Converting to a horizontal hive

Hi folks! I’ve seen a few posts of people considering using Flow Frames with a TBH, and was wondering- has anyone actually done so?

We currently have 3 hives, all medium boxes and all foundationless (because @Michael_Bush) except for the flow supers & frames (because so far they only come in deep?)

Due to back issues I can longer lift an 8 frame medium full of honey, and thus am considering converting to a horizontal or “long langstroth” as I’ve seen them called.

I have a wonderful husband who can and will build absolutely anything. I’m just wondering:

  • have any of you seen any horizontal hives functioning with Flow frames?
  • have any of you seen any plans to this effect?

Many thanks!


Any horizontal Langstroth deep hive would work.


Here’s my first back-of-the-envelope sketch:

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But then we’d need to reconvert to deep frames right? And lose all the advantages of the mediums? (If I remember correctly, easier to keep brood warm, easier to inspect?)

I have a simple solution in regards to lifting heavy boxes of honey. Remove half of the frames first.


I believe that @Semaphore built a beautiful long Langstroth with Flow frames in it. :wink:


Agreed! I do that whenever possible. There are however occasions when I need to move a boxes without removing frames.

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I lifted a heavy box this morning, I didn’t think it was as heavy as it turned out to be. I know I should have lightened it, but I was in a hurry. I have never come across an occasion when I couldn’t remove frames to lighten a box. It just makes the job a bit longer.

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Found it, thanks Dawn!! And @Schnucki has one to die for :dizzy_face:

But have you seen @Semaphore’s? His is to die twice for! :smiley:

Can you please direct me to it? I’m also keen to tinker with a long hive. cheers, Paul

I only saw a sketch! This one:

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This one is from @Schnucki


I think Jack’s (@Semaphore) is sealed natural wood. If I recall correctly, it looks stunning.

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Hey Dawn- you must have have a healthy imagination- as to date I have not unveiled my hive. You probably confused all my talk of it- and then the photos of the all natural wood 5 frame Nuc hive tower hives I did unveil :wink:

The good news is: I am about 1 week away from finally getting a colony into my first long hive. All I am waiting on now is the new flow frames to go in- and they are on their way. I have an established colony ready and the first hive is now completely assembled.

I have been watching videos of people managing long langstoths on youtube and I am really excited to get mine up and running. It seems like there are a lot of advantages to this system especially for the back yard hobbyist. Some of the big advantages are- the ease with which you can rotate frames out of the hive, the ability to easily expand and contract the size of the colony- and having everything at the same ergonomic height- and of course no boxes to lift. There is no doubt that the idea works- what hasn’t been established yet is if it will work with flow frames. I’m not sure how schnucki’s hive is doing- last I heard his bees didn’t take to the flow frames. I am a little concerned by that- but soon I will be able to see for myself.

here is a video I watched last week- look how relaxed the bees are- for that matter look how relaxed the bee keeper is! It’s kind of hypnotically slow going (no gloves and just a loose veil):

My one concern is that the bees prefer to put honey upstairs. However- I have watched some videos of top bar hives where there are some really nice fat frames of honey being harvested from the ends of the colony- and I am hoping the bees will take to a honey storage area at one end of the hive.

This brings me to a question: I have noticed in my own hives that the bees tend to fill supers from the south side more that from the north side. Is this something other people have noticed? On my long hive design I have the flow frames on the left hand end when you face the hive at the front entrance. I am now wondering what would be the best orientation to position my hive? It seems if I have the entrance facing to the east that will be the best? Does it matter terribly what direction the entrance of a hive faces?

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Nah, I am just getting senile! :blush: You do create beautiful hives though.


I love you little plan Olivia- one thing- I think if I was you I would go with full depth frames so they match the flow frame size- and also so you can fit a reasonably large horizontal queen excluder. If you used medium frames the area where the two sections meet would not be very large and your QX wouldn’t have much surface area. Also when you are making the box it would be easier to have the one long box with rebates down both sides- rather than attaching to separate boxes. I will also be simpler to design a one level roof rather than having two roofs…

If you make the hive exactly the length of two 10 frame boxes- you also have the option of stacking medium or shallow supers on top- like this long hive:

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Thanks Jack!! I could definitely do deeps; my husband would probably find it easier to build, too, it’s just that every single one of our 60 frames in use are mediums, as are the 40 in reserve… Perhaps i’ll have him make a modular hive that can adapt to both sizes, that should keep him busy for at least a week… :wink:

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Oh and would you mind posting the photos of your nuc towers? We’re currently setting out to fill San Francisco with swarm bait hives* and have been thinking that a double-medium 5-frame would be a good start!!

*(meaning: we have put a single bait hive high up in a tree and are cosnidering putting up a second one :wink: )

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your wish is my command:

You could use medium frames - and still have a one sized/roofed box- if you had a ‘spacer’ sitting underneath the medium frames. Or - thinking about it- you could go with a design like your one above- but instead of having the flow end sticking up higher than the rest- have it hanging down below- and flush at the top? That way when you cut the rebates for the frame rest you would just make a single cut all the way along.

In about one week- I should be ready to post photos of my complete hive here.

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