2 flow frames at a time

As always with all my post if this is another subject somewhere else please let me know and redirect to me.

Was just thinking about next season and if it would be feasible to only put in to flow frames at a time. I would build two spacers that would take the space of the other four frames. An would remove one of them and add two other frames at the time needed.

Thought process around this was to force the bees to fill up certain frames sooner so I can harvest two frames at a time with a different variety of pollen and honey taste.

Thoughts and comment please


If you have the time to do all the fiddling then I see no reason it would not work. Would be an interesting experiment.


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I was wondering about doing something similar, but I hadn’t thought of that benefit. I’m considering spreading my 6 flow frames across 2 hives.

I’ve had to split my hive this season because of the risk of swarming and so now have 2 colonies (presuming the split works). I don’t particularly want two different extraction techniques but can’t justify purchasing additional flow frames.

Would love to see how you do it for ideas.

the only downside I can see to this idea, imagine a standard hive/flow box with 6 or 7 flow frames, and lets say 50,000 bees, so by adding only two frames and blocking out the other space, 50,000 bees are still trying to get into that area, as the area is greatly reduced, would that in fact make them more wanting to swarm, ?

and if you didn’t block off the area and just left it open space for them, they’d build brace comb

Dexter so right. There is nowhere near enough space for the bees. They need room to put nectar and ripen it whilst capping the Flows. Bees will not cap cells while there is a good flow coming in then wait patiently for the beekeeper to empty the frames for them. Restrict their space and they will make swarm preps

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The other negative I thought last night about was hive beetles would this provide a space for hive beetles to flourish and run to that the bees not necessarily can defend and or larvae to produce.

I like the idea of what I’m thinking and may try it still but looking for any possible negative feedback so I can at least process it and or devise a way to prevent it.

This is such a unique way of harvesting honey just thinking of managing the honey flow i.e. harvesting throughout the year as opposed to waiting till mid summer.

Certainly when there are 50,000 bees in the hive I think by that time I would have all 6 frames in place

What I was initially thinking is when adding the 2nd brood box adding it to flow frames with the spacers in place. Maybe trying to convince them that the brood box truly is only for brood and the flow frames are there for honey. Something along those lines is what I was thinking

I have been wondering if it’s possible to get as much honey from 4 frames as from 6- if you harvested more often- I am guessing the answer is yes- but the issue of overcrowding at the comb seems like it could be an issue.

Perhaps using hybrid supers and making comb honey is the answer to possible overcrowding? For the hobbyist beekeeper - flow and standard frames can provide honey, comb honey and beeswax. Using hybrid supers you can also more easily create more drawn combs for expanding and starting new hives if you wanted to. Supposedly there is no greater asset to a beekeeper than drawn combs…

@Dee @Dunc I think spreading 6 flow frames across 2 hives could work very well- in theory- and with management. Are there many user reports yet of managing a hybrid flow super?

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OK another thought?

What if I put in all 6 flow frames, BUT one set 2 for operation ie the other 4 would be in the open for flow position. Thoughts?

Then close the others after the bees need more from for honey?

Asking for trouble… :blush: I think that is a setup for confused bees, leaks and an inefficient harvest if they fill and cap the “open” frames. I wouldn’t do it. :wink:

I just had another thought too. :blush: You are an architect. A very good and talented architect. Drywall, cement and rebar can be shaped to your concept. Bees can’t. Bees will do what bees do, they won’t necessarily do what you want, and trying to make them do what you want will often end in tears… :smile:

Still love ya, Marty! :wink:

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Yes, I do get it :slight_smile: and I’m glad you still like me :slight_smile: I just posted some photos of the swarm I will be transferring soon. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

And concerning the idea of putting the flow frames in and not setting them appropriately i.e. for the bees to put honey in yes, I thought about it would add some major confusion to them as well. That’s why I don’t mind putting myself out there and getting other thoughts.


Semaphore, this is where I am leaning for next spring…as a hobbyist I have 2 hives, one is a split from a swarm attempt of my 1st hive so no honey this first year. The bees are doing some prep work on my flow frames. Thinking next year I will split the frames between the 2 and harvest honey comb from the standard frames…I like the idea of both.

I have been thinking about dummy frames to force the bees to the flow hives too and finally got down to making it happen.

I have two 8 frame hives and the bottom brood boxes are full of bees (started in spring of 2016). So decided to add a Honey box to see if can get a harvest this fall.

8 spacers cost me about $20 and Assembled spacers in 2 hrs
1.Started with a 2x10x12 ft untreated Pine from Lowes. Had Lowes cut it for me an 18" inches wide. Got 8 Blank pieces.
2. Needed 16 L brackets
3. Some wire
4. Screws

So here are the pictures:
Took L Bracket and straightened it.

Screwed the Bracket to the wood using 2" Screws. Note I added some wire to help me lift up spacer using hive tool

Comparing the spacer to a regular frame (Note I have rubbed bee wax on the metal. Am trying not to keep exposed metal in the bee hive):

Spacers in a 8 frame hive (Fit Test):

Drumroll please:
Spacers and Flow hive in my 1st honey box (4 spacers, 3 flow frames):
The frames on the left is what I took out. They were regular frames.

Spacers and Flow hive in my 2nd honey box (3 spacers, 3 flow frames, 1 regular frame): (Want to see if the bees like regular frame or flow frame)

My hives: ( started with the flow hive and purchased another 8 frame hive. Good thing that parts are inter changeable)

I’m curious…Do you live in an area where there is a constant slow income of nectar or do you get periods of heavy flow and dearth?
I ask because if it’s the latter the bees need space to ripen the nectar and put fresh supplies in and would need more room than three flow frames. If there is a constant dribble of income it might work if you can harvest one frame at a time to give them space

I live in central Austin (Urban) so there is a constant flow of honey and pollen from gardens in peoples homes that are watered. (At least this is what I think and what I hear). If the flow increases I can add real frames back.
Any Austin folks who know when the flow is? I hear there is one in fall if we have rains. We had a ton of rain out here over the last 2 weeks so hoping for a good nectar flow.

Vary Nice, sort of what I was thinking as well. I will build on the idea when I start mine. Great thoughts, I will have to look at the brackets you have used.

My only fear I have is have beetles and giving them a place to hide or larvae where the bees can’t get to.

The Bracket is simple. $.50 at lowes and hammer it out with 3 lb hammer. Pressed the boards against each other to reduce hive beetles.

For Hive Beetle I have used " Beetle Be Gone " cloth
( https://www.beeweaver.com/buy_beeweaver/beetle_bee_gone)
Drop a few sheets in each brood box (corners work best) and the bees attack it and turn this cloth into a ball. The hive beetles go in and cannot get out. Although I have not eliminated them completely, must say I have reduced them. Added beetle blaster traps to the hive today. Will see how well they work in two weeks.

I use both in my hive. The cloth at the vary top of the hive and the traps down in the hive.