Should I use FRAMES IN MY Warré hive?

This is a difficult question to answer, but certainly one that needs answering before you purchase any hives. Let me start by saying that we do not prefer to use hives with frames. The disadvantages of using frames include added cost and complexity, added labor and/or cost to initially set up your hive, and added maintenance. Framed hives also tend to have lower winter survival rates, because frames make it more difficult for a winter cluster to move from a lower box to an upper one in order to access more food. This can be particularly problematic in regions where the winter cold can be brutal. All that being said, reasons for using a modified Warré hive include the following:

  • Frames allow for more thorough inspection and studying of the hive. This might be an important consideration for new beekeepers who really want to learn about the internal workings of the hive and to become familiar with handling bees, as can be seen in our framed Warré hive inspection video.

  • Frames allow a beekeeper to more easily manipulate the hive (one can move combs around or swap combs from hive to hive, if desired). Keep in mind that these practices are often harmful to bee colonies (please see Harmful Modern Methods).

  • Frames allow for specialized types of beekeeping, such as packaged bee production or queen rearing.

  • One may feel pressure to use a framed hive for legal reasons. To learn more, please refer to Frame Requirements.