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Modified Flow 2 base entrance to prevent robbing and wind

The Flow 2 uses a large, hive-wide entrance. This encourages robbing and is drafty.

The entrance is 32m in height, I believe, but need only be around 10mm. This makes an additional entrance screen possible, without sacrificing ventilation.

To reduce the entrance, fit a 32mm-thick piece into the entrance entirely. Along a 150mm span, route 10mm at the bottom, to a depth of 22mm. From the back, route at 10mm from the bottom, at a depth of 22mm.

The bees may now enter from the front, travel forward to a back wall 22mm in, with a vertical shaft 12mm wide above. The wall is 10mm high, and the top of the shaft returns to a 10mm tunnel opening into the hive. Bees can ventilate here, but it’s hard for mice or water to get in.

Route off 1mm from the top, to a depth of no more than 20mm from the inside. A second screened bottom board rests on this shelf, just underneath the frames. This bottom board extends to 25mm from the back of the hive—potentially resting on rails along the sides. Use a #8 hardware cloth for this.

This screen leaves 32mm for the bees; an alternate design would bring the entrance all the way to the top, raise the wall to around 12mm, and run the lower bottom board from there, giving only 12mm clearance.

In either case, yellow jackets and other robbers must enter the front of the hive, climb up into this passage, and proceed to the rear. This will not end well for the robbers.

This is ideal with a Warre or AZ brood, although operating with Langstroth frames is also fine.

I just installed 12 flow frame 2. I do like them. I always use an insurance reducer. An old-time beekeeper indicated to me is only a couple of times during the day where they have traffic issues trying to get in and out otherwise it’s less robbing and less guard bees needed.

Additionally, not sure I understand about the vertical height but I do know that during rain storms. Due to the tray that we now have in the bottom it does collect water and cannot flow out easily. I was thinking about building a small overhang at the entrance, to help protect rainwater from getting into the hive, looking for thoughts and/or if anyone else has experienced this.

Concern is just too much moisture sitting in the bottom of the hive that the girls were additionally having to try to remove. If this is not a concern or should not be a concern. Let me know.

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The entrance reduce I described reduces rain and wind inflow by not allowing a direct ingress into the hive (bees have to go in, then up, then continue inward). They also have to go all the way to the back of the hive to actually enter the brood box.

This won’t completely prevent ingress, since it’s not a perfect seal; drill a small hole in your bottom board tray.

That must be wrong. Any ideas, @Faroe? That is more than an inch. In the Flow hive Classic, mine is 11mm at the outside, and 9mm at the inside due to the slope of the landing ramp. That is more in line with most Langstroth designs. I don’t have a Flow hive 2 to measure for you, but I would be open to a donation! :smile:


Yeah I think I did that backwards. It’s 3/4 inch dimensional lumber, around 20mm tall for the landing board, and the entrance is the same height as the landing board’s thickness. I don’t have one on hand right now to measure.

A top entrance would be better anyway.

That is a whole different can of worms… Tom Seeley’s research has shown that given a choice, most colonies prefer a lower entrance. Having said that, one of the packages I installed this year just love their tiny upper entrance (1 inch by 1/4 inch cut into the rim of the inner cover).

Anyhow, let’s not debate it. The bees can have what they prefer, and we just benefit from living with them. :blush:

[quote=“John_Moser, post:1, topic:21884”]
To reduce the entrance,
Being a bear (and a senior one at that) of little brain, I am finding it hard to get my head your description.
Can you give diagrams or photos please.


I too am having a hard time understanding what you’re trying to say. I’m going back out to where I have the 12 new flow hives, this weekend. I will definitely do some photos and videos of the issue with water entering with the entrance at all. Overall I think it’s a fantastic design but with anything and as we stated many times you asked three beekeepers an opinion you will get 5 to 6 different answers. Therefore, the entrance may be ideal for most.

I will definitely be making some modifications to the entrance not to allow direct rainwater/blowing rain to enter the hive i.e. the bottom plastic tray.

With all hives, this is likely been occurring all along but with the plastic tray we are collecting water now because it has no way to escape.

We had some severe weather last week, and with the new tray and having several dividers all the way back I had water in the middle of the hive in the middle of the tray. I don’t think anything I can do will prevent that kind of rain. As you can see in one of the videos I posted, I have straps holding the hives in place. We have some straight-line winds on the property that will move furniture and barbecue grills 10 or 15 feet during some of the storms.

Yeah I measured it. The entrance is about 19mm.

Something like this:

It works for an upper entrance, too. Not sure yet how well my side-access top bars work.

Ah, I see. Enter a tunnel 12mm X 10mm travel across the front of the hive and enter it upwards.
Seems a very narrow tunnel. They would be a lot of traffic jams.
I use a slatted rack to achieve a similar result without the traffic jams.

This sits on the base board (way up) as shown. The mantle is to the front. Bees enter and pass under the mantle, then enter the hive via the slats.
Slatted rack installed. Note the enterance now is not the full width but has 2 entrance’s on either side 600mm wide to aid air flow.

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No more than the entrance as-is, since they still have to leave out the same entrance eventually—although I cut the span of the entrance down to 120mm wide because there’s no need for a full-width entrance. Overall it’s just longer movement to get to the outside.

The point is to force robbers to work their way through what will ultimately become a kill zone. Wasps have to fight through all these bees instead of nipping into the entrance, grabbing stuff, and slipping out. It’s a tactical defense.

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