One of the gorgeous features of a Warré Hive is their cute gabled roofs. In Australia, those gables help primarily with insulating the hive from extreme heat (and therefore lowering colony stress) by providing circulation.
The Warré Hive was, however, developed in France – and those beautiful gabled roofs were originally designed for winter snows! Which is exactly what our friends at Malfroy’s Gold Warré apiary in Rocklea had a bunch of this week…
The Warré hive’s gabled roof was designed to do two things with snow: firstly, to use it as an insulating blanket, and secondly, to effectively disperse it when the snow melted.
As you can imagine, the last thing a honeybee colony wants in Winter is a soggy cold hive as snow melts and drips inside – and so the gabled roof was designed to prevent this happening.
The gabled roofs allow movement of air beneath the gables, but, it should be noted, are closed to the colony (ie there is not ‘chimney effect’ in either winter or summer).
As said above, these gabled roofs also do a great job of insulating the hive from Summer heat – they’re an all round great design to ensure a happy, healthy bee colony.
In fact, these gabled roofs saved the Malfroy’s entire apiary during the intense 6 week heatwave this past summer.
Other apiaries just west of them suffered comb collapse events and hive losses because of the effect of the intense Australian summer heat on their standard flat Langstroth tin roofs.
The Malfroy’s Gold Warré apiary is the largest traditional Warré apiary in the world.
Snow on the hives is not something we see much of down under, so we thought we would share these pics that Emma Malfroy snapped at the Malfroy’s Gold apiary in Rocklea in NSW central west earlier this week.
Stay warm till Spring, bees!
Starting in September Tim Malfroy will once more be teaching Natural Beekeeping with the Warré Hive – in Sydney and beyond. Join us if you’d like to learn how to keep bees naturally, from the experts!
All photos by Emma Malfroy, copyright Malfroys Gold.