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Changing Frames


Just want to state before I begin that I am a complete Newbie to Bees and Beekeeping. I have 1 Flow Hive and have harvested honey from it twice, and am very concerned that I am doing the right thing by my bees. I have had a little help from a local beekeeper who keeps traditional hives and he helped me with a nucleus to get started. He told me that I have to replace the two outer frames in my brood box with two new frames with foundation wax which I could buy from our local beekeeping suppliers. I’m slightly confused as I thought that the frames in the brood box are made from a special plastic which allows them to be split and drained. Is the brood box able to be changed over to traditional frames? He also changed the timber on my original frames as he said it was too light and wouldn’t hold up well. I would be grateful for any help/advice.


Lorri, actually the frames in the brood box are standard wooden frames that are used in Langstroth hives the world over. Some people use them just as they come from Flow hive, empty with a starter strip of wood or foundation, and others choose to wire them and add full sheets of foundation. The plastic frames which split are in the super where the bees produce excess honey which we harvest.


I am a bit confused, because I think probably you are too! :blush: I think we need to clarify some basic beekeeping terminology here. The brood box is the lower box on the hive, below the queen excluder. It is where the queen lays eggs and new bees are born. You should not have the plastic Flow frames in that box. The plastic Flow frames go in the upper box, above the queen excluder. The upper box is known as the honey super. On the Flow hive, it has clear plastic windows for you to check on the frames. That box should always be on the top of the hive.

Now, for the original question:

Not everybody accepts this idea, but it is based on the idea that it is healthier to raise bees in wax comb which has not accumulated chemicals, including pesticides, over the years. For this reason, many (but not all) beekeepers will switch out wax frames which are 3 years old or more. It is common practice to do this by changing just 2 or 3 frames in each box once a year. This concept does not apply to the plastic Flow frames in the honey super, only to all-wax wooden frames.

The wood frames in the Flow hive are perfectly standard. He is probably used to wired frames, which are much easier to handle when they are full of fragile new comb and the first few rounds of brood. Those “foundationless” unwired frames are very hard to inspect without breaking the comb, especially for a new beekeeper. I think that is why he changed your frames, but some photos would help if you are able to take any. :wink:

Please ask if you have any more questions, or if what I wrote doesn’t make sense to you.


Hi Cathiemac,
Thanks for your reply…I’ve been searching the internet for more info and I think I’m beginning to get the idea, so much info out there it’s hard to know where to start.


Hi Dawn,
So informative…thank you so much for this…makes so much sense now plus I have been reading up on the subject as well. I really want to make a success of this and there is so much still to learn. Thank you so much for your time and help. My bees are much better for it!