 1” thickness for improved strength and better insulation for bees. Unlike pine hives, cedar does not need to be painted to help it last. We do however recommend sealing the roof with tung oil. We pre-drill all components for easy assembly.
Viewing windows are a fantastic feature that provide for easy monitoring of your colonies. Our windows run the full length of the box, giving beekeepers an unhindered view without disturbing the bees. Monitoring the productivity of your bees is a cinch with a viewing window and friends and family will enjoy peering in to see the ladies at work!
Most readily available Warre hives are built with butt joints or nails and glue. We know from experience that rabbet joints and screws provide superior quality and durability.
Improve the life and appearance of your hive by adding fitted, riveted copper to the roof. Not only will it help with rain and snow run off, but you’ll never have to paint or seal the roof. The copper will patina over time, taking on the unique finish that only copper can achieve.
We offer optional precision milled and rounded feet that screw onto the standard Warre screened bottom, further elevating the hive and improving stability.
Wedge top bars are the most effective and strongest design, promoting beautiful, straight comb attachment and longevity. Our wedge bars are made from a single piece of wood, no gluing or staple construction, allowing for optimum quality and stability. We manufacture our bars on precision equipment from Western Red Cedar; these are the same bars we’ve used and trusted for years in our own apiary.
All of our components are pre-drilled for easy assembly. The entire hive can easily be assembled with provided screws in 30-45 minutes depending on skill level and tools available. Or you can pay a little more and we’ll assemble the hive for you!
Our hives ship free to the lower 48 United States. We ship anywhere in the world – if you’re outside of the contiguous states, please contact us and we’ll get you a shipping estimate!