Horizontal Hives

I’ve been reading a lot about building hives lately. Trying madly to get some hives ready.

An idea that just came to me which I’m sure isn’t new was a horizontal hive using flow frames.

On here http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopbarhives.htm I was reading about the pro and cons of top bar versus langstroth hives.

One of the advantages of Kenyan hives was that they are horizontal and as such don’t need much lifting. But then they said that you can and people have done the same with langstroth frames.

Any reason why you couldn’t/wouldn’t do the same with Flow Frames.

Ok a good point.

What about the horizontal idea? Frames could be standardised to be interchangeable but instead of stacking up having a box that runs sideways.

My back is not the best already so the idea of lifting off a full super isn’t appealing.

Hi Stuart, my back is a bit dodgy, however I use full depth 10 fr. supers for brood as well as honey. I never lift a full box of honey, I always remove 3 or even 4 frames from the middle before lifting it off. Then I have a stool next to me to rest the box on so I don’t have to pick it up from the ground.

They already exist.
Although not in Lang format we have the Darlington and the Beehaus. One wood the other plastic. I’m sure you can make a long Lang if you’re nifty with woodwork


The only adjustment is that you need to change your management somewhat. First you have a fixed space to manage and so you have to manage it more carefully. A brood nest tends to get constricted if you don’t open it up a few times in the early spring. Once they get a comb of honey in the way, the queen tends not to cross it, so putting empty frames in the brood nest tends to fix that. I have not tried using the Flow frames in a horizontal hive (I cut all mine down to mediums because all my other hives are mediums). I would need to build a deep one again (or maybe there is one in that pile of equipment next to my garage). And I would have to think about how to manage it. Since I want to leave enough honey for them and harvest the excess I’d have to figure out the best place to put the frames. But I’m sure you can work out the details with experience over time.

1 Like

This is a langstroth “top bar” or horizontal hive. I was toying with the idea of building one of these before I got the full flow hive setup.

1 Like

These guys use a horizontal hive with Flow Frames.

Thanks for that. I’ve fancied a long hive for some time and I do have plans for a Dartington but I also one day want to move to Lang format. Not really a top bar hive though as the article describes it, just a long hive.

1 Like

Yesterday, a bloke showed me 2 long Lang hives he built that will take 30 frames. I didn’t try to pick one up, but I’m guessing he wont be moving it around because it looks like you’d need a forklift to pick it up.

1 Like

It always makes me chuckle when I hear comments about how heavy a long hive is…in regard to moving it. The whole point is that it stays in place and you don’t move it! In general moving beehives is difficult…unless you do it in the winter or if you move them a long way. Certainly some bees will be lost. For hobby beekeepers mostly there is no intention of moving the hive. A permanent home for the bees in a multi floral environment. It is the development of mono-culture that has encouraged commercial beekeepers to move hives…to follow the nectar flows…to get more honey…or for financial gain for pollination.
Moving a Dartington or Beehaus isn’t difficult…even full of bees. You just need someone to lift each corner. The Dartington is even designed with legs which turn into carrying bars.


Just an update on that blokes hives, my wife was at his place the other day. He has colonies in both hives & they’re looking good.

1 Like

Hi, we have a long langstroth hive - see profile pic. Because of the way we manage it - expanding and shrinking as needed, it would be hard to know where to put the cut outs for the flow frame. We also have no queen excluder (I know that may not be an issue). I think it may be possible to put the flow frames in and take them out for extraction rather than have cut outs. Once we have our Flow frames will do some more investigation.
Our second hive is going to my parents and therefor will be less managed and my Dad will be able to help with the lifting. So it is a modified langstroth for the Flow Hives that are yet to arrive.

I personally love the long langstroth as i have a very bad back (I’m due for surgery next year) so it’s at the correct height, no moving supers to see into the brood. A full deep frame of honey is the max weight I can carry and even then not happily. It’s also easy to get standard beekeeping frames and equipment.

If anyone does use the Flow hive frames with a long hive I’d love more info.

1 Like

Hi Jas, we were typing on this thread at the same time. I also like the concept of the long Lang hive. I don’t have any comments about the Flow frames. The first time I saw a TBH, I thought a Long Lang would be more superior. Second to that would be top bars with sides & botton bars. I hope your surgery goes well next year. Good luck with your bees, cheers

1 Like

@jasabee if you put more than one entrance and use corks to stop them up you can at the rear use the opening for the flow.

By having various openings, you can have the flow hive central or 2/3’s down one end and using a dummy board, shuffle the brood and honey combs up towards the Flow frames as needed.

A the Northern Bee meeting they had many TBH’s and there were several entrances. Also if you do a split there can be an entrance either end - does that make sense?
Many entrances either end

Stopping up entrances with corks

Not really making sense to me…I think I get it now - fix the flowhive frames in one spot and move everything else including the entrances.
Interesting idea not sure how well it would work practically but if someone tries it I’d love to hear how it works.

1 Like

There is a saying that you can move hive 3" or 3 Miles - changing which entrance are open will not be so bad alternatively have 3 entrances and open the Flow one when you need it. Using a moveable Dummy board you can sort of shuffle the bees where you want.

Snelgrove has a board which has various entrances for getting bees to move from one part of the hive to another - it is sort of the same principle

If you had the brood at one end and the flow frames positioned in the middle it should work just fine. With a new swarm you would give them access to a number of frames based on the size of the swarm and then a following board to block off the rest of the hive.

As the colony grows move the following board along until you reach the flow frames and then put the following board on the other side of the flow frames.

You could do this from either direction and with the flow frames in the middle could still easily do splits. Plus there is no reason why you couldn’t make multiple cutouts for multiple flow frame sites. A 48" horizontal hive is pretty big and roughly equivalent to a 4 box hive.

1 Like

@weaver thanks that is what I was trying to say