Relative frame width

So I am drawing up an idea in my head for a custom long langstroth/top bar configuration which would be able to use Flow Frames.

I note that Flow sells frames in bunches of 3,4,6,and 7.

I know 7 frames go into a 10 frame Langstroth super.
I know 6 frames go into an 8 frame Langstroth super.

How wide should the interior of a box be to accommodate 3 or 4 frames?

Why would you only use 3 or 4 frames? But there is a page with frame specifications on Flow site, once yoou have the width of 1 frame you can work out spacing for any configuration.

Three or Four flow frames are used in hybrid supers. A 3 flow frame setup also means 4 standard frames on an 8 frame Langstroth (one of the supers I run is like this). I’m guessing a 4 flow frame setup means 2 standard frames in an 8 frame langstroth.

I’m looking at possibly building a hybrid hive like this one…

It has what amounts to a langstroth nuc on the one end, and it is top bar on the other end. And so, I figure I could super some flow hives on top of the nuc end. And thus, I would use a 4 or 5 frame nuc width on that end, and modify a standard nuc as a super to allow flow frames out the back.

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Flow frames are 51mm on the clear end

When I measured my frame I measured 50mm which is what the following calculations are based off:

I need to update the spreadsheet as I also worked off a wider 10 frame measurement and I also want to include the Flow Hive internal with of 315mm. Neither of these changes would effect your calculations.

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Let’s see, divide by 25.4, etc.

Ok, this info answers what I need, thanks!!!

I designed mine to use 4 frames- I chose this number for several reasons: first in a horizontal situation the bees move through a vertical excluder- which means they pass through it and hit one face of one frame- and have to move beyond that to get to the next ones. In a normal vertical hive the bees can simply go up and will hit any of the upper frames. As no one has used a horizontal hive with flow frames yet it remains to be seen whether the bees will readily pass the excluder and work their way across all the flow frames. This is my biggest concern about my hive- as yet it is unproven whether it will work or not.

The next reason is economy; 4 frames are cheaper than 6!

Another reason is the overall length of the long hive- I wanted to keep mine manageable yet have a big enough brood space for a realtively strong/large colony. Mine ended up exactly the width of two 10 frame boxes- and can hold 14 brood frames and 4 flow frames. I think 14 brood frames will give me a chance to build up a pretty strong colony.

Another factor that influenced me was that I plan to leave the flow frames in the hive year round- I am hoping that just four won’t create too big an area beyond the excluder for bees to keep warm- or for the cluster to move into leaving the queen and brood to get cold… If my theory holds then the flow frames can act as winter stores- and I reduce the work of having to drain and remove them at the end of each season- also they will be there if there is any nectar coming in in winter- which I think is possible where I live.

The final reason is my theory that in a backyard home hive situation- where time and labour are not major considerations- possibly 4 frames could be as good as six- provided they are harvested more regularly. Anhows- that’s my thinking and why I chose just 4 frames…


If you decide to modify a Nuc- this can be done quite well using three flow frames. # flow frames take up about an inch less width than a five frame nuc but if you put some ‘spacers’ on the edge of the box it stacks well and matches standard nuc boxes. here is one I prepared earlier:

This box was placed on a hive about 3 months ago- now it is 90% capped and ready to be harvested in the next week or so. This configuration works well as I have windows on both sides and if I wanted to take out frames to see if they are fully capped at most I would onyl have to remove the central one- Also the bees filled that first so I think i will often be able to harvest without having to remove any frames to check at all. Bees took to the nuc flow hive faster than I have seen them take to any other flow hive. they had filled in all the wax gaps within 24 hours of adding it.

these are the views through the viewing windows as of last week:


In a hybrid I understand, I read as an interior for only 3 or 4 frames…

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In a 3 hybrid honey super do you leave the other regular f frames for the bees to use?

Yes. I don’t touch the traditional frames unless I’m cycling frames from the brood box to manage swarming or remove old frames/comb.

During a boom I also might take a frame out so I can store the frame for when there is a dearth (i.e. I’ve currently got two frames of full capped honey safely in storage so I can reintroduce them into the hive, if ever needed, in preference to feeding with sugar water).