Way to go.........Horizontal Flow Hive

Just thought i would share something I have been working on for most of the winter, now ready
for the bees. 8 Flow Frames and 16/ 17 brood frames, made from marine ply and cost around $500.00
Similar to 2 brood boxes and 1 supper.


Yeah, that looks great. If the bees don’t use all of the brood frames to raise brood in, you’ll get some nice comb honey & easy to access. You did a beautiful job on it. Congratulations.

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Johno , this looks just wonderful, how exciting. All the best for getting your Bees

Looks good! My own long hive is really starting to boom now. I have filled it out completely 14 brood frames and four flow frames. Yesterday activity was at an all time high- the entire thing was humming with bees. The bees took a while to get into the flow frames but now they are jam packed. Honey keeps going in only to disappear. I’m hoping soon they will magically fill. Are you going to run two colonies in that or just the one?

also do you have some kind of inner covers? You’ll have to be careful when you inspect that bees don’t crawl up where the hinge of the roof is and get squished when you try and close the roof? I have decided on a modification for mine for the rests that the inner covers sit on- I am going to make it from thin aluminum strips instead of wood- the reason is in my design you cannot twist the inner covers into position you have to lift them straight up and down- and bees can get trapped and squashed where the covers rest. You can’t see what’s happening and it can be hard to get them all out of the way before you put the covers down. Smoke helps a lot. With thin metal strip the bees will be able to get out of the way easier. I will round off the edges of those strips so that the inner covers are only touching a few mm of the rest. I may even use a router to scallop out the inner covers so at each end they are only resting on two small spots and the bees will be able to run away.

I will say so far inspecting that hive is a dream compared to others. No boxes to lift and very easy to move frames around and cycle them out by moving the vertical QX, Also when you are looking at a frame it is always above all the others and easy to manage any bees that crawl off. I have found using one of those frame grabbing tools is very handy as it’s not so easy to lift out frames with the hive tool- as the far side is hard up against the roof and awkward.


Hi Semaphore,

Yes do have inner covers with ventilation coming in from the top as well. Roof is insulated

2 entrances as well and if need be can split.


looks brilliant!

I assume those inner covers are about 1 cm thick? If you have a router you could scollop out the center of the edges that rest on the hive about 6mm- so they are only resting on one point at each end. That way when you put the covers down- of there are bees crawling up over the rests- the chances of any getting squished will be much smaller- and the bees will be able to run back into the hive via the scolloped hollow… do you follow what I am saying? The next point I found is- if those covers are all tight up against each other- they may become stuck or hard to prize up- they may even expand a little and be hard to put back in. So you should leave a few mm of space between them all to account for that. This is all stuff I figured out only after I started using my hive.

Also if you have left space above the top of the bars and the inner covers- then I suggest cutting out some vinyl hive mats to stop the bees attaching burr comb in that space. After winter my inner covers were so burr combed to the bars below that when I went to lift one- the frames beneath it all started to lift up with the cover. For a minute there I was stupmed about what to do… I had to get the hive tool under the cover and prize it away from the frames breaking the burr comb. i’ve added the mats now.

It’s nice that you can split it- if you ever wanted to cycle out a heap of frames- or reduce the colony- you could just put your divider in and theoretically the queenless half would make another queen. they you could remove that colony- and expand the other one with fresh frames. You could leave some full frames of capped brood from the one to be removed to give the one staying a big boost.

Lastly- you may want to add handles to the two covers with vents in them- especially if you don’t have the hive mats. You will need to be able to get a good grip on them to get them off.

What I do when I inspect is I take out one inner cover- then as I work on certain frames I slide one of the other covers over to cover frames I am not working on. This way 75% of the frames are always covered and in the dark and the amount of disturbance is minimalised. It’s probably a good idea to remove one of the vented frames- as bees running around on the inner covers try to run back into the dark brood chamber and some of them end up on the vents trying to get through… either that or place little covers over the vents while you are going. It’s no big deal- you can use a brush to brush them off when you are ready to close the hive up.

there is a nice (but sleepy) video of a lady inspecting a long hive- you can see how she uses the frame grabbing tool;

You can see how relaxed the bees are- and how she has bare hands.


Fantastic workmanship.Really looks great and functional. Would love to know how the bees perform in the horizontal configuration vs vertical?
When introducing a new colony do you have to still close off the supers and reduce the brood area?

I did on mine- I have division boards so as you add frames you can move them along.

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Yes that is what i am hoping to do with mine, only have one Nuc in there which has 6 full frames at the moment, so i will be closing down one entrance and open that when i get to the 10th frame. I also have hive mats to go in there.
Will keep you informed on how it all goes
Thanks again guys for your support…


Love that design, and that plywood finishes beautifully.

I went with a rustic double deep horizontal design this year, and the bees love it. It certainly is a pleasure to work without the lifting.

Can’t wait to see how they take to the Flow Hives.

would love to see pictures!


Beautifully done!
Would you share your design plans? My husband offered to make me a horizontal for next year.

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@Johno how has the horizontal flow hive worked for you. Any insight to how the work the flow frames? Jack @Semaphore seems a little sceptical of their movement across the vertical QE into the flow frames. But rightly says he needs more time to asses.


Hi Adam, yes the horizontal hive is starting to work well , has taken a bit of time for them to get use to it, I have 16 brood frame and 8 flow frames , 4 either side.

Bees have taken up 12 of those frames and are starting to work the flow frames on the left, the right side is not as strong as the left. There are 2 entrances but one side seems stronger than the other.

The good thing about this is there is no lifting of any boxes, all you are doing is inspecting the frames, 4 at any one time, close up another 4 frames etc.

Now looking at building another one over winter.


Thanks for the feedback. So you are running to seperate queens with a central Divider?

Hi Adam,

When I first started the horizontal I had 2 separate Nuc’s in there which I thought was a good idea, but that did not work, one was strong and one was weak so I took out the divider and made it one.

When thinking about it later one horizontal is the equivalent to 2 brood boxes and one super so to divide it into 2 would be very small.

It does take a bit of time for them to get use to it but after the fist couple of weeks in there it’s fine.

I have 2 Flow Hives , 1 normal , and one Horizontal and I would say the horizontal is the way to go , easy to work with.

Thanks John. I built a long lang in Feb and I enjoy working it and regret not making allowance for flow frames. But I only have one flow super at the moment and two vertical langs. I’m planning to make another long lang and would like to put flow frames in it. I’m just not sure where to put them and how many so it is good to pick your brains and Jacks.


I think if I was making one again- I would have flow frames at either end- either 2 or 3. I am not sure yet if bees will consistently work across a large number of flow frames. Like I say- until next season the jury is out on my hive. I actually put two ideal supers on mine months ago- but to date the bees have not put any honey upstairs though both supers are full of bees. I will be removing them when I do my inspection. One thing is certain though- the colony has done very well in there. Mine is full of bees. Ill be inspecting it this week as soon as there is some nice weather, Currently it is cold and raining.

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Hi Jack,

Yes I totally agree, you must have Flow frames at either end.

I have 4 at either end and I think it works well, the only problem you might have is that one end could be stronger than the other.

I will be making another one over winter similar to the one I have already, might make one alteration and have only

3 flow frames at each end instead of 4 which will give me more brood frames.

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