The Voirnot Bee Tower

The original Voirnot beehive goes back to a 19th century beekeeper from Lorraine Jean-Baptiste Voirnot.

Voirnot developed his hive with the aim of representing a perfect representation of the natural habitat of bees….

The Voirnot hive is still used today by some beekeepers because of the large frames for a maximum honey yield and is offered in the beekeeping trade with the modified dimensions of 43x41x37.5 cm..This corresponds to about 60 litres of space without the honey attachments, which are each 20 cm high.

According to the research results of the bee scientist Tom Seeley, a wild honey bee colony with a volume of  about 36 litres can manage without the beekeeper in a natural tree cavity.

Compared to more natural beekeeping, the Voirnot hive has far too much additional space that has to be filled and heated by the bees. It primarily serves the beekeeper for a maximum honey yield

bee tower voirnot
My Voirnot Bee Tower one month after logging in a small natural swarm.

Modification of my Voirnot hive to a Bee Tower

In order to achieve the ideal volume of a natural tree hollow, I used two Voirnot boxes glued on top of each other that I still had stored in my workshop.

I installed several 24 cm bamboo rings in diameter, held by an additional inner wooden layer of pallet wood, surrounded by a thick layer of reeds and some natural clay as insulation.

In addition, as in the other Beetowers, there was a flight hole floor (Ecofloor) made of dead dry tree slices. Under the roof, as in a classic Warré, there is a box as insulation and climate regulator, filled with small dried pieces of wood and wood shavings.

As already mentioned in my previous texts, honey harvesting is not my aim here either, but nevertheless possible with the appropriate attachments.

In order not to take too much honey from the bees, I recommend using small attachments with a maximum capacity of 7 to 9 litres for a moderate honey harvest, but only after a year of logging in, not earlier.

But this also depends on the different circumstances, size of the bee colony, environment of the countryside, availability of grapes, climatic influences, etc.

Text and multimedia: Jan Michael

The development of the honeycomb on 26 June 2022