Just received flow hive and some minor problems with supplied hardware


I have just today received my flow hive and I’m really excited about starting with Bees!

It’s the Australian Pine version, the full kit sort of thing.

Started assembling the brood box and super.

The supplied screws are poor quality. While screwing them in (using a very low torque on the drill) I managed to strip the heads of at least 3 or 4. They are now stuck more than half way in. I’m going to have to turn them out with a pair of pliers and send them back to be replaced or just buy stainless screws from a fastener joint. One of them I might not be able to get out. Some I drilled a pilot hole, some I did not. Stripped heads in both cases.

Not a big deal, but it would have been nice to get decent screws, not cheap butter screws.

Another issue with the little wooden knobs that were supplied. One of them doesn’t have a thread fitting like all the rest do, so it too will have to be replaced.

Apart from that, I’m so far impressed. The assembly was a little more tricky than I imagined, but it’s all good.

A few questions now:

  • No instructions provided about weather proofing it. Should I paint or stain? What should I use?
  • Do I just place it on the ground? I’m assuming it needs to be level, but should I create a brick platform? There are loads of whiteants/termites around our area and I don’t want them getting into the pine. I was planning on putting it in our Orchard as there are lots of fruit trees and it’s a nice spot away from the house. Are there any good resources about choosing a location?

I am looking for a local beekeeping group who may be able to answer my questions. It’s all a bit old school around here though, so I don’t know what reaction I will get about the Flow hive.

Albury/Wodonga area, Victoria, Australia.


Most of us are using pure tung oil diluted with citrus terpenes 50:50 blend. But anything that is non-toxic could be used, even painted if you like. Make sure that you only treat the exterior surfaces of the hive, nowhere that the bees will be in direct contact other then the landing board etc. The bees will propolize the interior of the hive and wont want anything on those surfaces.

It is highly recommended to use a stand to get the hive off the ground, but there are people here who have posted pictures of the hives sitting directly on the ground as well. Make sure it is in a location that will never flood during a heavy rain if you do.

But most of us have Western Red Cedar hives. I have put Tung Oil on some cypress/pine hive parts (hive top feeder, slatted rack), but I am going to watch it closely. Most people use exterior house paint on pine hive parts. Two coats should be plenty, and I would prime it first, unless the paint is self-priming. Light colours are usually recommended, as they reflect heat better in summer. Having said that, hives are painted all sorts of colours, so I guess it is up to you!

I think hive stands are a good idea. I have 2 different types, one is a simple wood frame, and the other is a stack of concrete blocks (breeze blocks or cinder blocks). I painted the blocks to improve the appearance.

Good point, I should have mentioned that. You might want something more robust to help protect the pine.

The flow frames are for extracting only. You still have a normal brood box underneath. Tell any dissenter that.
Pine? I would paint it

I would give it a good coat of a pale coloured paint to reflect the heat and protect from the weather.

As for the stand, mine sit on a couple of cinder bricks that have been levelled with some sturdy rails on top. No matter what you use, just keep it simple.


For issues with hardware please email Flow from their contact page - http://www.honeyflow.com/contact/p/3
and include your order number or the email address you used when you first ordered.
Please also include any photos of the damaged piece/s

I wasn’t aware someone else had raised the issue with the screws, but just found this thread while browsing. I had the exact same experience, the quality of the screws provided with the Australian Pine version was really sub-standard. I wound the drill back to a very low torque setting and the screws would bind up and with any more torque applied would strip (stripped two very easily). I think it’s a combination of the length of the screws, the head and quality of the screw and the fact that the pine is a natural material that has imperfections (ie. knots).

I also found it interesting that all the diagrams show countersunk/flat head screws for the hive assembly, but round head screws are provided.

If Ikea is anything to go by, perhaps an allen key head and better quality hardware would resolve the issue?

Yeah, I think that better quality screws would have prevented this. They did send me replacement screws which is great, but there are a few “iffy” screws, that are difficult to pull out, but are so close to being flush… it’s just annoying.

Had they been good quality stainless screws or had the factory prefitting been better…

I bought a new chair the other day and all the screws had been pre-fitted and then removed prior to shipment. Maybe they could employ this model, where they build the hive before it is shipped, then disassemble in order to save on shipping?

Just a thought.

I still don’t have my hive up and running (7 or 8 months after receiving it) because I don’t know what to stain/paint it with and I can’t find anyone willing to sell me bees.

Oh well…

apparently- stainless steel screws are notoriously soft. So once they are int hey are good- no corrosion- but getting them in can cause issues. I also purchased two of the hoop pine hives- I had no issues getting them all together- though on the roof part many of the screw slots were shredded getting them in. They went all the way in- but the slots were damaged. I think I could have reduced this by using a very high quality driver tip- or by pre-drilling the holes. If you pre-drilled the holes I think there would be no issue at all with the supplied screws. The holes are already pre-drilled on the part where the screw goes in- but not on the other part they screw into. If you drilled right through the screws would go in easily.


Countersink and plug?

Why don’t you just use some galvanised, countersunk screws?


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I use 35mm, thin, bullet head nails when I’m assembling normal box jointed bee boxes. Boxes get clamped and glued with polyurethane glue as well. Nails get run in from both directions and hoop pine gets treated with copper naphthanate before assembly as well as getting two coats of gloss white after assembly. I live in a warm, high rainfall area and lesser treatments are not good enough.

I assembled a western red cedar flow frame box a month ago. The stainless steel hardware was satisfactory but a couple of screws were too long.

I am not saying I can’t replace the items that I have been delivered, I’m saying for the price that has been paid I shouldn’t have to.


I had trouble with a couple stainless screw heads stripping … I had forgotten the #1 rules … Pre-drill all holes, set torque less on my drill motor, check n use exact drill head but … After that I had no more issues. Carefully backing out a bad screw is not fun if you don’t want marring to the soft wood (cedar)… It’s always back to basics …

Stainless is a good non-corrosive screw but can be a bit brittle , it does warms up from friction n swells causing resistance n can cause driving damage. On the cedar that shouldn’t be an issue but pine with tighter grains n knots it becomes an issue quickly. I
built three full hive setup last fall so learned quickly to follow my own teachings on driving screws.

Want to have real problems :sunglasses::+1: try driving long brass screws or tiny ones . Now that can suck in hard woods … I often use tiny brass screws in hard-wood jewelry boxes … I will only drive screws by hand on those. . Woodworking is always fun n a learning curve … I enjoy the challenge. Just like beekeeping we are always tossed new n interesting issues to deal with. I guess that’s LIFE !

. Plus after a season or two all the hives get marred n dented. It seems thus far in our long wet cool marine weather the cedar n stainless take less upkeep but the bees still goooo them up no matter what.

Ta ta bee gang !


I am about to build some hives- and I have been testing galvanised countersunk screws- cheap ones- and they work brilliantly on pine beehives if you predrill the hole. The only cost around $30 for 500. I think there is no need for fancy stainless steel screws- and the countersunk head looks nice too. The screws I am using have a thin shaft as well- only 3mm so there is less chance of splitting the wood than with the fatter stainless screws that come with the flow hive.

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Hi Gerald, what did you coat your pine boxes with?


I used an expensive exterior latex primer (two coats with 24 hours drying between coats). Then I paint 2 additional coats of lite tan exterior (mate finish) paint … That’s a total of four layers of paint . I roughed up unpainted wood with “0 or 00” steal wool before painting to open the gain slightly for better holding power. I guess finer sandpaper would work as well. I just had plenty of steelwool from a wood project. I did the same between painting just to give the paint better tooth/sticking power. Couple times I waited 48 hour/couple days between layers because the days were damp n wanted to make sure the paint layer was dry n cured some. I was painting 3 full double deep bodies with one single medium for honey super hives top-feeder n top/roof each time so used a hand hand-sprayer. If I got any hangers/runs I used a 2" bush to spread it out (don’t like hanger) ! My two 5 frame double deep Nuc hive boxes I painted same amount but used a bush.

I used an expensive Benjamin Moore paint but any high quality should work. I was just looking at my hives n barn/wood-shop which has same paint. The woodshop has gone thru two winter n heading for third with no scaling or problems thus far.

I used a good quality “Tong Oil” n four coats on my all cedar hives. Seem to be holding so far. But that’s only first season. Time will tell on those western cedar. Hope that helps bro. I am guess everyone has their favorite primers, paints, stains n methods. These seem to work for me. Rather have long life without repainting for a few years if possible.

Good luck n happy beekeeping,