How many boxes should be used with the Flow Hive?

Aloha! I am new to beekeeping and just started a new hive a month or so ago. I currently live in Utah, where the summers are pretty hot and the winters can get pretty cold. By the time my Flow lite (3 frames) should arrive, my hive will be ready for a new box. My question is this: will I need to add a second deep without the Flow frames to give my bees room to grow and build food for the winter (then add third box with the Flow frames for honey harvest), or will I be able to add a second deep with the Flow frames, harvest honey through the season, then leave honey in the Flow frames before winter sets to give the bees enough food for the winter? I am trying to decide if I will end up having three boxes, or just stick with two boxes with the top box having the Flow frames. Thanks for the help!

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Thanks for the quick response!! So if the situation arises that I need to add a third box and I have the Flow frames already in the second box, would I just add the third box in between the first box and the box with the Flow frames?

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Yep that sounds right, keep the Flow box at the top of your hive to allow the new, second box for brood or just winter stores of honey.

I’ve also found the bees will build in the very top box first, so a mistake I made was adding a second box as a super on top of my flow box and it took months for the bees to work down to my precious flow box!


What great support from this group! About wintering a hive with the above setup: I keep reading about many beekeepers saying to take the third box off for winter. If the third box is full of bees, wont they be crowded if you move the bees from the third box down into the two lower boxes? Maybe this is my beginners brain thinking too much.

Hmm I’m unsure about that as we have warm winters here in Byron Bay, though I’m sure someone from a colder climate will jump in with a answer soon :+1:t2:

Sage words sir. I have a picture in my mind of always having a brood box, a super for the gang, and then a flow super above for me to harvest from, so I know when wintering comes, they will always have their brood and a full super to lean on. It seems silly to remove a super full of food they’ve stored and then add the task or constantly feeding them having now removed all the food they had stored themselves. Seems like in the quest for loads of honey all you end up doing is having to feed them a ton of super water because you took too much!

Thank you for all the great advise! I will make sure to contact someone in my area to get a better idea of what to do specific for my area, as well as follow the advice here. Thanks again friends!!

Ahh… but of course. I was thinking the honey was for the bees. I’m such a fool :wink:
Nice idea to leave their super under them. I kinda never even though about how the queen excluder works whichever end it’s on!

HI, I live on the Sunshine Coast Australia sub tropical climate winter season . Got my Queen with 4 frames Nuc about 5 weeks ago. I noticed that where I live there is plenty of flowering trees keeping my bees very busy. I have even notices then flying in and out at dusk and down, even during these chilly winter morning hours. I made a home made beetle trap at the bottom of my brood box out of a wire mesh, with a full size tray for oil and beetles to drown. Am noticing balls of pollen also in the oil tray…and beetles, ants?? I hope this is not an issue. At week 5 my brood box of 10 frames is almost full of brood pollen and honey as they are currently working on outer frames. My Flow frames don’t arrive until September. So shall I add a super box now for them to start filling with honey, queen excluder between? And then add the Flow frames box on top of that for my own supply of honey in September?

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Good discussion, I had some of the same questions. I don’t expect to get much or any honey the first year when my hive is starting out so my question was should I put on the flow frames and let them do their thing and decide later in the year if I can maybe take a frame or two and leave them the rest.
The flow frames should work just like any other frames for winter food storage, right? So if they will need the honey for themselves at the end of summer I just leave it in the flow frames?
How does the queen excluder play into this? will the queen have to get to the honey store in the winter or will she be looked after below the excluder? What if everyone moves up into the flow frames in the late winter what will happen to the Queen?

Sorry for the barrage of questions :wink: I’m a little exited

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They will look after Queeny don’t worry. So long as the workers can get at the honey all will be sweet!

can you do that with the flow frames as well @DextersShed ?

It is my understanding that the Flow Frames should not be used during the cold winter months. Perhaps you experience warmer winters Sabine? Since we are a global community it would help if we remind each other where we are located.
I am in North Carolina, USA and was told the Flow Frames should be removed during the winter months. Has that changed?

Thanks @Gayle I’m on Vancouver Island, Canada - not very cold but lots of rain in the winter