Thanks to the hive-with-frame system, every beekeeper can thoroughly handle and monitor their colonies. Nonetheless, you should always be careful not to hurt your bees, and in particular your queens. Here are a few tips on how to securely handle frames:

1- To start, you need to remove the external frames, meaning the ones on the sides of the hive. To do so, place your hive tool between the head of the frame and edge of the hive and use it as a lever to lift-up the frame. Repeat on both sides of the frame and slowly lift it up from the hive. Your frames can be filled with propolis and bees so this step may be a little difficult for beginners, remember to take your time and to always be gentle.

2- The main precautionary measure you must always follow is to keep the frame vertically oriented, both when you remove it from the hive and when you place it on the side of the hive to handle the other frames. Also, be careful not to bump it on the sides of the hive/on other frames when removing it.

3- To monitor carefully your bees, and especially the queen’ egg-laying, you can use a bee brush to remove the bees from the frame. Remember to always use it from top to bottom, gently pushing the bees inside of the hive.

4- It is crucial to monitor your colonies, mostly during spring and autumn, to assess the queen’s egg-laying, the amount of honey stock, the stage of development of the colony etc. A correct assessment and monitoring of your hives will tell you the next step you need to follow, which can be to change your queen, to change your frames, to feed your bees or to add a top cover for instance.

5- A « nice-looking frame » will have sealed brood at the center and pollen and honey stock around it. In case the honey stock is too low, check the health status of your hive and feed your colony urgently. Also be aware: if you see sealed queen cells it means that the colony is about to swarm.