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Locking the Hive Sections together with Cam Dowels


We received our Flow Hive and are extremely happy. So we are new to beekeeping and have been reading the forums to learn as much as possible. For now though, I would like to share how my husband connected the various hive parts together so the complete hive can be picked up and moved without coming apart. Each section/box can be connected/disconnected individually with a quarter to a half turn of the cam. There are no protruding parts on the outside or inside to get into the way of the bees. I told him I have to share this with fellow Flow Hive owners because I absolutely love the way it turned out. I hope it’s o.k. to post links so the link below shows the hardware we used. This just happens to be the exact cams we have but Home Depot, Lowes, and even Wal Mart sell them as well.



Very nice.
Don’t forget to push those brood frames together when you get your bees. There shouldn’t be any gaps between them.
Is the excluder going to be sitting on the cams as you have it in the photograph?
When it is in use the bees will stick the whole thing down and I think you might find it difficult to take off. Normally lots of bees come with it as you peel it away from one corner. You don’t need them, the bees and the weight of the box on top will keep it in place.


Nice work, but I suspect that this will cause you problems.

Firstly, the bees will stick the boxes together, and you will have to prise them apart to inspect the bottom box. Will you be able lever one side up without bending the lugs?

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, when replacing the top box the usual advice is to put it on at an angle, so that not many bees are squashed. You then gently rotate it to line it up correctly, and the bees are able to get out of the way. Another method is to use a wedge to keep 3 sides of the boxes seperate , and gently remove it as you smoke the bees away. However, with your modification you will have to lower the box down directly, likely squashing many bees, which leads to angry, defensive bees, and possible disease problems as squashed bees release whatever pathogens might be in their bodies.

It was a really good idea, but I think that in practice this may cause more problems than it solves.


Heavens, yes. I hadn’t noticed the cams between the boxes. Thousand is right. You will squash hundreds of bees replacing the boxes and they will get very angry while you try to line them up.


Sorry I have to agree with all of that - Shame it wont work as well as it is pretty


Keeping hives together is never a problem Within days the bees will glue them together. In weeks they will have them really glued together. The problem is always getting them apart. That can be somewhere between somewhat difficult and very difficult. Any effort to hold them together on your part will be regretted in the long run. There is a reason they don’t come with things that hold them together…


Thanks for all your informative input. Since we are new to this, we still have much to learn and will take all your advice into consideration. Looking at the bright side, we can carry the hive in one piece to its final location before removing the studs :slight_smile:
One question though: If the boxes stick together so tight won’t the soft cedar wood be very vulnerable to damage trying the get them apart?


@Beezley you slide the hive tool between the boxes and run the tool between the boxes all the way around then genitally twist and lever the boxes apart


Yes. That is why you keep your hive tool sharp, so that it fits in the seam and cuts the propolis/wax seal.

A lot of hives in the UK are cedar, and they don’t seem to be particularly fragile. We had our cedar WBC hives for over 20 years, and they stayed in great shape, despite being glued together with a ton of propolis. :wink:


Concerns about wind knocking over hive

Of course it will chip a little especially where you clean the edges when the boxes come out of service…but that adds to the patina :slight_smile:


I know you mean “gently twist”, cause that won’t cause any pain. LOL :worried:


I think your cam dowels will work fantastic. Always have your smoker primed before replacing supers. Use enough smoke to clear the bees away from the queen excluder, then quickly replace the super. This is probably the first & last hive you’ll use the cam dowels on. Good luck with everything, cheers


One other reason to make sure you disengage and remove the cams; When those boxes are full they weight a TON. You will not want to be moving that hive as a unit!

Great concept and excellent execution ; -) to bad actual implementation real time isn’t so great.

I am thinking I need a levitation spell and a wand to throw at it to do the job!


Wow, we can combine Harry Potter and World of Warcraft with beekeeping??? I am definitely in!!!



I was practicing BeesWingardium Leviosa, but all that happened was the hive sprouted wings, buzzed and vibrated. Not powerful enough…

I would have tried the WoW levitate spell but there aren’t any priests in the family. Very annoying!

; -)


My main is a mage, and my second is a shaman, so levitate is definitely not on the list. I can do slow fall and water-walking though!! :smile:


I have the same concern as you about the super staying on the brood box correctly. In my case, we have a lot of raccoons, groundhogs and armadillos that I worry will knock the super off kilter. My solution was to put an eye screw on either side of the base and then use a pair of adjustable rubber tie down cords going from the eye screws and joining over the roof. Seems to be working well for the intended purpose as there were raccoon dropping on the roof when I checked the hive thise morning.


Really??? Genitally twisting levers??? :scream:


You sure did a very neat job with those dowels- and what is done- will be very hard to be undone… However I agree with others that this was maybe not the best idea: when you remove the lid, or a box- you want to put them back on by sliding them so that the bees have a chance to run out of the way and not get crushed. With your dowels they will have to be plonked squarely on- many bees may be crushed? Also when the boxes are very heavy it may be hard to hold them up and square to align all your dowels.


Put a hive strap on all your hives including flow hive, I use tie down for my flow hive.