Packing down a flow hive (or not) for winter, Porongurups, Western Australia

Totally agree with you on your observations Jack @Semaphore . Just picked up my roof poly-foam insulation from Bunnings.

I have all natural bee-made, foundation-less comb in my single broodbox. I wonder if the bees might have a preference to cluster and winter over in their own comb instead of the plastic flow frame comb? I might just have to invest in one of those FLIR cameras to document over the winter.

Great idea with the mesh bottoms and the research. The store bought flow hive that I have came with a small hive beetle trap and a section of core-flute to block it up. It would seem prudent then to remove that core flute altogether to allow full ventilation then. And here I was worried that the bees would not be warm enough.

When I build my hives over winter, I’ll make sure to incorporate that base and top design. Learning, learning…

M away at work but will send a photo when I get back.

Steel frame that sits on 2 single stands.
The stands have tin caps that I grease underneath with motor grease.
Greasing from underneath stop the bees and rain getting on them. Lasts a long time too.

I had an issues when I brought 2 of my hives back from 30km away. An ant nest got inside one of my hives. Cinnamon sticks are a bit expensive and really wouldn’t last outside in the elements. I liberally sprinkled cinnamon powder on the offenders . It annoyed both bees and ants but it got rid of the ants

I had a big issue with the small ones.

On my hives I will probably just have the coreflute in the bottom slot (plenty of ventilation)- or if it’s really cold in the top slot but not quite fully inserted

Hi all! My flow hive (purchased from my friends) is going into its second winter and I’m leaving the flow super in place - last winter, it was set up on their property. They were one of the first to receive the flow hive and when it arrived, were able to populate it with bees immediately (they have about another dozen Langstroth hives going). The bees took to the flow hive really well and started to fill the flow frames with honey fairly quickly. They left the flow super on over winter and in October 2016 we did the first harvest, with no problem with propolis. After I purchased the hive from them and moved it here, we’ve harvested another three times, and I intend to leave the flow super in place again - I just assumed that it would be ok to leave on because of what my friends did last year! I have two brood boxes and the flow super. The last harvest was 2nd April and they have already been busy working on filling the frames again. I’m leaving them alone for winter and won’t harvest again until Spring.


I think your success is due to your double brood box. Most will go through winter easily with two well stocked boxes. That is basically what I do, reduce them to two boxes for winter the add supers above a QX in spring.


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Hi Rob. That sounds like the best way forward for most of us by the sound of it. I found the pulling of the flow frames a rather stressful event for both me and the bees. Just to reduce the height and weight of the overall assembly, I think I’ll try an ideal super above the brood box and see how that runs…

… now having said that, the latest WAAS newsletter has a rather interesting article from Gary Templeman about a totally horizontal brood / honey super assembly to avoid messing about with lifting or moving anything. I feel a hive making itch coming on. I can just see it now… horizontal hive, flow frames, hinged lids, infrared cameras, automatic self feeding based on hive weight… ooooh…


Glad to see this forum is going but now trying to sift through advice for SEQ. WE have one or two Flow Hive owners in our bee group but no one has suggested reducing the hive to a single brood, nor removing the QX if leaving the super on.

This is my first season and I collected 3 full frames (about 9kg) last collection end Feb. As of yesterday, I had best part of 8-90% full super ready for winter. The brood box was far from full though. Whilst there was plenty of larvae, bees still arriving with pollen etc the frames were perhaps 25% full. I felt all was well with plenty of store. We are some 25kms from coast and will get the occasional light frost over next 3 months.

My instinct is that the hive is strong and I have left more than enough honey in the super, but I was unnerved by how little there was below and by some of the posts above. Any overwintering advice from the Eumundi area or similar please.


‘Totally new’ horizontal set up?? Like this:


Nice looking long hive. Your lid will have to come right off and not just tilt so you can have a good dig in there. Also, when I had mine and the hive got big it was worth having some inner covers in strips so you only had part of the hive open at any time or you have a LOT of bees to handle all at once.



With the roof tilted 90 degrees I can lift frames up and out- and I am using 4 inner covers:


Hi Semaphore. Ha. Yep, that would be it! Did you find the bees happily moved into the flow frames without a “sucker” brood frame at the end of the flow frames to bring the bees in? It looks like you might have a mesh screen bottom in there as well… is that right?

I got my bees in too late this year to see how the bees will take to the flow frames. I won’t know until next spring if the concept works. But the bees do go in there already… and yes I have a screened bottom with slide out trays😎

If I may ask, where did you get your mesh from? Ebay only has bits around 30cm x 30cm in a #6 gauge (~3.3mm holes) and the other supplier I found old sells it by the roll :pensive:.

I had to get it shipped in from New Zealand- I spent a day on the phone ringing around Australia for a price- everywhere was from 90 to 125 per meter! I couldn’t bring myself to pay that- then I found a New Zealand supplier- same stuff- $25 nz per meter! They cut it to size for me and even after shipping it was less than here. Good quality stainless steel. Awesome!


That link is GOLD. Thankyou.

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Hi all

I think it depends on how cold your winter is. If it snows, then I would reduce the space the bees have to manage. Where I live, we don’t have snow, but it gets down to freezing (0 centigrade).

I have one brood box and one honey super. So what I do is:

  1. place a winter jacket of wood painted black on all sides. The entrance side reduces the entrance by half, keeping the outer ends open for the bees, the central part is blocked as that is where the brood is. (see pic). I paint the other side of the wood white and reverse it as a summer jacket.

  2. put a thick plastic type mat over the frames in the brood box. In my case it’s a trimmed carpet square, carpet side up against the queen excluder, or it could be a piece of wood. This helps keep the heat in the brood area. Bees can get up and down to the honey super around all four sides only. (see pic smooth side of carpet square)

  3. last three weeks of autumn/fall I feed them a tonic, each week 750ml equal parts water and white sugar and a clove of crushed garlic strained. This helps prevent disease. I hope in future to get some of Paul Stamets’ Mycohoney:, once it is available (see pic of internal feeder with stick so bees don’t drown).

I leant to do all this from my bee mentor, a local beekeeper. Though his winter jacket does not reduce the entry.

best wishes

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I use a propolis mat instead of bee mesh.