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New to bees. Docile bees? Plastic combs? Differences in models?

Interested in bee keeping. I’d like to use a flow hive for my first hive to make honey harvest easier.

Not entirely sure what type of bees I’d like to get. Currently leaning towards Carniolan bees. But if anyone has suggestions for highly docile bees, I’d love to hear them. :blush:

I’m confused about the different models? What are the differences between them?

Also, based on the reading I’ve done, bees prefer natural combs as opposed to the plastic ones in the flow hive. Can you take the plastic combs out of the frame and allow them to build the combs themselves? Or would that affect the way the hive functions and make the honey not be able to flow out properly?

Hello and welcome!

It may be a good place to start to get a book, like beekeeping for dummies, to get a basis.

The flow hive is a Langstroth hive with a different honey super that allows for in situ harvesting. If you want to harvest comb honey, you can use foundationless frames or thin wax foundation even with a hybrid flow super. If you don’t want to use the flow frames then you can get a traditional langstroth, or top bar, warre, Kenyan etc.

Bees will be bees and some are hesitant to use the flow frames but usually it seems this is a factor of too few bees and a weak nectar flow.

Italians are the most common but carniolan are fine. I think if you get your bees from a reputable queen breeder who is selecting for gentleness you’ll probably be in good shape.


Thanks a bunch. Very helpful. :blush:

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Hi Emma,

I agree with Alok - Italian and Carniolan are both great choices. We have both of these in our office hives, along with Russians which are very hardy and good producers, but can be a bit less calm than the Italians or Carniolans. Saskatraz are another good variety to start on. Essentially any variety of European Honey bee offered by your local beekeeping club is likely to be pretty good.

You might find this guide to choosing a hive handy in terms of working out which hive will best suit your needs - please give us a yell if you have any questions on any of them to assist you with your decision.