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Top bar hive and flow


Has anyone tried a top bar hive with flow?
I would like to make this hive http://www.horizontalhive.com/how-to-build/long-langstroth-plans.shtml - using frames with foundations, not foundationless, and then install Flow frames for the honey.
Any thoughts on making this work?
How does one encourage the bees to make their honey in the Flow frames?


@razoo, have a look at the following forum, it might help in your quest.


Hi Razoo, I think that hive would be fantastic. I agree with using foundation. You’d only need one entrance in the center. You could use a queen excluder frame between the brood & flow frames. You’d need to work out where the flow frames are going so you can make the cut out. The minute I first saw a top bar hive, this is what I figured would work: Lang frames with foundation & about 30 frames. All on one level, brilliant.


Thanks @JeffH - I am looking forward to building this. I think this just might work.
I have ordered, but not yet received my flow frames. How necessary is the cut out to view the flow frames from the side?
Is it possible to see how they are coming along from just viewing from the top?


I am going to make a Long Hive…but not with wood…I want to use poly instead. I have worked out how to do it using 2 Lang poly brood boxes…it will be like the Beehaus but made of poly instead. The Flow Hive frames will go on top of the main brood frames with a Queen Excluder. In the UK there is lots of evidence that bees do better in poly. They even keep the dreaded OSR liquid so you can extract it. All my bees are in poly or in Beehaus with extra insulation added. I might even convert a Langstroth poly box for the flow frames. Oh happy times ahead! Wish my Flow Frames were here already!


Hi Razoo, I figured you’d need to do a cut out for the flow frames similar to the cut out on a Lang super. I’m thinking you’d probably have the brood in the middle with the flow frames on one side & maybe normal honey frames on the other side with a queen excluder frame between the brood & flow frames. Also a blank frame on the other side to move across as the colony grows. I have all Lang hives. However I can see how this hive your looking at is far superior to the “normal” top bar hive.


@Horsehillhoney, what is poly?


@JeffH - yes that is what I am thinking with the placing of everything. I have a queen excluder which I will modify to fit in. Hope to build it this weekend if all goes well.

Just deciding on the placing of the cut out to view the Flow Frames - and wondering if it is even necessary, since I will have easy access from the top?


I thought you’d need the cut out in order to operate the flow frames. A gap at the top to crank the handle & a gap at the bottom for the tubes.


Poly = polystyrene hives. Very popular in Europe as the bees are well insulated from cold and heat. My bees do very well in them.


Instead of doing cut out bits in your lovely new long hive…why not put the Flow Frames in a box above the brood? Don’t put hinges on your roof …so you can still use it over the supers. I plan to put 2 supers above mine…one with flow frames and the other will be blanked off…just there to support the roof…unless the bees need the extra space. If you allow the bees to store nectar within the hive…they won’t fill the super above until there is no more space in the brood areas. So you give them one frame for honey next to the brood…then blank off sideways and give them the super above with a queen excluder. When your nectar flows finish and you remove the Flow frames…you then give more honey frames sideways in the long hive for the bees to store winter reserves…unless you don’t have a winter…
The brood usually need to expand to about 9-12 frames in the long hive…then there are enough bees to fill frames of honey. The bees need enough room to process that honey…or they will soon be swarming…then no more honey!


Hi Razoo, I thought of another strategy while dropping off to sleep last night. This is based on what I’ve observed bees doing in the wild, that’s if you can call a nest between the rafters of a 2 story house between the floor & ceiling “in the wild”. If you had say 10 frames at one end of the hive with the entrance near the side or even on the side. Then your queen excluder frame, then your flow frames followed by more traditional frames then your blank frame to slide across as the hive grows. My points being you’ll be able to check the brood without lifting the box. The flow frames will be the first honey frames filled. The one house hive that sticks in my mind had an entrance on the end, the first combs were brood followed by honey frames & the whole thing went back over 4 meters. I didn’t get the honey or bees. Someone poisoned the bees, then during hot weather the coneycomb collapsed on the ceiling, the honey ran everywhere, sending all the ceiling rancid. I removed the ceiling quite a few months later to discover the mess & wax on the ceiling & the honeycomb patches under the floor boards which ran for over 4 meters. This was before shb came to Australia, otherwise the mess & smell would have been a whole lot worse.


Hi Jeff, what a mess!
Yes, I will do that. I don’t fancy a super on top. The top bar folk say that a queen excluder is not necessary, that the bees naturally make honey after the brood and as you say furthest away from the entrance. The only way is for me to try and see how it goes. I might first give them a regular frame for their honey, and then only the flow frames - that might be my ‘insurance’ that they don’t lay eggs inthe flow frames. If that doesn’t work then I will resort to a queen excluder.


Well done Razoo, I was thinking of the challenges associated with keeping the queen excluder frame queen proof around the edges & lid. Leaving it out would be better. One thing about building it yourself, if you want to alter it later on, no problems:):slight_smile: Good luck with it, I’ll ttyl, bye