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Hello from Leicestershire, UK

Hi Everyone

Just joined the forum and starting to assemble some Bee Keeping knowledge before purchasing our Flow Hives, we are newbies! Already watched many videos and read up on lots of info. Me (Jim) and wife (Jo) have a small holding near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England, UK and now looking into getting some bees both for aiding the environment and of course some lovely honey. Getting quite excited about it but understand we’re coming to the end of the season here for bee keeping, etc.

First couple of questions:

  1. Am I right it’s too late to start a hive now late summer UK and wait for Spring, or could I start ok now and they’d survive ok through the winter assuming they could get some stores going within the brood box?
  2. Unsure of the right Flow Hive size for the UK, am I ok with the 6 frame or do I need the 7 frame to aid getting through the winter with extra stores of honey? Website seems to be suggesting 7 frame would be better for our cold winters but multi deals are only on the 6 frame hives… Any advice appreciated on what others do here (or is best) in the UK.

Look forward to chatting and learning in the future.
Jim & Jo

Welcome to the Flow forum. Not relevant to beekeeping, but I love Melton Mowbray pork pies! :blush:

We have another member in Leicestershire, @Magpie40. She might have an idea about a good bee club for you to join to learn and order bees.

You are absolutely correct. Unless you can buy a whole hive, I would wait until around April next year, but meanwhile get your name on a waiting list for a colony. Your local bee club should either have, or be familiar with, reputable suppliers in your area. You will need to find somebody who can supply bees (usually a nucleus) on Langstroth sized frames, so that they will fit in a Flow hive. If that is not available, there are instructions in this forum for adapting British National hive frames to fit in a Langstroth box.

I think you would be fine with either, but you should consider 2 brood boxes. Most British beekeepers run on “brood and a half” or use jumbo deep boxes for brood. Flow hives are Langstroth sizes, so you either want 2 deep brood boxes, or one deep and one medium Langstroth. Flow has the deeps, but if you want to go with a medium, you would need to ask Thorne or one of the other big UK suppliers.

The thing about 10 frame boxes (7 Flow frames) is that they are very heavy. Especially if you buy pine rather than cedar - it weighs about 40% more than cedar. We took a medium box off our 8 frame hives (same size as the 6 Flow frame size) this summer for harvesting, and it weighed almost 40lb (wood plus wax and honey). That was hard enough. I can’t imagine lifting a 10 frame box when full, and a 10 frame deep would be impossible for me. There are ways around this, but there is no reason to use 10 frame boxes if you prefer 8 frames.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any further questions that you feel we can help with.


Welcome to the forum you two, you’ll find lots of reading and folks here to help with advice and tips.

I agree with Dawn, it is too late in the Summer to begin a hive so wait till next Spring, Find a local bee group and they will be a big help about your local conditions and often sell hives or know who does in your area.
As for hive size a 10 frame working box is a heavy lift, so if 10 frame boxes are normal there you could opt for a full depth and a half box brood area, that will give you about the same brood area in the hive, and a lot more manageable. I run 8 frame boxes now but did have 10’s, but I was younger and stronger once. :grinning:
A local group will be a big help in setting you up and with local conditions.


Thanks for the replies, think we’re going to wait until Spring and join our local club Leicestershire & Rutland for some further info and learning prior to getting the bees.

Still undecided on the 8 or 10 frame boxes…:thinking:

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Hi. I am in Oxfordshire. Go for it. But at this time of year you will not need a flow super. Now is all about building up the stores of food.

In bee numbers your hive will be small. So use blank frames to reduce the size of the brood box. Size matters when it comes to keeping it warm over winter.

Buy a feeding eke. A big one, not the small white plastic tubs. Feed with sugar syrup till either they take no more or maybe October, then get a feeding eke for bee fondant. Put a complete fondant in right on top of the bee cluster, that may last till January. Don’t open hive if it’s freezing but you must check it. Have your second pack of fondant in stock. February feed pollen, gets the queen laying. You will be drawing honey next July. In March get rid of the blank frames and put in brood frames. Get your super ready but don’t put it on yet. In May score all the honey in the brood frames and put your super on. The scoring gets the bees moving the honey into the super.

Over winter make sure hive entrance is reduced, I use a Thorne stand which has a canopy above entrance for shelter. It also has a joint robbing and mouse guard. Not much use against badgers however or woodpeckers!!! Make sure hive leans slightly forward so it drains if rain gets in. Read up on whether to have a solid floor or open mesh. The discussion centres on dampness in winter and varroa mites. I like a solid floor underneath a full mesh.

Finally nature will take its course. This year I have only paid minimal attention to my hives. Other than basics. Have drawn honey once, normally it’s twice from my non flow hives. That May and August. I got 53 Lbs from 3 supers. that’s good for my effort this year. I will now sell it and plough the whole lot back into the hives and bees.

Register your hive with Beebase.

Finally read everything and debate. And get it wrong because it’s how you get better.

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Hi and welcome to the Flow forum.

Thank you for your very informative post. I used to live in Iffley (close to Oxford, inside the Ring Road) until about 1997. We weren’t worried as much about varroa back then, but nothing much else has changed. I appreciate your input. :blush:

Hello Dawn

Thanks for email. Well Iffley, small world. I work in Iffley village in Abberbury Road right by the school and community playing fields. I doubt it has changed much. Carla I have none. Last bee inspector visit I did but this time clear. I think it maybe because I haven’t taken any swarms.

It’s interesting reading other people’s methods, it’s clear that much of bee keeping is the same but the yearly cycle is just local. Bee keeping in a 12 month a year sunny climate must be fun. Yet in Australia the honey is really expensive. London now has hives producing flow near enough 12 months a year. It’s the gardens in flower that helps. Oxfordshire suffers food shortages mid summer and long winters still.

Best regards and look forward to the new topics and reading your thoughts and guidance.