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Warm Way or Cold Way?


I’m interested to know who is using which technique and are you using it for a reason or simply because that is what you were shown/taught?

“Warm way” is a box with the frames perpendicular to the entrance. And “Cold Way”, is the frames parallel to the opening.

I’m thinking because of my weather I will want to go with the cold way, as I wont have to worry about an over wintering period and will need to keep the hive cooler.

Article: How Honey Bees Keep Warm

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Wrong way round.
Warm is parallel, Cold perpendicular.

Warm way here…I like to stand behind the hive and lift the frames straight out.
Having the frames parallel to the entrance gives guard bees less to defend which is particularly important when bee numbers decrease in the autumn and they have robber bees and wasps to contend with.
when frames are set Cold Way the bees in winter cluster will move across the frames from the centre outwards. A problem arises when they reach a wall and the temperatures preclude their moving about to stores the other side. This can result in isolation starvation.
Bees on the frames warm way tend to place their stores at the back of the hive and work backwards.

Aren’t Langs rectangular so frames can run one way only?


Hmm okay, maybe I am confused and not reading it correctly but it seems that everything I am reading online is the opposite of what you’re saying

Join DateFeb 2011LocationVenus, Texas, USAPosts117
Warm way vs cold way
Cold way…i.e…spaces between the frames point to the entrance.
warm way…i.e…frames normal to the entrance…
What’s you opinion or experience? I’m making some IPM bottom boards and thinking about trying some the warm way."

"icanhopit5th March 2011, 01:48 PM
warm way is frames placed parallel to hive front presuming that entrance is at front,
cold way is at right angles to front, or parallel to sides."

Yes that is true, however a slight modification to the bottom board can put the entrance on whichever side you want. Then the bees would enter the hive either parallel or perpendicular to the frames.


I think you are correct adagna.

The frames perpendicular to the entrance mean that there is increased airflow, which cools the hive when the air outside is cooler than the air inside the hive.

Turn the frames 90° or move the entrance, so that the frames run parallel to the opening and you reduce airflow by blocking the open path ways for ventilation.

I hadn’t much thought about this before, but in areas where the summers are very hot and the winters are very cold it might be worth having sets of bottom boards, to exchange seasonally, to aid the hive in maintaining an optimal temp.

Or has anyone come up with a bottom board design that easily converts between the two? That would be nifty.

We are in a mild marine climate here in San Francisco, with little variation between the median highs and lows year round, but I suspect many areas would benefit from such an arrangement.


Snelgrove board has 3 entrances this could be an option?


Like a lot of beekeeping controversies it probably doesn’t matter that much to the bees. Given their freedom (no frames or foundation) the bees build their combs at a 45 degree angle to the entrance. In other words, if you put bees in a box with no frames and the entrance is across the short side, they will build the combs from corner to corner. If, on the other hand, you look at it in the inverse and assume that the frames fix where the frames are then that would mean the preferred entrance (by the bees) would be at the corner of the box. The thing I liked when running the warm way was that I could stand at the back of a hive and lift a frame out without reaching across the hive. But since I cluster my hives together on a stand (14 to a stand) I end up running them all the cold way. The warm way would not be as efficient.


Warm way/cold way is usually used with Warre hives since they are square and can be turned either way. Personally, I run my Warre hives cold way year round. I’ve never seen a need to turn them, and my bees do fine.


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Has anyone ever tried running hives with a corner entrance?


Most of mine have one. I have a top entrance and it’s reduced to just one corner.

But yes I’ve also drilled holes in hives to run a corner entrance (I don’t like drilling holes in boxes).


I have never had my hives anything but the “warm way” however, I have found that bees in the wild seem to like the cold way, having said that, if they have the opportunity, they like to get their hive well away from predators, in those cases they seem to build which is the most economical use of space.