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Thinking of building a nonstandard hive type for next spring. Thoughts?

I started my first hive this spring and they’ve done great so far, but one thing I found during my first year of experience was that I really hated having to unstack the 2 brood boxes to properly inspect them. Each time, I’d destroy cells that bridged the 2 boxes, and larvae would be exposed. Plus, they’re heavy (even with 8-frame equipment) and hard to manage, and I was always so afraid of dropping something and/or crushing my queen when trying to move heavy things.

So… I was debating building a different type of hive for next year. Kind of a hybrid Langstroth and top bar design. It would use standard Langstroth frames but be a long single-story design like a top-bar instead of a stacked design. On one end, I’d install the Flow frames, and I might or might not end up jury-rigging a horizontal queen excluder. I’m still thinking if I should make the entrance in the center or on an end-- which way would be easiest to manage for being able to expand or contract the bee’s space with an end wall, use a queen excluder if I have to, etc.

Also,do you think it would be a problem leaving the hive at the recommended angle all the time, or should I set it up so I can tilt it when it’s time to drain the Flow frames?

Can anyone think of a good reason why I shouldn’t do this? Poke some holes in my plan so I can either figure out how to improve the design or if I should just scrap it and do another standard Langstroth hive.

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This hive design is called a long langstroth, or horizontal langstroth. There is a lot of information around for this style of hive, including people running flow frames in them (search this forum)

Great post here with an excellent example video:

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Thanks! I hadn’t seen any of these before so didn’t know what to call it to search. I think the main thing I will have to decide for Flow adaptation will be how to do the slope for draining flow frames. The whole hive will probably be too heavy for lifting it to prop it up for drainage.

Having a slope in line with the frames year round is perfectly fine. You just want to avoid a left/right slope, as it messes up comb-building.

I found that too, but I also have a solution. I bought an extra flat telescoping cover (roof), and put it upside-down next to my hive. Then I put an inner cover inside it, to maintain bee space for what comes next. I put an empty brood box on top of the inner cover, then as I inspect, I put the inspected frames into the empty brood box. When I have inspected 4 frames, I do the rest in the box on the hive, and then it is easy to lift it over with only 4 frames in it and put it on top of the box in the roof. The bottom box can then be inspected in the normal manner and the whole process is simply reversed to put the hive back together. So easy, that I actually wouldn’t do an inspection any other way now. :blush:

The only issue with having the hive slope backwards is that water/debris can collect at the back of the hive if the base isn’t fully ventilated/screened. I guess that something to consider if running Flow frames in the horizontal Langstroth. I hope in the 2.0 version of the Flow frame the slope for drainage is incorporated into the reservoir at the bottom of the frame to remove the need to tilt the whole hive back to drain.

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Are you finding water n junk really at the back ?

. I live in an area of the States (Puget Sound/Seattle) noted for its RAIN… My conflux SBBoard doesn’t seem to be having this issue. The entrance slope outward n down … And the back is sloped backward for frame drainage. I’ve included pix’s of my hive n bottom board. Hmm, what am I doing different to not have these water n debris problems ?

I have some type of Screen Bottom Boards on all my five hives. Each Spring n Autumn I pull my colonies/hives down to the SBB just like when I ran solid bottoms to check n clean. I’ve not noticed much other than a dead bee or two (the girls hadn’t carried out yet) n few wax or few larger pollen pellets that didn’t fall thru the screen. I will be doing one (my full autumn) last bottom check this week. Since you’ve mentioned that n this is my first full season with a Flow I’ll double check for your noted concerns n see if mine are likewise this Falll…

Thanks for the note n heads up bro. I learn a lot on here. Keeps me out of too much troubles,

Have a great day,

I don’t run screened bases on all of my hives. in these hives you can get debris (pollen/wax scraps etc.) build up if the hive is sloped towards the back. All my hives slope forward, screened or not, to make sure any moisture collects/drains forward.

Not sure what people are doing for screened bottom boards in their long langstroth hives, would be interesting to see the solutions. Split panels every 10 frames or so in the bottom would probably work well so they are still easily removed.

I should mention that in Australia we don’t (yet) have varroa so it isn’t a consideration in the above comment.


Only have the one Flow-Hive thus far !! My four others do slope forward slightly … Only my Cedar 10 frame from Beethinking had a sloped forward porch/landing. (Except my Flow 8 frame… Yah ! Lucky you with no mites … Real pain in the A-- ! As a kid beekeeper in the later 1950’s n 60’s I can easily remember life without mites. Now I use the SBB as part of my natural treatment program.

When I help work on a friends hives (about 80 hives ) we pull the hives down n clean all his solid boards … That takes awhile.

. Pix’s are from day working in one of my friends 6 or 7 yards.


My friend Abielles posts to this forum sometimes. She has a combination top bar hive and flow frame on her property in far north NSW Australia. I’ve been there for a couple of inspections and her bees are healthy and prolific. Flow frames are at one end and standard langstroth frames at the other. 3mm spaced ss wire mesh underneath with ventilation control of the space below.

I don’t know about front to back slope but I do know she has some concern about the location of the entrance. Currently it is centrally located but a better location might be towards the langstroth end. Then the brood nest might be less likely to extend to the flow frame end. Currently she has a vertical queen excluder in place.

There is an inner cover over the flow frames and faux top bars over the Langstroths. This arrangement works well. Only a couple of top bars at a time need to be removed. Far less disturbance for the bees.

If you read this Abielles, bonsoir from Bob.


That sounds like a much more practical idea.

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