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(Almost) Perfect Ikea tray for screened base

Hi Flow users

I have tried a few things the replace the corflute base of the Flow hive with something to fill with oil to catch small hive beetle. Recently, I found the (almost) perfect thing.

Its a tray from Ikea, called Poppig. Its $10 in Australia. Food-safe, rigid, should last forever. The lip slides into the grooves in the Flow hive. Its flat enough to be used in the top or bottom slots.

I say almost perfect because it was just a touch wide for my hive. I had to shave off about 1mm from each edge. I used a rasp (a coarse file) and then some sandpaper to smooth. Length-wise its a perfect fit.

The view from below - please ignore cobwebs.


I think if someone is going to invest any money & time, a good improvement would be to convert the sbb to a solid floor with no step down after the bees enter the hive. In other words, a flat floor. It will be much easier for the bees to keep the floor clean.

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now to find my nearest Ikea

Ha ha- I just bought two of these trays to use in the long hive I am building. I didn’t think they would be such a close/perfect fit for the regular flow hive. These could work well with diatomaceous earth as well as oil. Nice!

The other day I noticed at Coles- they had anodised metal cookie/baking trays that look to be almost the exact same size and dimensions as these ikea trays- and they are only $7. I might bring in a tape measure and see if they will also fit.

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I looked at various metal trays, including the ones you mentioned. They were not quite the right width and metal is much harder to modify than plastic. Some of them also have a slightly curled or sloping edge, meaning they would not slide in. The Ikea tray has 3mm thick edges, and flat (i.e. 90 degrees to the hive wall).

the only concern I had with those ikea trays is that they are made from compressed paper- sealed with some kind of plastic layer I guess. I am not sure if they might swell up if exposed to damp for a long period? If you shaved down the edge- it might be a good idea to seal that area with wood glue or something?

@JeffH I am not sure if the sbb has a step down? I think the opening is flush with the screened bottom? so when you insert the coreflute into the top slot you virtually have a solid floor. Though maybe harder for bees to ‘sweep’ with the mesh layer perhaps?

One advantage of the screened bottom with a flow hive is that if any honey leaks at harvest it falls through the screen and can be collected on a tray or on the coreflute. If you had a solid bottom it would pool there and could maybe trap/drown some bees? Having said that last time I drained my flow frames there was no leakage I could see.

Hi Jack, with all of the flow bottom boards I’ve seen, there is a step down to the sbb. If a person was to convert one to a solid floor, he/she would need to make the floor flush with the part before it steps down. Then you could probably place a couple of drain holes. This has been my recommendation to all of the flow customers if the opportunity arises. Honey spills into the brood is a new thing to beekeeping since the flow hive. I believe it is a slyme-out waiting to happen in areas where shb are present.


I use Correx (which is the equivalent) for my inspection trays here in the UK
You can buy it 10x4 ft in different thicknesses and cut it to size with a saw

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#Arulen, thank you. I’ve been out to measure up all the baking trays I had and hadn’t thought of IKEA, but of course!

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I just checked these trays against my hoop pine flow hive - and unfortunately they don’t fit. you would need to cut off around 1cm or more of each side- taking almost the entire lip of the sides of the tray. So it looks like they will only fit the cedar flow hives.

That is an awesome idea. I have a problem sometimes there are bees down there as well. I think there is a problem with the mesh and they are chasing the beetles. The are always cranky if I find them below. I have a fly screen over the rear entry so they cant come in that way. I know some people have complained that the mesh was damaged or moved or what ever. I have been using the carpet on the corflute approach. I also sprinkle diamatish earth ( im not going to spell check) on the carpet. I find the beetles are below on hot days. I have a great idea however it will mean fixing my mesh before I can try it as I don’t want to hurt any bees. So that is a full pull apart of the hive. I only have one and no spare boxes. Is this possible or should I just order a new base and deal with the original one later?

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I love having spares of everything, so I would order one. :blush: However, if you can’t, you can easily fix it. Put the inner cover next to the hive, then put both of the hive boxes on top of it. Putting that down first maintains the bee space under the lowest box, and helps prevent squishing bees. If a lot of bees are bubbling out of the top box, you could cover it with an old pillow case.

Now you can inspect and fix your SBB with a dinner fork, as suggested by Cedar when this issue first came up. Then just reassemble the hive. The bees will be fine as long as you don’t take more than an hour or so.

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Thanks dawn.

Ill have to wait a few more weeks I broke my neck Christmas eve so a few more weeks till lifting stuff. These beetles are a right pest.

We have shb in Brisbane. Honey spilling to the brood is not new because of Flow Hive, if the bees build burr comb in the lid, opening the lid means honey is spilt and it could drip down to the brood. I put a solid board on the bottom of my flow hive bottom board, so it is enclosed and used the cross bar piece of wood as a door. I don’t want the bees sealing up the mesh with propolis. I used a $2 plastic tray from Kmart and just shaved off part of the lip and it works fine. I put hydrated lime (builder’s lime) in the tray, which works the same as diatomaceous earth, but is much cheaper and has added benefit in the garden. Do not use garden lime. best wishes

You’re talking about honey spills that we know about, bees will always clean up spills like you’re describing. However it’s the unknown quantity of honey that spills onto the brood that we’ve all seen photos of. The honey that flows through the brood & onto the ground.

A local flow owner bought some wax foundation from me. A week later he phoned me to ask what he should do because he had a shb slyme-out a couple of days after he harvested honey. He told me that while harvesting the honey, the honey ran through the brood & onto the ground.

I came to a conclusion that (& this was after something I saw in my observation hive) the bees are continually coraling the beetles into hiding places. When there is a major honey spill (not like the ones we get from time to time, like you describe), the workers are flat out trying to clean it up. During that time the beetles get a chance to break loose & go on an egg laying spree. The workers are torn between looking after the brood, cleaning up the honey & trying to stop the beetles egg laying spree all at the same time. It is absolute chaos. I’d say that this is what happened to the local flow owner.

This is why I’m not a fan of large honey spills into the brood in areas where shb are present.

Edit- On top of that, if you have a sbb covered in hive debris, bits of pollen, the odd chalk brood mummy etc. You get that soaked with honey, the beetles will have a field day laying eggs in that. It’s a recipe for disaster.

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That’s right, @JeffH - there’s a slight step down from the landing just inside the entrance. Found this out while doing oxalic acid vape treatment, when the wand slipped down a bit as I moved it in.

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I was responding to your comment “Honey spills into the brood is a new thing to beekeeping since the flow hive.” Which implied, to me, we did not know about it before. Qualifying your statement with ‘major brood…’ or something, would seem to have worked better.

Yes, I agree that’s what seems to have happened to the local Flow owner who had the slime out.

I’m not a fan of large honey spills into the brood at any time or place.

Yes, I agree if you have a sbb covered in AND no tray with hydrated lime, diatomaceous earth or oil, then overflowing honey and all the hive debris will be a recipe for disaster.

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The last two times I harvested my flow frames- I didn’t see any honey falling down onto the coreflute at all. I think if you have a screened bottom- even if honey did leak it wouldn’t be that much of an issue? I can see some honey running over the faces of the frames- and out through the bottom- but I would have thought the bees wouldn’t have to spend that much time to lick it up? On my mothers hive when we harvested and had some spillage- the bees were able to lick up a pool of honey at the entrance in just 20 minutes or so. After the first harvest- spillages have been minimal from that hive. Luckily we don’t have any issue with beetles that we have seen yet here in South Australia

Hi Jack, I should make a video to replicate what I saw in my observation hive a couple of weeks ago.

On top of what I previously said, if a hive has a large drone population, that will make matters worse. With a large amount of drones in the brood & shb’s hiding nearby: Once you get a large honey spill into the brood, the workers have to tend to the brood, lick up the honey & try to stop the beetles from laying eggs all at the same time. And to make matters worse, the drones will just get in the way & make the workers job that much harder.

The thing is: You know how much honey spilled at your entrance, but you don’t know how much spilled inside the hive unless you took a look. If honey does spill over the brood, as what happens sometimes when harvesting honey from a flow frame, it will be an unknown quantity, unless the beekeeper takes a look.

It’s in areas where SHB are present that I see the most concern in regards to honey spills.

Hi Br. Joe, honey spills such as the spills people are getting whilst harvesting honey from a flow frame IS new to beekeeping because the spill is an unknown quantity unless the beekeeper takes a look & that takes away the advantage of the flow frames. We all get minor honey spill while working our bees, (that’s not new) in those cases we’re on the job & we know exactly how much honey is spilt & we’re able to deal with it if we feel we need to.