Long Hive Long Hive?

We need a Long Hive built with panels for the flow frames! Wishing I were a carpenter, already got the lady.

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There are at least two ways to go about designing your long hive Chet. Flow frames can be disassembled and rebuilt to any length you like. I don’t know anyone who has actually done this although I have read discussion regarding the possibility of really long display type hives.

I have seen a very successful Flow Frame hive where the Flow frames run at right angles to the long, horizontal axis of the hive body. Some people build what are called “horizontal Langstroths” in this way. The horizontal hive I’ve seen has top bars at one end and a langstroth arrangement for the flow frames at the other. These horizontal hives can be set on legs at whatever height is convenient.

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I have been able to view a lot of pictures of the long hive and one in particular that had a screened bottom board with a cover that was hinged to the very bottom of the hive that could be closed and latched. That pic makes me think the flow frames will work by just making that bottom board big enough to cover enough space to gain access to the bottom part of the flow frames. A similar arrangement for the top to gain access. I’m not real knowledgeable on any aspect of beekeeping or the flow hive but I will go out on a limb and say this is the next big thing in beekeeping for the backyard beekeepers, flow hive or not.

I hope your right about the future of beekeeping Chet- as I am just about to assemble my own horizontal langstroth hives.

I have made mine much like a standard langstroth hive- with windows and a door at the rear just like on any other flow super.


Boy does that look nice and exactly what I had in mind. Good luck! Hope to see it when it is finished.

Hi Chet

I built myself a horizontal hive and installed 6 x flow frames with a queen excluder. The hive is very strong with caucasian bees but I must say that the flow hive concept is not a success in my horizontal hive. The brood frames a full and the bees are going through the queen excluder, playing around on the flow frames and then they seem to just drop dead, can’t get back out. On a weekly basis, I am scrapping up 100’s of dead bees.

Yesterday I took out the first three flow frames (closest to the excluder) and replaced them with wax foundation frames and wait and see now if there is any difference.

Overall, rather disappointed with my project - but not giving up on it just yet


what?? This is bad news schnucki! Any idea what is causing the deaths? I wouldn’t have thought that a vertical excluder would pose any special problem for the bees?

As to the hive seeming to be full- yet not yet producing any flow frame surplus: I have found in all my hives the bees do not touch the flow frames at all until they are good and ready: I had a 8 frame swarm hive that had a flow super on for a good 8 weeks before there was the slightest sign of them doing anything on the flow frames despite the brood box being 100% fully drawn out… Then when the nectar flow hit they quite suddenly started to fill them: and in just 3 weeks have nearly filled all the frames.

But your story has me worried there may be some issue with running a vertical excluder? I assume you are using a plastic one? That is what I had planned. What sized holes do you have in your mesh floor?

can I ask how many brood frames you are currently running in your hive? It looks a lot longer than mine. Mine will hold around 15 brood frames and the four flow frames in total at it’s maximum expansion.

I’m stumped at what is causing the deaths, just think that they are not getting back in to the brood chamber in time for nightfall and then just freezing ???

I have the plastic excluder and have #8 floor mesh. Haven’t counted lately how many frames in the brood chamber but somewhere around 18-20 and they are pretty much full to the hilt. My hive is about 1200mm long in total. The hive is very active, just not the super. Guess that it shows that bees don’t prefer to work horizontally.

On my flow cedar double brood hive which is bursting at the seems, has the flow super on now for nearly 8 weeks and they took to the plastic frames immediately. Did an inspection yesterday and it is only about 50% capped (if that). People at my local bee club yesterday all complained that there is a lack of honey this summer around western Sydney/Blue Mtns, most likely cause of the long dry spell but now with recent rain, things should pick up again.

We have had a slow spring here in adelaide as far as the honey goes by all accounts- however things have definitely turned a corner in the last month. I will be transferring vertical colonies into horizontal hives sometime in the next fortnight or so- I hope I don’t run into this issue that you have experienced. I have such high hopes for my long hives… Hopefully: by having a smaller box- and less flow frames - there won’t be an issue- assuming that cold was the deciding factor. I will also be running a heavy duty divider board on the other end of my frames- and will try and keep the colony tight and warm roughly in the centre of the box. I plan to only expand to a full box at the height of each season- and then reduce number of brood frames for overwintering by placing brood/honey frames on the flow side of the excluder so they become just honey frames and can be removed.

I guess until we do some tests we are in uncharted waters with our long hives…

Are the slots in your queen excluder running vertically or horizontally? I haven’t used a queen excluder except in the normal way, ie flat between supers. Given that this is 100% conjecture on my part, I wonder if turning your queen excluder through 90º might make a difference?

that’s a good point- I hadn’t given any thought as to how I would have the slots oriented… I am guessing I probably would have had them running horizontally - as I was going to cut down a larger excluder to make it and would cut it that way- but now I am wondering what direction the bees would prefer? Could there be some problem with a certain orientation? Maybe a guess might be: whatever way schnucki didn’t do it is best;-) Also bees seem like to climb straight up things- perhaps they would prefer horizontal slots?

I wouldn’t let this first year be too much of a discouragement, you know everyone talks without end about whether the plastic frames discourage the bees from using them vs wax. It’s probably something just like that issue. I had bees all over my flow frames for days on end without them putting a drop of honey in a single cell. Better luck next year is what I say. You should at the very least sell plans for that nice box.

My bees left the flow frames alone until they had built up the normal wooden frames. Once they started on the flow frames there was no stopping them.

I’ve been assembling some 8 frame Langstroth supers. I don’t have any plans because I was simply assembling a couple of lovely hoop pine, box jointed kits. These sell for a little over $A20 as I recall. One of the newbees on another thread has asked me to take a video. Here’s the link.


This hive looks GORGEOUS!!! Any chance you still have the plans? :heart_eyes:

I am in California drooling with envy :innocent:

Awesome hive Max, I’m thinking of something similar. With regard to the vertical queen excluder, just a quick Google I found most being sold the slots are horizontal, maybe they use them like climbing ladders :wink:Cheers Tim

are there any updates for your long hive yet? Did you remove the flow frames and replace them with standard one?

Mine is now 98% ready… finally- I just have to build the legs and then I am ready to transfer a colony into the hive hopefully this weekend. I used a metal queen exluder which has long slots- and placed it with the slots running vertically. I only have four flow frames in my hive- I am wondering if the issue with yours was having so many flow frames- I wonder if that will make a difference. I am interested to hear any updates about your hive max.

I watched this video about a top bar hive trying to re-assure myself that bees will put honey at the end of a long hive- if you skip to near the end- look how fat those combs are:

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Hey Semaphore,
The long hive is very interesting, I am now looking at building one during winter. What do you think about having the brood frames running front to back and flow frames run left to right, instead of front to back? My thinking is it gives bees a better access to flow frames - access all frames direct from excluder as opposed to walking from near to far frames( vertical flow bees access all frames between the frames from the bottom direct from excluder). Is there some rule that brood and super frames must run in same direction?

Firstly your craftmanship is brilliant. If one thing “flowhive” has taught us all is to think laterally and be prepared to challenge the norms. Eventually we learn from mistakes and overcome problems. One of the best features is your alternative to conventional lifting out (by handles/straps/knobs) of the frames. The other one with straps is also good. This may allow easier movement and less use of the hive tool which is time consuming as frames are often stuck together.
The bee deaths worried me, and then it occurred to me the lack of vertical movement may be contributing to this. It appears bees are essentially restricted from vertical movement up and above the frame and therefore across the top. I can only see 1 hole to allow movement/airing and perhaps despite the great roof they may actually “cook” inside.

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Has anyone yet had success with flow frames in a long hive???
@Schnucki, @Semaphore, @sciencemaster, @Chet_Calhoun.