So, what's the best way to convert a Langstroth hive and method to Warre?
I'm guessing these steps would be involved. Is there anything else I'm missing?
1. Switch to foundation-less frames.
2. Convert a shallow to a quilt with burlap on top and bottom and filled with wood chips. Also, what's the best kind of wood chips to use? Is there one that's not good to use.
3. Super from the bottom only.
4. Sit back and enjoy.
Actually, what's the best way to super from the bottom on a Langstroth? I guess one could construct a lift of sorts that could use the existing hand holds.
I tore the frames in my Langs apart and just use the top bars. Warré management typically involves leaving the hive closed as much as possible, so even frames without foundation would likely be welded to the walls by the end of the couple of years that any one box is typically occupied before harvest. seems better to me to forgo the frames altogether if you're really after the Warré experience.
a shallow super should work well as a quilt, but you would only need burlap on the bottom. I use cedar planer shavings since I've got them around. they work well. in addition to that, you would want a top bar cloth treated with flour paste to prevent chewing through and a modified telescoping roof that covers the junction between your shallow/quilt and the uppermost hive body.
and take out the queen excluder. use it for swarm collection.
Your steps sound fine, and they are how I've run a few Langstroth hives in the past. I use all 8 frame mediums at this point -- foundationless.
I use cedar shavings or sawdust. I did read a study recently out of an Oregon university that Juniper has a negative impact on mites -- so it could be worth a try using that in the quilt box.
Sometimes I super on the top and bottom -- both on Langstroths and Warres. Occasionally you'll find the bees hesitant to move down in Warre hives, while they seem to move up without a problem. If you do super a Warre, just be sure to add at least a few drawn out combs to the top box so they build from the TOP down. Otherwise you'll end up with some VERY creative combs as they build from the bars below upward!
In regard to the best way to super on the bottom -- I think the same principles apply to both Warre and Langstroth. I lift only what I can comfortably. I usually leave the quilt box on while taking the roof off to reduce weight. Leaving the quilt on avoid disturbing the bees so much. If you separate the boxes, be sure to set them down on another box at an angle so there's minimal surface area for bees to get crushed. Then when putting it back together, slide the boxes onto each other to avoid killing so many (though you will kill some).