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Hive mat on top of flow frames?


Do you think it’s a good idea to place mat on top of flow frames to try and discourage bur comb? I was worried about Bee access as it is already restricted around the back of flow frames I think.


I can see no harm in using a hive mat for this purpose, just make sure there is adequate space around the edges of the mat for ventilation. Something like this:


Cheers thanks Rodderick.


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DextersShed I will have to google crown boards, I am new to beekeeping. Thank you for the feed back.


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Wouldn’t a hive mat, sitting on the top bars, get solidly propolised on?
Timbo, to add to your misunderstanding,a crown board with holes in is called a feeder board. A crown board with no holes is called a crown board. Don’t worry, one season with bees and you won’t need a dictionary :slight_smile:


Some propolis will be there, but the mat will peel straight off, this method is used quite successfully to prevent comb build up under the lid, some beekeepers will also use a food grade material such as those used for stock feed bags to cover the top of the hive without any gaps and still allow the hive to ventilate and the bees to move throughout the hive. Jerry Dunbar uses this method. If you get a chance to view his videos you’ll see the covers I am referring to.


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Hi @Timbo2, just remember that propolis is your friend, its the sign of a healthy hive. Different bee species collect different amounts and it is also dependent on the trees in your area as to how much is produced. Pound for pound this stuff is worth more than honey and is one of the great understated products produced by bees. It has incredible anti-microbial properties many times more potent than manuka honey and is beginning to be used in the medical industry for the treatment of diabetic wounds, burns and serious infections removing the needs of these people to be on heavy antibiotic treatments. Many beekeepers scrape it off and throw away, but I would recommend you keep it, store it and sell it. It will never go off.


I use & recommend hive mats exactly the same as @Rodderick’s photo


Hi Rodderick, this might sound dumb, but, can you eat propolis or would it be for external use only?


You could gargle with it, a little mixed with warm water is great for a sore throat. But it is mostly for external use.


Hi, I am a novice beekeeper in the ranges of Victoria Aust. Our temperatures in winter which we are approaching are between 0 deg - 15deg C. Apiarists in my area tend to scale their hives back from 3 boxes to 1 for overwintering. They also favour the use of a hive mat - a sheet of vinyl (like used for house flooring) on top of their frames, year round.
I’ve found that the bees are not going above the top feeder board of the flow hive, and that small cockroaches and the occasional ant are up in the roof. I am concerned that my bees may be too cold to over winter without the hive mat, as the ~2 inch circular hole in the top board will allow a lot of their heat to disperse into the roof cavity. Conversely, if I continue with both the hive mat and the top board, other insects will move in to the roof.
My query is have other apiarists in cold/er climates over wintered their full flow hives successfully without a hive mat, using the standard issue top board with it’s feeding hole?


Hi Cat,

Scaling a full colony back to 1 box could be detrimental and they may starve. You will need at least 1 full box of honey in Victoria to get them through the winter. The apiarists with 1 box will be feeding.

This is a good idea, when placed on top of a super it can prevent comb being built in the roof or lid.
I would cover the hole in the top and add the hive mat on top of your brood box (not the super), this is where you need to keep the colony heat and any condensation that may drip through the hive will not end up on the clustering bees and chilling them.


Hi Rodderick - I’m just a little confused. Are you saying if you have a brood and a super that you would separate the two with a hive mat between them? I confess that I have mine on top of the frames at the top of the hive below the lid. I also have carpet on top of the mat with enough space around the two materials for the bees to defend the lid area.


So a hive mat as well as the top board, covered by the roof. This will help keep them warm, and minimise the chance of comb in the roof space. Does anyone else experience other critters like ants, cockroaches, spiders in the roof, since we’ve pretty much kept the bees from defending that area? If mine does, should I be concerned?


Hi Catherine - the way I use the hive mat and carpet (with bee space at the edges) I have not to date seen any of the critters that you mention in the space under the roof. I use migratory lids on two hives but a flow roof on the other. The flow roof has the flow inner cover under it and I can’t fit the vinyl and the carpet under that - only the vinyl, so I have put the carpet above the inner cover and then the roof on top of course. This is an area that the bees can’t get to and yes some ants have got in there - but not a big problem as yet. I have a thin square of masonite over the feeder hole which the bees have propolised on. Hopefully it is ok to have the vinyl where I have it, but I will wait to see what Rodderick hopefully says in response to my question in the earlier post…


Hi Dan, Yes, the mat should go on top of the brood box. This will help to contain the warmth through winter. There should be a 1-2cm gap around the edges of the mat to allow the bees to go up into the super for get the honey stores when they need it. The hole in the inner cover should be blocked, you don’t want your bees going up there unless you are providing food for them. And if your super is empty then remove it and pack it away for next spring. The unused space in an empty super will suck the warmth from the hive which will mean the bees have to work harder to keep their space warm and in doing so will consume more honey stores.


Hi Rodderick, thanks. I have been doing the wrong thing unfortunately as I have the hive mats and carpet on the top of the frames of the top box. I did that because I copied the set up of a retiring commercial guy down here.