Integrating flow frames into regular frames

I purchased 3 flow frames (intrigued as I was with the idea) which said they could be interspersed with regular frames in an 8-frame Langstroth deep box. Now I am trying to figure out the mechanics of this once my frames arrive in June. I have several questions if anyone has any ideas:

  • I am assuming I will retain a deep brood box on the bottom, then put
    another deep with the flow frames on top of that, perhaps separated
    with an excluder?

  • Since I will only have 3 of 8 frames that are Flow frames, what
    happens if the girls store honey in the remaining regular frames? Most
    extractors (at least mine) do not accept deep frames. Does this mean
    "hand"extracting? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

  • Should I wait to populate the hive that is going to have the Flow
    frames until the frames arrive in June, or does it matter? A friend is building up a “split” for me now.

Good question! So are the flow frames deep frames, then? I haven’t seen an answer to that in the literature…if so, that makes it less appealing, since I use all medium equipment…

Yes, as far as I can see from the video and the original description, the frames are deeps. I’ve always had an issue with my girls wanting to abandon the deep brood box and move on up into the standards. I never used an excluder in the past, but that is why I am thinking an excluder is essential with the Flow frames. It would be quite a mess to have brood in those frames, which the moderator says did happen in tests, although infrequently.

What about a custom box that will just fit the flow frames, like a nuc box. Perhaps above a standard super if that isn’t enough space by itself for honey?

Some good ideas about the issue of the bees storing nectar in the traditional frames when integrated with the Flow frames that I will keep for future reference. However, on the Flowhive website ( there is a Q&A section. Under “Converting Hives” there is a question about separating 3 Flow Frames. It seems to have answered my concern about having to extract any honey that was put in an arrangement where Flow frames are intermingled with traditional frames in the super:

When you put them in the middle of your super, the bees will fill these frames first, and when you drain them, they will move any honey in the outer standard frames into the Flow™ frames, so you may find you don’t have to remove and extract the normal frames again

Fingers crossed on that one I guess!


I have not tried cut comb to date…but good idea!

The hives we have run with 3 frames have worked great. I think this is an excellent cost effective option. Putting the flow frames all together makes it easier to modify your hive as the cut outs can run across all 3 frames.


Great video that was very helpful to understand how the 3 flow frames I purchased will fit into my current hive. Thanks a lot!

Honestly, you need to be thinking about how much honey to leave your bees for winter - you don’t want to extract it all anyway!

Therefore I would say the honey from the 3 flow frames is your rent, and the honey in the conventional frames is for the bees for winter - can’t go wrong then…

Note: late autumn when packing down the hive for winter, those conventional deep frames if fully capped will be very handy! just move them down into to the sides of the brood box - I usually overwinter my hives with 2 deeps, but depends on your local climate…

Leave something for the girls, then you don’t have to feed overwinter and they’ll be healthier :wink:

I like the idea of having a few frames for cut comb, but I would be doing this in the 3rd deep…

I hope this helps…


Good point. I’m used to having a deep super as a brood box and then 2-3 regular supers on top of that for honey storage. Just needing to get my head around a different set up. I live on the central coast of California where the weather is very moderate; however, I like your comment about thinking of any honey deposited in the traditional frames as overwintering feed for the hive.

I’ve ordered the Complete Flow System but also a Full Flow box. I was thinking if I get good enough to expand to 3 or 4 hives I can have it set up as a Light Flow System.

By the look of this I will need to adapt a new super to accommodate only 3 not the original six?

Have you done this yourselves?? Have you a way to adapt the Full Flow Super to Light Flow - Does that make sense? Or will I need to do a new box only for Light Flow?

Not having seen them but watching the video it looks like there will be gaps. I’m not Carpenter so this is another skill I’m going to have to learn.

Of course, since none of us on the forum have received our Flow Frames etc as of this date we are only speaking based upon videos and photos…but here’s how I see it.

First off, my question originated because I am currently a backyard beekeeper using standard Langstroth equipment for my hives. I wanted to try out the Flow system without making a huge monetary commitment. I ordered just 3 Flow frames because the info said I could incorporate those into my current 8-frame Langstroth hive. So, that is what the video in this thread shows…how to do that.

I already have my deep supers (boxes) so my only expense was the Flow frames themselves. I will modify one of my Langstroth deeps (per the video) to accommodate those frames. It seems you already have ordered a full hive (with 6 Flow frames) plus an extra box? I hope I read that correctly (although I’m not sure why one would order an extra box). But, it seems logical that if and when you want to expand to more than one hive, you could split those 6 frames between the two boxes, using 3 in each box and standard wax frames on either side of those (as shown in the video).

Since a Langstroth deep box only costs about $15 USD making the necessary modifications to accept the Flow Frames seems to be a cost-effective adaptation.

I liked your video…great idea for crushing and draining! My attempts have been less than satisfactory, I must say. This looks much more efficient. Still a lot of work to smash the comb though, right? I do have an extractor now (hand cranked) but still a good deal of work…and expense!

I am wondering what you use for your comb frames as far as foundation. Do you use anything?

@en2gen I could not afford 2 complete Flows and the cost of postage for me is not cheap. The boxes here are not that cheap either. I will learn to make them but constructing the hives at present will extend to my full knowledge of building.

My brain was doing lateral thinking and if I am competent and want more hives with Flow then I can divide 12 frames among 3 or 4 hives. But seeing the video there will be gaps, but then I realise there will be space for Bees to get out. I sort of imagined perspex or glass over the flow area Still a possibility but need to see it in action.

That is why I was asking.

Bee Keeping in the UK is not cheap compared to US or Oz.

Started new with flow incl. about 15’000 bees in Sep 2020
Level 1 Bottom frames are all totally full now (April 2021)
Level 2 Flow frames (7) are all still empty
Looks like the bees don’t like the flow frames ?

Personally, I found that bees prefer wood frames fitted with pure bees wax foundation to plastic frames. Plastic frames need a layer of bees wax on them before bees take to them. You might have to do something similar with the flow frames, to encourage the bees to get started on them.

From my observations around my way, all that’s required is a strong population, coupled with a good honey flow. With those to factors in place, there’s normally no stopping them from using the flow frames.

Actually thinking back. I recall one lady with a hybrid flow hive, telling me that the bees got started on the flow frames before the traditional frames. I figured at the time that a lot of bees must have emerged from brood frames beneath the flow frames, so therefore as those bees had honey to store, they stored it in the frames directly above them (the flow frames), rather than move across to the wooden frames, to start them first.