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Can I move an established hive into my Flow Hive


I had a hive move into an old Wood framed /styrofoam lined cooler on legs last year. We just received our Flow Hive and have positioned the Brood Box on top of the hive in the cooler leaving room from their opening to move up into the Brood box. Will this work?

Any advice?

We thought about cutting an opening in the top but did not want to ruin their hive or hurt the bees. We thought maybe the original box (cooler) would act as a brood box and they could move up to the new one…

Have an established hive - can I expand it into the Flow Hive?

I already answered on the other thread where you asked this:


You profile doesn’t say where in the world you are. However in the US, you are required to be able to inspect your hive for pests and disease. If they are stuck in a cooler, you won’t be able to do that, and you will be in breach of regulations. :worried:


Continuing the discussion from Really want to do this right! Newbie:
I had a hive move into an old Wood frame/styrofoam lined cooler on legs last year. We just received our Flow Hive and have positioned the Brood Box on top of the hive in the cooler leaving room from their opening to move up into the Brood Box. Will this work? We really want to use our local bees that are already on our property.

Any advice?


Maybe partially, but to them, the cooler is their hive. They will not leave it if there is brood on the comb that they made in the cooler. If you want them in your Flow hive, you might do better to get an experienced beekeeper to help you do a cutout. That way, you get the comb from the cooler into your hive frames, and hold it in place with rubber bands. You then put the frames into your new hive, and most of the bees will now rehouse in your Flow hive. The bees attach the comb to the frames and chew off the rubber bands. It isn’t easy to do if you have never done it before, so I really suggest asking for some help.

You will need to remove the cooler though, because to the bees it now smells like home, and they will keep going back to it.


Thank you Dawn. We were hoping that the cooler would act as one Brood Box and this would be a second Brood Box as we live in Idaho and it is suggested to have at least 2…

So you are saying they won’t just expand?



They may expand, but you probably shouldn’t do it that way for the reasons given above.


Just shift them into a regular Lang box or two. As Dawn said, take all the brood comb, cut to shape and size, insert into new frames, tie or band them into place, then put them in your new bee hive. Keep the hive in the same place as the cooler but remove the cooler. They will fly back to the position of the cooler and most likely just go straight into the new hive.


Thank you Sting. I have been watching videos on how to do that but am really nervous as I am new to this. We live in a very Rural area and can’t find any beekeepers around to help. I will continue to study and hopefully get up the nerve to do this. We really want to use the wild bees on our ranch and not bring in bees so I just don’t want to hurt the already established hive.


I guess it is spring there? I am also new to beekeeping- but perhaps someone else can answer- would it be possible to induce the wild hive to split and the swarm to the new hive? Would feeding the wild hive help induce swarming?



I understand the apprehension ! As a much older returning to beekeeping old dude. The things I did as a teen are fuzzy n so much to learn … Beekeepers have to deal with stuff I’d never seen or heard of. Some is like brand NEW to me.

Don’t panic … Take your time, get everything you need, make a rough plan even if you need to write it down then go for it. Everything new is often scary or gives me goose bumps but this 70 year old rooky is moving ahead. Take a couple pix’s n take a break if need be to keep your mind clear. You can Do this Thing ! If I can … You can !

Good luck young lady ! I’m pulling for you ! It will be great experience n later you can help others from your mistakes n good choices. Looking forward to your story with a pix or two.

I volunteer to teach English n often it scares me to death as I am not trained to teach but I love what I DO !

Ta ta n get with it,


@Gerald_Nickel. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. Just what I needed!! We have our plan and everything we need. We were going to cut them out and move them yesterday but the wind would not let up so hopefully we will do it this evening…I will post the story and pics…


Here is the Brood Box on top of the cooler the bees have lived in for 2 years. Our thought is to open the cooler lid in order to access the bees to move. Just wanted to hear if this is the best plan of action…


After 2 years, they have probably filled that cooler, so the comb should be pretty sturdy. However, it is highly likely that they will have attached it to the lid. Not much you can do about that, unless you are willing to turn the cooler upside down and cut the bottom out to access the comb. Of course that will be very disruptive for the bees, and may break some comb in any case.

I suggest opening the lid a crack, then running a long blade along the underside of the cooler lid to cut through the comb. If you don’t have a blade long enough, you could try a length of foundation wire, fishing line, or even dental floss. You just want to separate it so that it doesn’t break as you rotate the lid open. If you don’t want to do that, you could unfasten the hinges, and try lifting the lid, but I suspect it will be too heavy with all of the comb attached, and a lot is going to fall off anyway. I think separating the comb from the lid will give you the best chance of getting it out in the largest possible pieces.

I think your bees are very lucky to have such a careful attentive keeper. Please keep us updated when you can, and photos would be wonderful if you are able to take them as you do the cutout. I wish you all the best!


@Dawn_SD. Thank you that is what our plan is- Open it a crack and carefully cut it loose as we too suspect they are hanging from the top! Wish us luck!!


Sounds good. Wishing you tons of luck and lots of fun! :smile: :four_leaf_clover:

Remember to relax and enjoy it. If you don’t see the queen, but you still have eggs or very young uncapped larvae, don’t panic, they can make another queen for you.


would it be possible to remove the hinges from the lid- then after cutting around the edges to break any propolis seal- lift the entire lid off vertically and place it on a makeshift stand by the edges so the comb hangs down and can be removed with less damage/disturbance?


Nope, that comb is going to be attached to the sides of the box by brace and will be a big sticky stuck block of bees wax and honey. No easy way to do this. Cutouts are messy.

  • yes silly me- after I thought about it I realised it would all be attached to the sides as well. How about inducing them to swarm? Is that a possibility?


Well we did it last night. It was a great learning experience. Once we carefully cut off the styrofoam top and opened we realized that it was soooo full that we were not going to have enough frames. We took brood and larvae and some combs of honey and still had so many in the cooler. We closed the cooler back up and put the brood box with what we had taken next to it. This morning most were still in cooler. Tonight we are going to sort what we took and then take the best of the brood out and put in our box and then move the cooler. Hopefully that will work. Any suggestions?