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Brood frame wire


just painting my new Free Flow hive.
Q: Do I need to wire the brood frames?


What do you mean new Free Flow Hive? You got it for free?
You don’t need to wire your brood frames since you don’t intend to spin extract them.
You could let the bees draw their own comb (foundationless) or use foundation or foundation with wire. Your choice.

The flow website has videos on how to assemble your brood frames.

If you go foundationless, you need to check on the bees’ building progress every couple of weeks and correct them if necessary.

If you want to wire and/or use foundation, it is best to consult with a more experienced beekeeper.


Thanks for the reply. NO it was certainly not FREE! I have a small piece of pine in the centre of the frame, that’s all. However there are small holes tp place wire. The video, which is for a different type of hive brood box, shows the placement of a wax sheet and wire.
I might try to use wire, will help the bees?


Any chance of sharing the link and posting a photo of your hive? That will help us to help you. Thank you. :blush:


on the way! just arranging the photos now!


Here are some images;



The photos are really helpful, thank you. The strip of wood is the minimum needed to get the bees to build comb. If you are a new beekeeper (and I think you might be), you may well want to thread the holes with wire or fishing line.

Most traditional beekeepers use wax foundation in the frames, and they heat horizontal wires to embed it into the wax. Many “natural” beekeepers don’t use any foundation at all, which has the advantage of no chemicals or diseases from other hives/beekeepers. The problem is that new wax comb is pretty fragile, and in hot climates, that is even more the case. If you put wire or fishing line across the frame, it will strengthen the comb, and make your inspections much easier. So then you can use natural comb-building from the bees, and not have it fall apart when you are trying to inspect.

I would also caution though, if you choose not to use foundation, you are more likely to have crazy comb in your hive. It will be very important to inspect every one to two weeks and correct any cross-comb building.



Thanks so much Dawn!
Really helpful.
I have been wrestling with stainless steel wire, trying to get it really taught, but have plenty of good fishing line!
Also have some very fine wire that I used to use from my deep sea fishing days as trace wire, very easy to get tight.
And yes, you are right, this is my very first entry into bee keeping!
Live on Mount Tamborine, Gold Coast, which is usually cool to chilly, but hot at the moment.
Thanks again!


My bees on frames with no support - no wires no wax - in my flow brood box are building straight and true like lovely ladies. I am inspecting every week i confess cause i just can’t resist looking!!


I am not a fishing person, but I seem to remember that 40lb nylon fishing line is plenty strong enough. You can use drawing pins (USA calls them thumb tacks), but basically short shank, pushable pins to fix the line to the frame. Medium tight is good enough - it needs to be straight and not easily bendable. Even when the frame is empty, the bees will incorporate the line/wire into their own wax, and it doesn’t hurt them at all. In fact, I think it helps to discourage them from building crazy comb.

Anyway, sounds like you have made a good start, and welcome to the Flow forum. :blush:


Oh and it is hugely hot here at present but the free built comb seems very strong. I don’t shake it or treat it roughly.


I have been keeping bees for over 30 years, but I just got back from an international trip.

We had to adapt to more than 9 hours of time zone adjustment when we got home. I was dropping stuff in my kitchen that would normally be no problem. Little signs like that made me realize that I would not be welcomed by my bees if I was clumsy. I decided not to inspect inspect my hives, even though they probably needed it, because I wasn’t coordinated enough to do it right.

Now I am not saying that all new beekeepers are clumsy, but most are nervous. That makes us tense and distracted. When we have that mindset, rapid and jerky movements are far more likely. We don’t need other factors working against us when we are new and anxious. Putting wires or fishing line into the frames helps to build confidence when inspecting. You are absolutely correct that once the bees fix the sides or bottom of the comb to the frame, it is much less fragile. Also, when a few generations of bee babies have emerged from it, their cocoons reinforce it beautifully. However, for the first few months, as a new beekeeper, I would always recommend wiring or foundation.

Just my humble opinion. :blush:


Oh not doubting you and i love your answers and good sense.
I have two hives and a new beekeeper - me. Experimenting. one has wax foundation. the other is the one with none.
Of course both hives are their own selves too, which i am also experiencing and loving.
So my intention was simply to say that in my hot world on the south coast of NSW i have a hive with support free frame that seems to be doing well with it on 3 frames. One almost full and two with lobes of comb, that are growing.
Agree totally that the mindset makes a huge difference to how i handle them and what happens.


Dawn, haze4rob,
Must apologise for the delayed reply. I have so much gear from years and years of boating and fishing that I have spent the last hours looking for ways to get the stainless steel wire (my preference) to be really taught enough without busting the frames. Was and probably will end up using some fishing line or trace because the stainless wire is harder to keep tight without breaking the fragile frames.
THANK YOU for the advice and the welcome.
Will keep you informed on the outcome.


Hi Jasper,
I thought you fell victim to a fake flow hive seller, calling it Free Flow. According to your picture you fortunately have the genuine article. A friend of mine just got an active flow hive for free and Jeff from the forum here also was gifted one. So it does happen.

Glad Dawn answered you. She gives the best unbiased advice here. Wish I had her experience and patience. Will get there in 30 years.
What are you painting your hive with?
Ensure the gaps between your roof shingles get sealed. For my pine hives the water based sealer/undercoat sealed the gaps.


Hi Webclan,
Painted in low toxiticy paint with undercoat the 2 coats of “Happy Yellow.”\Photos to follow later.
Thanks for the warning regarding the “free” scam. At the time of that reply I thought I was getting an unwelcome reply.
I paid for my hive & will get some more as soon as I learn enough to cope.
Busy settling into our “new” home on an acre plus on the Mountain with all our animals and some extra ones as well.
At the same time have started 3 Mealworm farms for the chickens, which are just starting to produce.
All fun!


Hi Jasper, I gave my flow roof 3 thick coats of paint to seal the joints. Then I siliconed under the gable to stop the capillary action from occurring.

You’ll get plenty of advice on this forum. It’s mostly biased towards what works for different folks in their particular area. That saying “ask 10 beekeepers a question & receive 11 answers” could be true, however each answer would be worth considering.

A lot of beekeeping boils down to common sense. It’s understanding “bee culture” is the most important thing in my view.


Thank you all for your advice and support.
Completed the painting of the hive today.
Then did the stainless steel on the brood frames. Took a while to do this as I think I was trying to hard to keep the wire really taught, so I built a very rough jig on my work bench.
Some photos: my "makeshift paint stirrer.


Main colour, very low toxicity, called “happy Yellow”720e8504-b15f-460b-8a48-78006aa88b83