Extracting from Warre frames


Question for the experienced experimenters - is it possible to extract frames from a Warre hive in an extractor?
I am thinking of using frames with bottom bars and plastic foundation cut to size.
Comments please. Thank you.
Anton Sent

Abbé Warré - Beekeeping For All (PDF Download)

Hi Anton,

Absolutely. Not only can you do this, extraction using a centrifugal extractor is what Abbe Warré preferred / recommended in his book (also discusses gravity draining/straining through a sieve). The suggestion that Warré beekeepers only press comb for honey extraction is a modern manipulation of the historical narrative.

Warré had a minor difference in his methods as the frames did not use wire (and there were also frameless variations of his hive). To avoid the comb breaking up in extraction he placed it in wire cages which were then placed into the extractor. If you are using frames, this can be easily and cost effectively replicated using cake drying racks on the outside of the comb when they are inserted in the extractor cages. If you are using the Australian/Modified Warre hive discussed here, there will be no issues in a standard Langstroth extractor as they use cut down Langstroth dimensions.

The extraction method is described in his book, it is in pages 71-73 in the original French 12th edition and it is also covered in pages 62-64 of the English translation provided by David and Patricia Heaf.

Here are images of the design of the cages from the 12th edition.

This is an example of the extractor, which is essentially identical to the modern day extractors used for Langstroth frame extraction. Warré has specific reasons for suggesting a 4 frame tangential extractor.
I would recommend **_not_** pressing or crushing/straining frames if you are nadiring your hive boxes (adding them from the bottom). When you nadir boxes, they all move through brood laying before they are then used for honey. When crushing/pressing this comb to extract honey, you will be crushing the larval faeces and cocoon remnants ([slum gum](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slumgum)) into your honey. You can call this 'raw', 'unfiltered' or 'natural', but it is what it is. If you are supering your hive boxes (adding them to the top), and they haven't had brood in them, crushing/pressing won't have the same potential issue.


Thank you for the detailed reply - sounds good!
I was keen on trying a Warre hive for variety, but not keen on adding the pressing equipment, si can relax knowing it is not required or even recommended.
Kind regards


Anton, the quote from David and Patricia Heaf translated version (page 115) is as follows:

Extraction by centrifugal force
This extraction is done with a centrifugal extractor. It has the advantage of most complete removal of the honey and is the quickest and least laborious method.

Until now this method has only been used for frames from framed hives. Our cage arrangement allows comb to be extracted from fixed-comb hives. Furthermore, the combs are uncapped in these cages.

Before putting the combs in the extractor, the wax cappings covering the full cells are removed, as described in the following.

I should also mention that Warré recommend the use of an uncapping knife too (from the same translation / page)

Uncapping knife
Uncapping is done with a special knife, or an ordinary one from the kitchen. It is important that the knife is clean and quite hot. It is useful to have several of them to use in succession, putting them in a vessel of hot water in between uses. The vessel can be usefully placed on a hotplate. The knife needs to be hot enough to pass easily under the cappings but not so hot as to melt them. The operator should use the knife like a saw, cutting only on the pull stroke and not on the push.

When the knife has passed right across the comb, the point of the knife is used to remove the cappings that are in the hollows of the comb.