Flow Frames in a horizontal hive

I am in the process of building my own horizontal hive and adapting it for use with the honey flow frames. I am using Leo Sharashkin’s basic plans for a 31 deep frame here: http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/long-langstroth-plans.shtml

He also has plans for using the freeman oil pans for SHB issues–I can honestly say these things are the devils own and should die, die, die! :stuck_out_tongue:

Question: Instead of using smelly, sloppy oil, can I put in some diatomaceous earth in the trays? Is there any chance of this stuff being transferred into the hive by the beetles? That would be bad for my girls! I don’t know how quickly the stuff kills but I like the idea of it being a bit cleaner than old oil. Also, seems like I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the hive being perfectly level to accommodate liquid oil. There isn’t much room for error with those shallow trays.

Also, Is there a preference on the orientation of the slots of the queen excluder–veritical for horizontal?

Lastly, it makes sense to me to place the flow frames near the center of the box. This would force the bees to fill the flow frames first then when we near the dearth, I can remove the flow frames and put in regular lang deeps for them to work. We have a brief but good fall flow here that I allow the girls to keep for themselves. This has worked well for me in the past.

We are having a winter here like we haven’t seen in 20 years. Very cold for the mid south (USA) enough for the local ponds to freeze over. Been too wet and cold for me to even take a peek into the hive to check on the candy boards. Supposed to warm up into mid-upper 40’s in the next couple of days. Hope I don’t find starved bees :worried:

I would love to hear more from those who have already converted to the long hive about their experiences and any unexpected differences/ issues.



hello there,

to date my long hive is doing well- but I am still in the testing and comparison phase. The good news is the bees have nearly filled the flow frames and I will harvest soon. So the theory does work.

a few points about your post:

  1. not sure about having the flow frames in the center of the hive as that is where the colony is going to want to have it’s brood- they tend to put the honey at either end. Also you would need two vertical queen excluders- which is more work. Also it is not entirely easy to replace flow frames with conventional ones as you need different frame rests for each- and they differ in thickness. So to achieve that you will add quite a bit of additional complexity to your design. I have all my flow frames at one end- I would either do that again- or have flow frames at each end.

  2. I went with vertical position for the queen exluder- and to me it seems the best- though I think either will work.

  3. things I found out: one thing I realized was that I had to use hive mats to cover the tops of my frames- to stop the bees attaching the frames to the many inner covers. Before I added the mats when I went to inspect and lift a cover- the frames below would lift up with the cover- and I had to pry them loose with the hive tool.

Another discovery was that my inner cover design could cause some squashed bees as my covers have to lift straight up and down and cannot be twisted into position. I am going to modify them so they only rest on two small points and bees can get out of the way. I will do this using a router to create a ‘scalloped edge’ on the ends that rest on the box.

don’t know about the diatomaceous earth question.

[quote=“Semaphore, post:2, topic:14065”]
Also it is not entirely easy to replace flow frames with conventional ones as you need different frame rests for each

This is an excellent point that didn’t occur to me! My logic for placing the brood in one end was in imitation of the vertical hive. My concern with having honey at both ends is overwintering. As the stored honey is consumed the bees will cluster in the empty comb then move into the next frame and then the next as food stores are depleted. Once they have reached the end of the honey frames I really don’t see the bees turning around and going back to the other end of the hive in the depth of winter.

I have heard other people on this forum mention hive mats (?) so I did a Google search and read about them. Interesting. Doesn’t heat build up in the summer? I understand the need you have. Burr comb has never been a problem but oh my–the girls spit propolis all over everything. Actually I think they are just laying ant traps everywhere–a problem in this end of the county. :persevere:

Feeding Syrup: . How do you feed in your long hive? Especially how do you feed fondant? I will have to come up with a way to use a candy board… Guess I will have to switch to a frame feeder for syrup.

Thanks for your well thought out answers!

We’ve just a few long Lang’s, although none with flow frames. My friend has ended up using glass covers and follower board. Then wood over them. Will be interesting to see how it performs over time.

That’s an interesting concept! I would like to know how it fares in hot weather. In this area we can easily hit 95ºF+ during August. On the vertical hives, 3" spacers with a fine mesh bottom and screened vent holes around the sides, sandwiched between the top box and lid, really helped during those super hot muggy weeks.


Yes it’ll be interesting. He plans to have small gaps between the panels to allow ventilation. The super is made out of 42mm wood and from memory he did the same with the lid. Our temperatures are normally in the low 30oC and we can get a few days closer to 40oC.

He has a temperature probe on top of the broad and it seems stable. Like all things time will tell.

One of the things I’m interested in is whether it is better to have the entrance at the end or in the middle if you have a long Lang with flow frames.


Hi Pam,

We have someone who made a horizontal hive with Flow Frames here:

I have also seen people use lime or diatomaceous in their traps:

Let us know how you go :slight_smile:

Hello there,

my hive mats are just pieces of linoleum and they only cover the tops of all the frames with around an inch and half gap around the edges- so the bees- and the air can go above that if they want to. I think a hive mat replicates how combs are arranged in a natural hive. I don’t think they cause any heat issue. I don’t have such a problem of the bees bridge combing frames to the inner cover of my flow hives- but for some reason they did it a lot in the long hive.

Concerning the bees in winter and the cluster- we have very mild winters so it isn’t an issue here. However in a colder climate you could close down the hive for winter using follower boards to concentrate the bees in the middle for warmth- then you can remove them in spring and add more frames.

Lastly feeding: my hive has four inner covers and two of them have feeder holes- I can feed syrup through these very easily with no worry about robbing. I could convert an inner cover to be a feeder for fondant/dry feed but I don’t ever do that so there’s no need.

you can see my inner covers here:


I am also using 1.5" (42mm) wood as suggested by Dr. Leo. Adds extra insulation but, wow, does it ever make for a heavy box! I have to pick the best site from the get go because there is no moving it afterward! I think I will not use the thick lumber on the lid but just add insulation instead—hopefully saves some weight there.

I have already begun basic construction of the body and cut three 3" entrance slots at center and end positions and using a metal swivel to close off as necessary. (There is a large commercial beek in the area and he runs his entire production on 3" openings and does very well with it.).

As you say, only time will tell :relaxed:

I did get the opportunity check on the bees yesterday (we have been having an unusually cold winter, one 3 week long cold snap: nothing above 32ºC!). We are not prepared for those kinds of conditions here. Anyway, I just took a peek to make sure of their food stores and they were fine! YAY!


That cinches it! I will try the DE. It just seems so much cleaner and if others have tried it without any detriment to the bees, all the better.

Thank you!

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What beautiful woodwork :star_struck: I’m afraid my bees will just have to put up with the slum (by comparison) that I am building.

Ah, now that makes sense. My initial understanding was that you were covering the entire area.

I am so used to manipulating boxes that I forget that the point of the long hive is the is ease of moving frames. Need to retrain my thought patterns there.

Really like the way you have put heavy duty handles on your inner cover boards! Once the bees put propolis over everything, I think those will be very useful. Also see you have your covers sitting well below the upper rim. With a deep lid I could use my box feeders and candy boards and adjust the covers to fit. Eureka!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

You’re welcome :slight_smile: I have seen both lime and diatomaceous mentioned. I also heard of someone putting it on the ground around the hive.

Sigh—got my C & F mixed up. Should be not above 32ºF. Having a bad day of senioritis.

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We love the idea of a horizontal hive. If we put flow frames in it (toward the back away from brood area), how would we go about harvesting the honey? Is there an easy way to harvest with the frame removed from the hive?

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Scott who came up with this horizontal hive idea, mentions the idea of adapting it to a flow hive. Not sure how far he has progressed with it but might be worth contact. I have one of his horizontals and the bees love it.