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Assembling the flow hive what went right and a few complications


We received our Flow Hive wooden ware over Christmas. I made a video of my husband assembling it. You can see what went easy, and what did not. At the end of the video he gives a brief summary of our assembly experience. The video is posted at: http://www.scholarsrusticgarden.com

It would be fun to know what others assembly experiences were like. Post what went right and what didn’t go so right during your flow hive assembly. What did you think of the instructions that came with the kit?

Open the box! take the honey! No- OPEN THE BOX!

Hi LadyBee,

I assembled my hive just under a week ago and the issues I had were:

  • Pilot holes in my roof panels off 1/4 inch on one end requiring new holes further down the panel
  • Plexiglass was larger than the hole cut for it and required chiseling.
  • Tool access cover was warped and required planing
  • One brood box panel was cracked
  • The Main Flow cover needed sanding and chiseling so it could be removed. It was too tight of a fit.

I feel the premium I paid for the hive was not reflected in the craftsmanship.


I’ve had no issues with my boxes. The back panel for the flow is a little tight but nothing that would require sanding or chiseling at all. I now have 2 deep brood boxes (ordered an extra from BeeThinking), and the flow box, so far it looks beautiful. I found the instructions very easy to follow.


Hi Bobby. Sounds like you had quite a few issues! Thankfully our complications were not quite so challenging. We did have to move several of the “predrilled” holes, including the one for the flow key panel latch. We also had to sand the latch down to make it smaller. Overall though, it sounds like we had fewer troubles than you. I kind of wondered what the quality control was going to be like and how different of experiences we would all have.


I was also thinking that I want another brood box. I’ll have to check out Bee Thinking


This is what mine looks like, with the extra brood box. I’m thinking to let it air out outside tomorrow. My basement smells a lot like Tung Oil :smile:


That is beautiful! I need to put the tung oil on. Hopefully this weekend. It’s cold here, so my basement will be smelling pretty to:) haha


@beethinking inking posted recently that all of their hives are built to match the flowhives so if you care about small size variations and matching wood types (I do ; -) they are a good option.

Otherwise any Lang will work.


Good to know! Like you, I want it to match:)


I had similar problems. I ordered two Full Flow boxes

  • The access panels on the end of the box were a wee bit snug. I consider that a plus, though. I would rather have to sand a bit, then to have it too loose.
  • The pilot holes for the large closure (with the logo) were off 1/8", so it couldn’t be pivoted out of the way for the end panel to be removed.
  • Rebate was slightly too small to receive plexiglass
  • One of the small pivoting closures had been drilled twice. Once, in the proper location, the second between the center and the edge. I have asked for a replacement.

Overall, I am pleased. A free upgrade to cedar, and they delivered by December 2015. Pretty good performance for a company started from nothing, less than a year ago.

So, when is FlowHive’s official first birthday? Is it in February?

2/8/16 I received the replacement part in the mail. Thanks, Flow Team!


Nice picture. Why did you choose two brood boxes?


It’s been recommended to go with 2 brood boxes to help over-winter the bees. Many in the USA will have 2 brood, even 3 brood deeps, then a couple mediums for the honey supers. It can be, from what i’ve heard, be used to prevent swarms.


Some great ideas, thanks for sharing. I would like to add that the problems i’m reading here were similar to the problems we had. We are extremely pleased with the end result. Nothing was a major problem and it was a pleasure to see how rustic the design and materials are. I am sure that if this design was put in corporate hands every thing would fit perfectly, probably cheaper and no where near as eco friendly. We will be adding a brood box soon and when our little buddies are doing well enough we will be getting another hive. and ozy ozy ozy.
Thanks guys, Roy and Jen.


I just completed assembling my Flow Hive today–one super and one brood ordered from Flow. Generally, I agree with the comments here. I definitely had to do some sanding, most notably on the corner dovetails, the observation window inset and the rear window cover (to make it a bit easier to pull off with the knobs). One screw hole was slightly off on the one of the roof pieces, but was not a huge deal. The cedar is very soft, so a fine wood file and coarse sand paper did the trick. As at least one other respondent said, better a bit tight than too loose.

One tip I came up with…when assembling the roof, the instructions say to “lift the back panel so it aligns with the rake of the roof”. I found that 5 of the provided comb guides stacked on top of each other raised the back panel to just the right height. Of course, this option was only available because I skipped past the frame assembly instructions. Would be good to see the instructions possibly modified to make use of this “built in” capability.

Note, I skipped the frame assembly step because I naively thought that the Flow frames would somehow need to get “attached” to the wooden frames in the Flow Hive kit (I haven’t received my Flow frames yet, just the Flow Hive). After looking at the pictures more closely, I believe that the Flow frames are complete, i.e. they require no other assembly into the wooden pieces in the Flow Hive kit. Would love to hear some confirmation from the forum! Which leads me to a follow up question…are the 7 wooden frames in the Flow Hive kit meant for the brood box? Do they need some sort of substrate (purchased separately)?


The Flow frames come ready to place in the hive - no attachment of wood required.

You should have 8 wood frames, and yes they are for the brood box. They don’t “need” substrate (such as wax foundation), but you can use it if you want. Otherwise, just assemble per the Flow instructions, and the bees will use the comb guide to draw their own foundation and comb. Flow has made a video to explain all this:


Thank you! Yes, I will look at the videos more thoroughly.

And yes, I did have eight wooden frames!


Also, I learned that using the wood frames depends on whether you purchase a bee package (just bees and a queen) or if you buy a nuc (contains bees and queen that are delivered with the brood and honey comb that the were “raised” in. If you just buy the bee package, then you’ll use the wooden frames in the brood box. But if you buy a nuc, you will transfer the (typically 5) frames that come with your bees. Then place the empty wooden frames that came with the flow hive on the “outside” of the nuc frames. You can YouTube installing a nuc or installing a bee package and their are some good videos showing the process for each.

I decided to purchase the nuc. It was a bit more expensive, but I thought it might give my bees a bit of a head start in getting settled. My local mentor said that either way is fine though. Just with a package of bees you need to be sure to have sugar feed for them t get starts. (I guess you still give a nuc sugar as well, but it’s not “as” imperative.

Anyway…that’s my newbie take on it:)


Hey! Just received my Flow Hive and everything went well with the boxes. I’ve never had bees before. Now I need to put the (8) frames together.
Q: Do the “comb guides” go on the top bar or the bottom bar of the frames? Or does it matter? There are groves in both top and bottom. But there are only eight guides, not sixteen.
Thanks in advance.
PS. Why the 4 holes on the frame sides?


The comb guides go on the top. The reason for 2 slots is if you use a plastic foundations instead.
As for the holes, thats for wax foundations to give it strength.
There is a video on building frames and it includes the wires. you can find it in the flow youtube channel.


Thanks so much for the info. I still find it amazing that bees can know what to do. But then, Nature is full of cool stuff.
I’ve got the frames together and I’ll glue the guides in and then I can coat the exterior and wait on the FLOW Frames!