- The roof itself;
- The quilt;
- The top bar cloth.
This post describes how to easily make the top bar cloth in acordance with Warre's original plans (BfA p. 53). The whole thing takes about 15-20 minutes of work. David Heaf also has a post on this topic.
Note that there are alternatives to using hessian, such as organic cotton or even flyscreen. Here I'm trying to stay true to the Warre style. It's primarily about applying a flour paste to the hessian - if you do not apply flour paste, the bees are likely to chew through the cloth and cause problems when you remove the quilt at a later stage.
1. Roughly cut a piece of hessian to be a few cm larger than the outside dimension of your hive's box. Do not cut to fit the box at this stage - as the hessian dries, it make shrink and not fit, so best to make it oversized this stage.
2. Gather your tools. Perhaps use organic flour.
4. Place the cloth on a newspaper. Using a clean (new, cheapie) paint brush, apply the paste evenly over the cloth. Work it into the cloth. Don't apply too thick. You are aiming to soak the fibres without clogging all of the holes with the paste. The bees will decide whether they want to block those holes with propolis.
6. It will then by dry and wrinkled. Run a hot iron over it to flatten it out. If you don't, it won't sit neatly across the top bars (or frames) and form a simple seal.
8. The finished item.
|Pic credit: David Thorn|
9. When the cloth has been in place on the hive for a few weeks, the bees will propolise it to the box edges and to the top bars, forming a bee-tight (and air tight) seal across the top of the hive. They can remove propolis (should they wish) to allow some air to vent into the quilt.