The Barcelona Warré Beehive


Please see our Working in the Warré Hive section for instructions on beekeeping with this hive.

The Warré hive design was originally developed by the French Beekeeper Abbé Émil Warré, and published in 1948 in his book ‘Beekeeping For All’. Warré named the hive the ‘Peoples Hive’ and designed it for ease of use and for amateur beekeepers. The hive is a vertical top bar style beehive and follows a tradition of natural beekeeping methods.

This modern iteration was created and tested at Valldaura Labs and Fab Lab Barcelona together with the Open Source Beehives team in Denver Colorado.

Why Top Bar Hives?

Top Bar hives were designed in Kenya, where African honeybees tend to be more defensive than the gentle European breeds found in the United States and EU. The top bars (part of the hive that holds the comb) rest above the main colony chamber, touching on all sides to create a false lid. This allows gentle hive inspections, only disturbing a small portion of the hive at a time. Bees are known to be more calm and gentle in top bar hives.

Top bar hives also allow the bees to build “natural” or “free” comb. Other styles of hive such as the Langstroth hive typically use pre-made plastic foundations or commercially produced wax comb, whereas Top Bar hives allow the bees to build their own comb, limiting their exposure to foreign substances. It has also been argued that the bees build smaller cell sizes in free comb, allowing them to more easily manage Varroa Mites (common pathogen in honeybee colonies) reproducing inside the cells.

Last, top bar hives contain minimal parts and require little to no equipment to harvest honey and wax.


  • Open Source Hardware = open to adapt
  • Locking system = no screws
  • Fits one standard wood board 1220 x 2440 mm
  • Reversible entrance for different seasons
  • Removable base tray + Varroa Draw adaption
  • Stacking and stable box structure
  • Windows in every box
  • Removable lid
  • Quilt Box