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Experience Bee Keeper will not sell me a NUC with the Flow Hive


I bought the beautiful Flow Hive. I went to my first beekeeping class with a teacher who is highly respected with 45 years in the commercial bee industry. I live on Long Island. He refused to sell me a NUC because I have this hive which I just bought. His reason is that because of the spacing they will die in the winter so he won’t sell me bees. What can I do about keeping them alive in the winter?? Can I buy a NUC.


But the Flow hive is a Langstroth hive with a different super for honey on top. So is he saying that the Langstroth hive is NO good for bees due to the spacing? or he just doesn’t like you because you bought a Flow hive? You don’t have to buy your bees from him. Plenty of beekeepers and around selling packages or Nucs, you just have to locate someone else… and don’t go back to this guy for anymore classes.


Randy … Rod is correct 100% ! Your basic flow-hive set up is an 8 frame regular old Langstroth hive. Nothing more n nothing less ! Living up North you’ll have to add one additional 8 frame deep super. I doubt you will even us the actual Flow-Honey-Hảvest super with the fancy plastic frames.

I really don’t understand these supposed bee experts. You could kill your colony in one of his 10 frame double deep setup just as easy.

I’d quickly let your fingers do the walking n try to quickly find a source for a Nuc or check with another member of your club. He sure isn’t proving to be the best fish in the Sea !

Don’t worry ! I’ve gotten crap about having a Flow also. But I really don’t care because I know it’s the same same as theirs ! At least I’m not prejudice n blind both. Just take your “nickels” n buy one from another vender !! Don’t give up or get discouraged. We might not be quite as chilly out here in Puget Sound but got close n my Flow-colony made it gang-busters thru some chilly/snowy/wet stuff. Wet n cold can actually kill off Bees more quickly than dry cold !

So don’t give up the ship n find yourself another better n more worthy mentor. That one sucks big time. Prove wrong just like this 72 year man is over here. My local dissenters now are wanting invited to my summer harvest with tougue in cheek … I’m loving it !! I have an internal hive instrument package that proved n recorded how well my bees did all winter n I also took
Infra-red pix … Trust me Flow-hive work !

Good luck n get with it … Times a waisting bro.


P.S. I have a hive instrument package in my flow n showed me all winter how well my bees were doing … Occasionally I also took these infrared pix. Bees did great all winter !


find another Nuc supplier.

Or ask him to come onto this forum and engage in a discussion so he can explain his reasoning- and see if his concerns are legitimate- and/or can be answered/dealt with in a constructive manner.

If his concern is with leaving the flow frames on over winter- perhaps you can tell him that that isn’t necessary. If it’s the smaller size of the 8 frame box- you can always add a second.

for what it is worth: I saw many experienced beekeepers saying the flow will not work. Sight unseen they ‘knew’ it wouldn’t work. Fact is: it does work- I have seen it with my own eyes. Just because they are experienced- does not mean they are open to change. In fact- often the opposite is true.


Hi all, Australia here, had my Flow since Oct 16, now the frames are chockers with honey, went to bee club last Sunday, there was a visiting OLD beekeeper there, said he got out of bees cause of shoulder issues, still has 4 hives, his son bought a Flow Hive, he was amazed when they harvested, told me he will get rid of his hives, sons Flow will keep the family in honey, so, don’t give up, there are people out there who will help you, good luck.


What part of the world are you in, may be there are other people who sell Nuc’s.


This is absolute rubbish. Plenty of people with a climate worse than yours have overwintered bees in Flow hives successfully. After all, it is just an 8-frame Langstroth hive. If he is worried that it only has 8 frames and they won’t have enough food, he has a good point. You should probably buy a second deep box and run on 2 or 3 deeps. Lots of people do that, including @Red_Hot_Chilipepper (Ed) just across from you in NJ, and @Michael_Bush successfully overwinters hives a long way west of you (probably much colder winters) in three medium brood boxes. So there is no reason why you can’t do it, as long as you have enough brood boxes.

If he just has something against the Flow hive, you could tell him that you bought a Langstroth for his nucleus. If he doesn’t help you install the bees, he would never know that it is a Flow hive. It is still the truth, so you wouldn’t be lying! :blush:

Your other choice is to find another nucleus supplier. There must be plenty in your area, and Ed may even have some bees to sell if he needs to split his hives this spring. That would mean a run to NJ, but perhaps it would be worth it. Your local bee club may also know of suppliers. Don’t tell the nucleus seller that you have a Flow hive - just call it an 8-frame Langstroth hive. That will bypass all of the prejudice out there. Come back here and ask more questions any time, and we will do our best to help.


I can’t help but feel there is more to this story.

Not sure why everyone believes it wholesale.

Look at the current temps in Long Island.

You want to try and establish a Nuc into a hive without foundation (or no drawn comb at best) when the outside temps are around 2 degrees c?

I sure as hell wouldn’t be sentencing a nuc to death by selling one to you at this time of year, Flow hive or otherwise.

Maybe he is highly respected because he knows what he’s talking about, and he’s putting the bees survival above your need for instant gratification?


I think if you are going to do further classes with this teacher, a good idea would be to learn from him & at the same time convince him that you know sufficient to take care of the bees, regardless of what type of hive you intend on keeping the bees in.

Sounds like he has an issue with 8 frames in a brood box that can take almost 9 frames. Maybe if you tell him you are going to shave a little bit off each frame so you can add an extra frame, that will show him that you are gaining an understanding of how to keep bees in your cold climate.


My guess is that the mentor has advised against installing a nuc in an 8 frame box at this time of year because of the low temperature. If you did this, the cavity would be too big for 5 frames of bees and the bees aren’t going to draw comb or expand numbers in 2 degree temperatures to keep the cavity/brood warm. They will struggle to stay warm with no stores and large cavity to heat… and will perish.

This is good advice and should be followed. It’s nothing to do with being a Flow owner, or that the mentor is a commercial beekeeper, it’s a simple fact. Installing a 5 frame nuc in an 8 frame box with 3 empty frames at this time of year on Long Island is a bad idea.


Find another teacher. He apparently does not believe that he needs to learn. He is commercial. Your interest is a hobby. You want to learn. There is a difference. Flow hives are not on typically on the hive during winter months. Join a beekeeper’s club that shares experience and ideas. Keep notes on your experience. Most northern state’s hives survive the winter well. Hives can be wrapped in insulation and protected from direct winds. Find a mentor in your bee club.


As above find another BK who walks around with an open mind and pair of eyes. Only the top box differs in terms of honey extraction. His argument can only be countered by bad and cold weather me thinks.

I just completed a introductory course on bee keeping at the Agriculture dept via the WA Apiarists Society last Sunday

A progressive warm and welcoming bunch of folk and we had one chap that spoke for 1 hr about the FH. These guys realize the FH has renewed interest in their industry and all it entails. Quite frankly the best $90 ive spent in a long long time, highly highly recommended. It has given my confidence to go from a 3 box to 4 box hive the following spring

A full day of talks on OHS, disease, hive management, hive inspections and the most important thing re how and when to identify issues with what the QUEEN is doing plus frame rotation. Countering swarming, etc. Worth every $$$$…

Enjoy yr hive and dont let the old war horses dampen yr spirit, dinosaurs became extinct for a reason, couldn’t adapt to change.


I love the old beekeeper bashing in this thread, it appears no one has read my suggestion for alternative interpretation of the situation in my above posts.

Original poster wants to set up a hive in winter and was advised against it by someone who knew what they were talking about.


Ive addressed the temp issue in my 1st paragraph, generally speaking RBK there has been much apprehension regarding the FH and like alot of things, folks dont like change. Many like being comfortable and not being challenged, human nature really


This is not the first time experienced dinosaur beekeepers were bashed on this forum:)


That might be his reasoning- and it might not- from reading the OP it seemed to suggest the issue was with the flow hive in particular - and not simply the time of year… that’s why I suggested getting him on here to discuss.

At our bee society I have heard a lot of skepticism concerning flow frames- some of it half legitimate- much of it unfounded. When my mum joined she kept her flow frames a secret- as she heard so much negativity towards them.

This all reminds me of an episode of Landline I saw years ago- there was a wool grower who had gone against the grain by replanting trees on much of his sheep grazing land. His neighbors thought he was mad- and said so. The traditional wisdom was less trees equals more pasture equals more sheep equals more wool. Simple. He was ‘the black sheep’ of his community and his new-fangled ‘greeny’ ideas were not welcome.

Years in and what do you know: apparently sheep that have shade produce finer wool- apparently pasture with trees here and there has better soil- less erosion- etc…

apparently planting trees was actually a good idea…

As this became economically clear formerly skeptical neighbors would sidle up to the fence sheepishly one by one and ask exactly how the farmer went about his revegetation regime…

I can understand that some beekeepers prefer their ways and methods and see pitfalls with flow frames - what I can’t understand is a pre-determined negativity based purely on presupposition and ignorance. I’m not saying that’s the case here- but it may be.


Lots of experienced beekeepers had issues regarding the flow hive. Many of the concerns were quite valid, some not so valid. Some issues with flow frames weren’t even forecast. Nobody guessed that you’d have to open each frame in increments to avoid honey spilling onto the brood. I think we were all fooled by the introductory video where they opened the frame in one go.


It’s true there has been a learning curve- but I never expected anything different. When my mum bought two complete flow hives from the funding campaign she knew she was taking a gamble. We are all old enough that we should know there is/can be a difference between an advertisement and reality. For myself I still think it’s too early to make a final assessment of flow frames- that will take maybe 4/5 years off constant use. As for Mum in 12 months she has harvested 51 kgs off one hive and couldn’t be happier. Her bees seem happy too🤗

And again- concerning the leaks- not all people get them- even though they turn the key in one go- and when they do happen- they are not necessarily that big- just a few tablespoons. Currently I harvest slowly in increments and only two frames at a time- but I can with backyard hives- if I had them at a remote apiary and was shirt on time I think I would harvest quicker and keep an eye on the potential leak situation…

Whilst my mum has had some leaks- so far I haven’t seen any at all.


Would that not mess up the spacing for the bees.

Don’t think I would recommend that.


If you read historical texts beekeepers have been advocating between 32mm and all the way up past 38mm comb center widths, it’s not an issue. Only potential problem with shaving the frames is the gallery between the narrow section of the end bar can become too narrow, but if you’re only taking 1mm or so off each frame it won’t really bring this gap down far enough.

Standard Hoffman frame in the Flow Hive is 35mm, so running at 34mm isn’t an issue, just don’t shave them after the comb is drawn.

They run 33mm in New Zealand almost universally from what I have read.