Nick Hampshire Warre
Nick Hampshire’s Warre, a beautiful vertical top bar hive.

I’ve spent a little time around the Vertical Natural Comb Hives page today. Looking at the photos again, the beauty of the Warre’ hives impressed me. There’s just something about them that is beautiful to behold.

What Is Beauty?

Maybe it’s the natural finish, or the proportions. Maybe it’s the simplicity of a  hive topped with a unique looking, but functional, gabled cover. Maybe it’s the workmanship and care their builders put into them.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s all the above and more. Don’t they just look like the right kind of hive to keep bees in?

Has the beauty of an object just jumped out and grabbed you? Just pulled that emotional gasp from you?

I’ve experienced it a few times. And it involves more than appearance. There’s something just spiritually right about beauty. Been around airplanes? Some of them you could just look at and knew how they would fly before ever lighting the fires. I suspect that some boats is the same.

I’ve experienced some architecture in the same way. It just fit seamlessly into the environment. It had the right ‘resonance’. It was  a perfect fit. It felt right. It was beautiful.

Beauty And The Bee’s Keeper

Looking back at the ‘Vertical Natural Comb Hives’ page, what a difference exists between the wooden Warres and the culvert based hive. It might not make much difference to the bees, but I’ll bet I know which one you would call beautiful. I’ll bet I know which one you would prefer to keep bees in.

Why is that? Why would it matter? The bees don’t care.

Much of what we do as beekeepers is that way. It’s first an art and then a  science. The science part satisfies our mind and it’s curiosity. While the art satisfies our senses and our heart. We’re energized with the sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes ingrained in us from our biologic past.

Does any of that matter? You bet it does! After all, a beehive is an adaptation to a beekeeper’s needs. And a beekeeper needs more than just a box to put bees in. Today, beekeeping feeds more than just our stomach.

Must a hive be expensive, elaborate or complicated? Not at all! But since it’s your hive, it should show and enhance those aspects you value in beekeeping. And it should feed you, all of you.

Beauty And The Beast

What a beekeeping beast I was. As a commercial beekeeper, cost and utility dictated my equipment needs. From that perspective, the culvert might have won out! And I must admit, that I still tend to follow those lines in my designs.

But I look in wonder at hives of the past. Some carved from great logs looking like bears, whimsical characters, religious icons or beautiful women. And today, some conventional Lang hives are artfully painted reflecting the beekeeper’s spirit. Some, like that architecture mentioned above,  are just set in the right place.

And more than light reflects from those hives.  What do you experience when you see hives like that? Are those beekeepers keeping more than bees?  Isn’t it beautiful!


Got some beauties? Want to share a link to your favorite hive photos? Leave a note. And I’ll post a few of mine as well.


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