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Using the flow hive in cold climate or freezing conditions


I’m located in Pennsylvania, where it gets pretty cold in winter. We typically leave 40-60 pounds of honey for the hive overwinter. Usually about 1 medium honey super is needed for overwintering bees. I’ve ordered the 7 frame to use with my 10 frame boxes. Should I be using a flow hive in top of a medium honey super, and remove the flow hive overwinter, leaving the honey super?
What would be the best way to do it?

How do I answer this criticism/concern about the Flow Hive

I don’t have an answer, but I am also extremely interested in this. I plan on trying to keep a hive over winter to help with a local project and we have extreme cold here. I didn’t expect testing of the flow hive at the temps we experience, but I’d love to see what they think will happen/expect in cold temps. (I’m looking at -40 average, but -60 or so over all).


I have the same question. In the FAQ it mentions storing the flow frames on the hive so the bees can keep it clean. I was assuming I’d pace it on top of the last box I was planning to leave for the bees. I’m not clear on if it should also remain there for winter.


Hi…usually when the honey is extracted from a conventional wax frame…the frame is put back in the hive for cleaning. If this happens during the nectar flow…the bees refill the comb but if it is at the end of the season…the bees clean it and then it will be ready to use the next season. Then you remove the super of empty frames…as these are above a Queen excluder. If you leave anything above the Queen excluder you run the risk of the bees moving up during the cold winter months…but the Queen can’t follow and could be left behind as the bees seek the food. So IMHO I would remove all supers after ensuring the bees have sufficient stores for the winter. Including the Flow hive super. If you feel they don’t have enough food…you could put a super of stores under the brood box… I hope that makes sense!


I am a newbie and do not have a hive yet but from my partial research it is my understanding that you can insulate your beehives during the winter by wrapping them carefully. Here is a link to some information about wrapping hives in Ohio http://loraincountybeekeepers.org/uploads/MakingWinterWraps.pdf


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I’m not in an area of extreme cold so do nothing extra for my bees in winter, but thought I should mention that there is a bee blanket/moisture quilt of some kind that is used successfully. I haven’t paid that much attention as I have not needed it, but I am sure a simple google search will get anyone interested in the topic all the info they need.


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Overwintering with a Flowhive for Stores

I am going to be new to beekeeping and this will obviously be my first hive (the 6 frame kit) so I am interested in this a bit too. Here in Western Nebraska we can have -30 to -40 days and then +50 later in the same week. Our weather varies wildly (just had a winter storm 2 days ago and now it’s going to be in the 70s most of the week).


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I’m in northeast Europe - Latvia - where -20C over Winter is normal. I’m using Langstroth polystyrene boxes for brood (2) and over-Winter food storage (1 full). I plan to place my FlowHive 7-frame box on top in Spring and remove as part of Winter preparation.


Hi, can you tell me what termperatures your hive normally experiences over winter?

people are talking about cold, but several are not saying how cold is cold :slight_smile:


In my area we drop to -20°c in our coldest winters.


Fahrenheit or Celsius?


Wow fab thanks! I’m new and researching too from Scotland and this is really well presented.


-20 Celcius, or about -8 Fahrenheit.


Just a curiosity question since I can hardly remember what cold weather is anymore being in the desert.

How often are you collecting honey in the freezing cold? Wouldn’t most collection be done in late summer or early to mid spring when you know they have enough stores for the winter but before it actually gets cold or after it starts warming up?


Exactly! Here in northeastern Europe I expect to have up to a metre of snow sit around from November to March (if not longer) and plenty of time at -20C. Will I be extracting (by any method) in the middle of Winter? Duh.

I plan to remove the Flow box from my hive as part of my Winter preparation; clean & store it; and return it to the hive in Spring.



I tried to drag n copy a frequently used diagram of approximate heat in a healthy well supplied winter colony but I couldn’t get it to work.

Suppose if the outside ambient temp is -11dgs C n inside near entrance would be near -7 C, as we up to top of brood box below the colony the temp is approx 7 dgs C. Now inside the loss colony of bees the temp would be about 24 dgs C and at the core where the queen abides is near 33 dgs C per the researched diagram. Hope this might answer your question. I’ve seen the diagram a few time before.


I live in South West Western Australia and in Winter it gets extremely cold, bitter in fact, one year it got down to -1C but usually minimums in Winter sit around 7 deg C (+ or minus 3 deg C). Daily maximums in Winter a cool 20 Deg C (+ or minus 4 deg C) so you can see it is very extreme.:wink:
Summer though is very pleasant usually high 20’s C to low 30’s C, maybe 8 days a year above 37.7 C (100 F) and a couple of days over 40 C.:sunglasses: