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Bee keeping in Thailand



Hey @neil_air and @Steveolevi

My name is Andrew, and I am in Chiang Mai, about to start a flow hive and noticed (and from your post got confirmed) that the beehives supplied by the locals are different sizes.

The suppliers here tell me in my limited Thai that they sell western bees (which were introduced in Thailand 20-30 years ago and supposed to be popular here) but at the same time one supplier told me that they tried a flow hive and the bees did not adapt from the smaller hives they were used too.

I would love to get some progress on this thread as to how you both did. Did you get western bees? Are your hives up and running?

Next time you get together I would love to join and share information. my phone number is 087 154 4506


Hello Andrew

Steve and I are in regular contact, nice to have another person in CM to join our discussion and interest in Bees.

I am based in Hangdong and Steve in CM city.

Steve has half a dozen hives with Italian honey bees, from memory, so he is better qualified than I to answer your query. After my initial bee investigations I am more focused on Stingless bees.

My only observation concerning smaller hives for Apis.Mellifera;

Have you been to the Chiang Mai Bee Centre near the Night Safari, they have a number of hives, all different sizes, leading upto the Stingless Bee display at the rear, full of honey bees.
I am not sure if those hives house Apis.Mellifera or Apis.Cerana but if Apis.Mellifera it would discount the theory they are not adapted to smaller hives.

I know when I was investigating Apis.cerana here I had determined the best hive for them was a Topbar hive, as they like to adscond from Langstroth hives. They seem to prefer a smaller space.

I will check with Steve first and one of us will give you a call asap.



Hey @neil_air Fantastic to hear back from one half of the CM farang beekeepers (that we know so far).

Glad to hear @Steveolevi has the A. Mellifera. I would agree as well that I doubt they do not do well in the larger box (since that is what most of the west is using in bees and there are several hundred videos of those bees making honey in the flow frames).

The difficulty seems to be (in Thailand) finding anyone using the flow hive successfully. We are waiting for our delivery and because they are 30 times the cost of a local hive, I am really hoping it can be made to work here. I am keen to find out if you are having success with it here, or just gone into regular bee keeping.

OMG so many questions. Lets arrange a dinner :slight_smile: I am in CM city as well (although the hives will be in Santapong) Stingless bees? Are they good honey producers?


Hi Andrew,
I have A. Melifera in San Kamphaeng. I dont know anyone that had the Flowhive so I cannot help on the intricacies of its setup or operation.

I use traditional Langstroth hives. I would suggest the best course of action is to have two hives in order to be able compare them regularly to learn what is normal and to be able to recognize when the colony is healthy or made need help.

You are welcome to come and see my hives. At the moment I dont have a car so I cant get around. You can call me uf youd like to chat. 080 804 1899.



There are three bees (aside from native stingless bees) In Thailand. A. Melifera, A. Cerana, and A. Florea. Most common is A. Melifera; they are the easiest to keep in standard (Langstroth) hives. The other two species are wilder and hard to capture and keep.
There are many pests here as well as pesticides to look out for. Mites, moths, ants, lizards, wasps and frogs all take a toll on less than healthy hives. American foulbrood, sacbrood and colony collapse are all things to learn about and contend with here. Sorry to sound like a bummer, but that’s the reality.

Mosquito control spraying, farmers spraying pesticides and somtimes herbicides are real too, depending on where your hives are located. Plan on giving yourself a year to see if you’ll stick with it.


Called and sent a Text. For both of you if you are on Line my Line ID is zarlock (you can not find me by the number). Steve I am so glad you have the langstorth and the western bees, this clears up alot of problems trying to find info for me) I would love to come visit, how is Sunday? I will see you before we go to the Happy farm and buy some stuff (I wanted to measure the size of there frames etc)

I will give you the semi rundown. The first hive is for my business partners parents who are 70 year old farmers and too old to work the land now. I thought if they started out and enjoyed beekeeping they could provide some honey locally to the village. If they liked it, I would finance more hives and attempt to grow clover cover and manuka in their 12 rai of longan trees. Everyone makes longan honey here, but for them to make a living I figured try and provide something the westerner misses from back home. Probably a pipedream as if it could be done I am sure someone would have clover and or manuka planted all over their current farms - but will see how it goes.

The idea was originally to give these hard working almost retired folks an opportunity to make a little without the physical hard work. However the more I have looked into bee keeping , I think I got hooked. I would like to help them, but also be involved as a hobby for myself. The flows seemed ideal as the harvest is easy for a couple of oldies. So long as they make a little to pay for the picking contractors to harvest the fruit all is well. I have no visions of selling pollen or wax based products or going commercial. Just a hobby for me, and a little extra income for them


Sunday is ok for me. I live in Nong Hoy and my bees are in San kamphaeng. I don’t have a car this week. If you could pick me up we can go out to my place and have a look. It would be probably 3 hours total from meeting to finish up. Does that work for you?


Sure does. Can we start around 10am? Text me your address rather than display it publically. 087 154 4506


I live at Riverside condo in Chiang Mai


10:00 am is fine. It’s just a 20 ride out of town to my bees, stop for a coffee if you’d like and come back. See you then.


Will be there 10am. Will try calling when we arrive. Otherwise will be in or close to the lobby


Sounds good. See you Sunday. Thanks for enquiring.


Steve we are downstairs. I may have the wrong number you have never answered it or replied to text


@Steveolevi fantastic spending the morning with you. You were right about the heat stacking the hives (next door condo neighbor came to say goodbye and turns out he does bees in Netherlands)

I thought a small solar fan but he said better to paint and shade. The fan would distrub them.

Many of the farms has all these small flowers around and native bees collecting pollen. So it might be a go. The farmers said the big companies also bring hundreds of hives around Longan season.

If you can get this local weed growing around your area it may help a little. Otherwise it looks like farm might work and you will be welcome to bring a hive or too out if your bees are struggling in that location


Lots of that stuff growing out int he countryside. I think my bees are surviving on it.


Hey guys, we have installed the bees and done a check at week one. Everything seems OK, the brood is hatching but I did not see the queen or any new eggs on the first week. Going to do another check next Sunday if either of you want to come out. Not too worried it may take more than a week - the bees are returning with pollen, but they are a little slow building on the plastic frames.

I decided to try and do a solar air extractor out the top. I figure rather than have half the bees trying to regulate the temp in Thailand, I want them out getting me honey. I got the parts but the themostat does not work so I order some more. I also ordered two more hives because of the price I found

Great news I found hives like this one selling for 2000 baht, that is 1/3rd what I paid last month.
Add me to line ‘zarlock’ and I will share details

So much information I have found, including free government run beekeeping courses (in Thai) and I am excited. We got the starter pack (including Thai 8 frame hive) for 2500. Queen’s are 500 (we may need another)

Anyway I am excited to share and learn


That is definitely not a genuine Flow hive, just so that you are aware. We can help you with the general beekeeping questions, but if you have questions about any plastic frames, we can’t help unless they are genuine Flow frames. :blush:


hello @Dawn_SD No they are longstroth based and plastic frames I am referring to the new plastic ones for the brood box.(rather than the empty frame for the bees to build their own) I want to wait until the bees are healthy before ordering the flow system for the upper box. At the moment this just contains food and water

Here in Thailand there is NO assistance or help using western methods. The Thais have a bee keeping setup that is old and has not adapted. So before getting the flow frames (and putting them in the modified hive) I want to get some experience and build up the bee population.

I want the flow frames, but the shipping costs alone for the flowhives to Thailand make it completely impractical. I am going to modify the existing hives and install the flowframes if the bees can tolerate the heat and look like they will produce honey.


Glad you understand. Many people have been duped by the copycats, I just wanted to make sure that you knew what you have. I understand that it is a real test of motivation trying to keep bees in south east asia, and I am impressed with the start you have made. :blush: