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Ventilation in flow hives?


hi there, is there ventilation in the flow hives? or vent box? or screened vents? a local beekeeper was telling me about why he makes his hives the way he does, with a ventilation box & screened vent escapes because honey needs to let evaporation happen & moisture escape in order to not ferment & to keep the hive healthy.


Bees need ventilation that they can control. I went overboard for a while with ventilation but I’ve since concluded the bees do better with a limited entrance. Huber’s research came to that same conclusion. That bees can ventilate better with one opening than two and they do fine with a very small opening. I think the important aspect of ventilation is this:

Moist air rises. In the winter this is important because it lets the moisture out so it doesn’t condense. In the summer this is important because they are drying honey and doing evaporative cooling to keep the brood from getting above 93 F and to keep the wax from getting soft and collapsing. So the important thing is to have a way for the moisture to get out the top. I have just a top entrance. The bees do well.


Does the flow hive have a mesh floor?


I don’t know what the complete hive comes with. I have about half and half, solid and screened but you can put a “tray” or a piece of “coroplast” under the screen to block the draft and the SBB will work fine (Screened Bottom Board aka Open Mesh Floor).


I don’t have a mesh floor on my hives but agree with Michael’s statement. The ventilation I added at the top of my hives was propolised up continually… the bees like to control the air flow, so it best to leave it to them. What I did do for the winter months was add a ‘moisture quilt’ similar to what is used in the Warre’ hives which absorbs the moisture condensing on the cold roof of the hive and prevents it from dripping on the bees and chilling the brood, it also stops the mould build up which can be a nuisance.


The reason I asked.
If you have an open floor and a top entrance then you will get a through drought, surely?


A better way is to stop the roof being cold.
Put an empty super on top, 50mm foil backed insulation inside, then the roof.


Yes. That’s why I would put in a “tray” or something to block the air from the bottom.


The flow comes with a screened bottom board with a slide in solid panel.


Hi Rodderick, do you have a link to the design that you followed or some dimensions/instructions you can share? thanks


Hi Andrew,


You say that moisture from the hive passes through the woodchips hits the cold roof,where it condenses, then wets the top layer of the chips. That is exactly what you would expect. If you had NO cold interface then you wouldn’t get ANY condensation at all.


Actually Dee, in some climates, where you have heavy fog, year round pretty much, it is a problem. Condensation happens.

And what you are describing would function similarly to what Rod is describing.


I’ve never heard of fog condensing inside beehives. Well, I live and learn.
I was suggesting remove the woodchips, close the ventilation holes in the crown board and put 50mm of PIR on top.


thanks Rodderick, that looks simple but effective, I`ll plan to get something organised or make it up before the cooler months hit. cheers


I’ve come to this post a bit late, but as I’m reading I have started to wonder the same thing as the posted about how well things might vent with just the bottom entrance and the flow hive roof like it is? I plan to put my hive up on a bit of something to keep it directly off the ground where it can get morning and early-afternoon sun and I hope it will be high enough to avoid getting the bottom entrance covered in snow, but if we get a bad storm it could drift up and close it off.

It seems as though leaving the Screened Bottom open during the summer may help with the cooling and moisture a bit, but then sealing it off during the winter is best?

P.S. I’m guessing in the mornings after a snow storm I’ll need to ensure the bottom entrance is open unless there is a better option like putting a small entrance into the roof of the Flow Hive cover?


@Michael_Bush loves raised entrances. From what I have read, it seems to me that he may be falling out of love with SBBs, but if you can close it with a sliding insert, then effectively you almost have a solid bottom board. As he is so close to you in geographical terms, I am sure he will chime in with a ton of wisdom on these issues. :imp:



Well I wonder if he was just in Australia for the video on Installing a Package (watched part of it - will watch the whole thing later this week in the living room with my wife), if so that’d make sense why he’s seems quite on the forums lately :slightly_smiling:

I am reading Michael webpage a lot since he is near me and I know he does like the top entrance (as per his site), but since the flow Hive has a much different top that is why I asked. Hope @Michael_Bush does chime in since what he knows/thinks will mean a lot for where I am.


A lot of people in the UK are too. Some never did fall out.
I know of one commercial outfit that has solid floors on all their hives.
I’m customising two existing floors with a proper sliding insert three inches below the varroa mesh to trial this year.


I still use the screened bottoms I have, but I only buy the solids now. They last longer and I can double them up as feeders when I need them.

The more I’ve watched ventilation in a hive the more I think we cause a lot of extra work for the bees. Huber’s research concluded that there is more ventilation with one opening than with more than one. The bees know what they are doing and know how to ventilate very effectively with very little opening and one opening gives them control over it. I would rather have my screens closed all the time…