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Getting Back Into Beekeeping... What Size Supers?

I’m planning on getting back into beekeeping and starting a hive (or two) utilizing the Flow frames. When in high school (a very long time ago) I had 14 hives so I’m not totally new to this. I saw the Flow concept years ago when they came out on Kickstarter but thought I’d wait and see how it played out and it appears to be a raging success. :slight_smile:

Since I live in Northern Michigan my plan is to go with 10 frame standard Langstroth brood chamber and then use a Flow 7 frame super on top of that. I could go with a lighter 8 frame Langstroth and 6 frame Flow supers but larger supers would probably be better in Norther Michigan.

Couple questions on the size of the Flow hives:

If I went with a ‘standard’ Langstroth 8 or 10 frame brood chamber super I see slight differences in dimensions of the 6 frame and 7 frame Flow Hive 2 and Flow Hive Classic supers. Are the sizes of the Flow supers all close enough to go on the appropriate sized standard Langstroth suppers?
Will a Langstroth 10 frame super (16" x 19 7/8" x 9 5/8") work just fine with the Flow Hive 2 or Classic 7 frame supers?
Will a Langstroth 8 frame super (14" x 19 7/8" x 9 5/") work just fine with the Flow Hive 2 or Classic 6 frame super?

For Flow honey super I think I’d really like to go with hybrid box with 4 (or 3) flow frames and 4 standard frames for comb honey.

To save a little money my plan is to go with a cheaper Dadant Langstroth single super starter kit and adding the appropriate Flow Hive honey super to that. Any opinions (loaded question lol) on this vs just going with an expensive full Flow Hive 2+ starter box?

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum! :blush:

Yes to all of the above. There may be a tiny (1/4") overlap of the boxes, but it is hardly noticeable and the bees don’t care.

I didn’t do that, but you certainly can. They work fine, but some people have trouble with the Flow frames not being filled, while the traditional frames are. Your choice, really. You can always put a traditional super on top of the Flow super if you want to. When there is a very strong nectar flow and humid weather, I have found that this helps to encourage the bees to cap the Flow frames faster. :wink:

Please let us know what you decide, and just ask if we can help in any way

What are your thoughts on the weight/capacity of Langstroth 8 / Flow 6 frame hives vs full size, do you think the fewer frames would be an issue in Northern Michigan holding enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter.

Sounds like instead of a hybrid Flow super it might be better to fill a super with only Flow frames and if I want some comb honey, put a shallow super over that.

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I am a girlie. I can’t lift 10-frame Langs when they are full and deeps. I can manage 25-30lb, but 50lb, no way… :blush:

You should run double deeps for brood to help with winter stores. Some people even run triples. It doesn’t make too much difference between 8 and 10 frame Langs, but you could ask a local bee club for their thoughts too. Just don’t mention Flow - say you are going to use a Langstroth, because that is what they system is anyway! Traditional beekeepers are very suspicious of Flow hives.

That is exactly what I would do, and have done here in SoCal - it works :wink:

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Hi Tac, just to answer your last question, only you know how far your budget will extend. I think your money will go further by choosing the first option. That way you can choose the roof & bottom board that suits you.

I recently heard of an opposite result with a hybrid super. In this case the bees worked on the Flow frames before the traditional frames. It was a lady who bought a nuc from me, told me over the phone. I theorized that the bees directly below the flow frames were the first bees to emerge that were able to build comb & store honey. They must just move up & utilize the closest thing to them, regardless of whether it’s plastic or wood/wax. That’s interesting because I’m noticing the same thing with traditional frames, after making closer observations.
It really stood out one day when I had a honey super half full of frames on one side, however the bees on the empty side decided to move up to store honey, so instead of working on the frames on the other side, they built bur comb directly above them in the empty space.

After 6 years of use in the field, the suspicious traditional beekeepers have either had egg on their face, or had their suspicions confirmed.

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Hi Dawn thanks for the input. I probably want two permanent deeps on my hive and then third deep super with Flow frames during the summer with the queen excluder below the Flow super.

Since I don’t think you’d ever want to put Flow frames on a hive without a queen excluder below them you really can’t leave flow frames on a hive over the winter. It would not be nice to leave the queen in an empty super! lol

You are correct. I think @FrederickDunn has done that experiment. The other reason not to leave them on over winter in your climate is propolis. When the nectar flow slows down in later summer, bees put propolis all over everything, including Flow frames. That can jam up the mechanism, making the next harvest difficult or impossible. :wink: