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UK Flow keepers


You can chat about all of these things here on the forum. Even those of us who don’t live in the UK, are still willing to help out with beekeeping concepts.

You are correct. Keep all the frames together in the middle of the brood box. He doesn’t sound like my kind of “expert”! :blush:

He is just presenting one point of view. I have tried screened bottom boards, and I don’t really like them. My Flow hive obviously has one, so I just leave the slider in the top slot all of the time. I believe that @Dee leaves her screens fully open all of the time. If I did that, my hive would be invaded by ants, and my screen is a little faulty in the mesh spacing, so bees would be using it as an exit/entrance too. I don’t believe that it helps with reducing varroa. I also don’t like using the sticky boards for varroa counts - sugar roll or alcohol wash is much more accurate.

The metal netting (known as the screen) should be the bottom of the inside of the hive. If you are using the white slider, you just put it into one of the slots on the back of the bottom board. Don’t put it on top of the mesh. The upper slot at the back is the position I use, and is also the position to use when harvesting. The lower slot is more useful if you want to trap small hive beetles. However, I have a major ant problem in my area, and if I use the lower slot, ants nest in the gap between the slider and the screen. :scream:

You don’t need a dummy board. I have used one occasionally while the bees draw out the outer frames, otherwise they tend to build double comb or lots of crazy comb in the gap at first. However, that gap at the edge is deliberate. It means that you can pull out the first frame without rolling (and killing) as many bees as you would if the dummy board is there, or you tried to cram in an extra frame (some people do).

Hope that helps. :blush: Don’t panic, you have friends here. If all you need is information and advice, we can do that. Hands-on help is a bit tougher from 6,000 miles away… :smile:


In the uk screened bottom boards are called OMF or open mesh floors. They are considered standard. The white plastic sheet underneath is used for inspection purposes only. We don’t have nasty stuff like bee eating ants or beetles. If this is your first foray into keeping bees please be aware that the Flow set up is a method of extracting and collecting your honey, nothing else. Managing the bees remains the same. It might be a good idea to do just what @Dawn_SD had done and run a traditional set up as well.


Thanks! Helpful!
I am a newbee and finding the combination of recent serious illness n consequent disability, with starting beekeeping, overwhelming!
At present not sure whether I will be able to continue!
I helped my grandfather with bees as a child and for many yrs wanted to bee keep-but a series of health problems since retirement has blown big holes in the plan!
I bought the Flowhive because I thought I’d be able to manage it!
My local group are helpful but they’re very busy with their own hives, and unfortunately I’ve lost my confidence totally, my life and world have become very difficult!


Dear Dee,
THanks so much for advice!
What I don’t know, and just can’t remember, tho is whether the FH has mesh above the white board - I thought it did, and that the base was SOLID below it!
That would mean the only way of cleaning the waste etc that’s dropped thro is by keeping the board regularly in and cleaned off!
Ie it can’t drop to the floor as in other UK set ups!
WHats the answer please?
It was a year ago I took the Hive to the local Beekeepers assn and they put in, and looked after the bees, till 2 months ago! And now I’m in a muddle!
This was all because I was so ill- still not 100% by any means!
Many thanks


Right Dee, I’ve now looked up the Flowhive UK correspondence on this and I see there’s some debate as whether to use the slider or not, and when, in the UK!
At present I have the Flowhive on a high frame 3’ off floor on an upstairs balcony, but with a solid base! Silly me eh?
Anyway I’ll try and change it to a slatted base but am slightly anxious about this as it’s heavy and difficult for me to move! I worry the whole hive will fall off doing so - may use the slider in lower position therefore until autumn and everything’s a bit lighter!
Would that be ok?
Thanks for kind reply! Much appreciated!!


Yes Sarah the floor should be a mesh floor if you bought the whole kit. I worry that a 3 feet high base is too high for you to take the flow super off when you are checking the brood box. I find 18 inches is about right for checking my broods.
Slider in lower position should be fine


Oh thanks!
That’s so helpful! (Reassuring advice and good advice!)
And that’s what I’ll arrange for autumn, ready for next year! I’m pretty sure I can buy a wooden stand, as the height is a real issue for me particularly lifting the super off, esp as I have another back op in the autumn at Kings ie when I’ve got over the infected hip replacement issues!
The other way I could do it is to have another broodbox sized box that I could just slide the flow frame super across to whilst I inspect the brood box, maybe using a step up to increase my relative height!
My current stand is brilliant in some ways ie it means the bees can fly in so easily - the hive is on a balcony which has 3’ slatted balustrade. The other factor is I can see what’s going on so easily just from our bedroom window! This is it before the super went on[image1.JPG]
Oh everything’s such a problem just now!
If all else fails then the local beekeepers group are happy to take the hive and tend it for me for a while, tho at present I’m reluctant as the site is perfect, ie they have a wonderful bee friendly garden, wild churchyard etc all close by!
Very much thanks for your help


Yes, you could customise your stand so that you didn’t have to lift far or have an empty box and take the flowframes out one by one then the super. Hope your op goes well and hang on in there


Thanks! Very helpful!


Hi Sarah,

Hope you are doing well. sorry I was away on holiday and was not able to reply to your messages.


Thanks Paras! I hope you had a good break and the bees are happy!
Things here are OK but I’m not coping especially well- but the bees seem well and happy and a local beekeeper friend has been pretty reassuring!
We were talking about when you should last take honey from them as he says you need to leave them quite a lot of stores for the winter.
How do you do this with a Flowhive?
Do you drain all the honey off, remove the super and refeed it to them in a feeder or do you somehow encourage the bees to clean out all the honey from the Flowhive super ie by ? Removing the queen excluded in autumn??
I’d be grateful for advice on this when you have a moment! There’s no hurry as I guess things are safe enough till the end of July as they are!
Many thanks again


Traditionally take honey off beginning of August and take super/s off.
The Flow super is not left on over winter.
This gives the bees time to collect stores for winter which you can top up with syrup or invert.
The advantage of having a traditional super on as well as the Flow is that you can leave this honey for the bees.
As Autumn approaches the brood nest shrinks and the bees begin to fill the brood frames with stores for winter.


Thanks Dee, very helpful!!
Would it be worth putting some ordinary Langstroth frames in during August so they can collect honey there which I could use over winter do you think?
Many thanks


Are they on double brood? Then no. There is enough space in the brood boxes.


Hi Sarah

I had an amazing break went to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

I shall write to you separately regarding your health, something that could help you feel better.

Well I have 3 hives at present two of which are Flow Hives and one is Poly Hive. I started with one Hive at the begging of the year and created a split, which was my FlowHive 2 at end of May my FlowHive wanted to swarm so I created an artificial swarm and placed all the brood in the PolyHive without the queen and flying bees. I shook 4 frames nursing bees back to the FlowHive and left them bee with new frames.

The PolyHive the virgin queen was not successful and it appears the bees have packed the hive with honey, I have provided them a brood frame with larvae in all stages to see if they create new queen. If they fail I shall re-unit the hive with my original FlowHive making it a double brood.

My Second FlowHive is question as well, the queen has not been laying well, so if the Poly Hive does succeed with a queen, I shall destroy my queen on the FlowHive 2 and re-unit them original FlowHive.

Not sure what I do plan on doing at present as it is still early, all depend later in the season what I plan to do.

With regards to the Honey Flow Supers I plan on harvesting all the frames and leaving the bees to clean up the frames before removing them.

I have two frames of stores in the freezer which I plan on giving the bees back and some honey that I took from other frames when I was cleaning then frames. After which I shall feed sugar syrup and give them Fondant in Nov and leave them alone till next year.

The Fondant and sugar syrup I will feed using a rapid feeder that will be placed on top off the crown board.

I will heft the hive to see if they need feeding during the winter which I doubt.

Having more than one hive gives you more options.


How did you enjoy Kilimanjaro?
I was there in 2002, standing on the top on my 50th birthday. There was snow then but I gather little now.


It was an amazing experience, I climbed last year with my dad, however I did not submit as my body did not have enough oxygen to submit. So I trained harder and went again this year.

The training and Nutritional program I set for me worked out pretty well, after each day’s hike I went further trek up the mountain for about an hour and half. My energy level was very high.

My next adventure would be 14 day trek around Everest base camp and the lakes elevating to 6000 m above see level.


Oh Paras that’s a brilliantly informative n helpful reply!!
Will digest it all later, as just in from a long hot day driving a refrigerated van for one of my vol jobs-( Foodbank / Fareshare) so in desp need of TEA n a sit down! We take prisoners at the end of their sentences who do all the heavy lifting so all I have to do is drive, but today it was an excessively hot n difficult 100 miles all over Kent!
Regards n thanks


Never did Everest base camp but hiked around Dhaulagiri where there are no crowds. Have a ball. I wish I was younger…sigh


Last year I did climb Kilimanjaro with my 70 yrs old dad then, he made it to the top.

Its not about the age that stops us from doing things we like.