Went to collect two nucs, beekeeper kindly gifted me two full beehives - more than I bargained for. Question is how to integrate with Honeyflow

This morning I went to collect my bees from a beekeeper, and he gave me two Italian style beehives.
I had anticipated transferring the bees into my new Honeyflow hives (2 Nr.)
So, bees in original hives have been placed on my table.
And my question is which is the best option to follow:

  1. Should I place the Honeyflow brood box on top of the existing hives, making it a two storey hive, and three-storey when I add the Honeyflow?
  2. Should I try and transfer the bees from the hive to the Honeyflow brood box.

Note: I will be opening the hive to have a look this evening when it’s cooler and the bees have settled into their new location.
Thanks for all helpful advice

Is the hive you received an 8 or 10 frame langstroth?
What flow hive did you buy (8 or 10 frame) ?
What are normal procedures in your area? ie what do most other beekeepers in your area run? one broodbox or two?

If the hive you received is the same size as the flow frames you bought and normal practice is to run just one broodbox then I would just put your flow frames on top of the hive you got and save your flow broodbox for a future split.

My answer would depend on some missing information. :blush: So here are the questions I have to fill in that information:

  1. Are the Italian beehives the same size as your Flow boxes? In other words, if you put a Flow box on top of the Italian box, are there any gaps around the edge? Photos would help. The French Flow hive users have found ways to adapt their Dadant-size boxes to fit a Flow box, so it should be possible.
  2. How many brood boxes do beekeepers in your region use? If they use 2, you should too. If they only use one, you may be fine with one too. If in doubt, I would use 2 brood boxes, as the only disadvantages are that you have more frames to inspect, and your honey harvest will be delayed for the first year.

If the Italian hive frames are Dadant, you may have trouble transferring them to a Flow box, as I believe that Dadant frames are deeper than Langstroth. I would measure all of the dimensions of both types of the boxes and frames before attempting any moving of Italian frames into the Flow boxes. :wink:

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In any case, I would just place them as they are, let them settle for a few days and do a thorough inspection to ensure there are no diseases, especially check for AFB.
Wouldn’t put the flow frames on before ensuring all is 100%.


Wow Jenna & Dawn,
Photo attached.
Thanks so much for the helpful advice.
I measured the hives before seeing your messages, and they are 44 x 50, the measurement being taken above the handles, and below the flat roof. At the time, I didn’t think to measure the depth.
The Honeyflow measures 36 x 50.
My current thought is that the size is not compatible, but more advice would be great, as I feel that I need to transfer the frames into the Honeyflow brood boxes.
This evening, I will open the hive to have a peek inside.
From memory, most of the beehives locally seem to consist of two brood boxes.

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Well that is easy to adapt then. You just need to buy some strips of wood 15 to 25 mm thick, and cut them 50 cm long and ([44-36]/2= 4) 4 cm wide. Paint them with good quality exterior paint, and fix them to the top of the Italian box, leaving you with a top centered gap of 36 x 50 to put your flow box onto. Here is a photo of the French version, which has a slightly smaller gap:

@Michael_Bush has also adapted 10 frame to 8 frame boxes very simply with a strip of wood only on one side. I think the French solution is more elegant, but the point is, the bees don’t care about the “step” in the walls. It works just fine. :wink:

When your Italian box is full of bees, I would put the Flow brood box on top, with the wood strip “adapters” and let them fill the frames in that. When that is bursting with bees, put the Flow super on top. That may not be until next year, but at least you should be able to get the second brood box started this season. :blush:

Just want to make sure I am getting everything right John. Were your measurements what I showed here in red?
If so then you can do exactly what Dawn mentioned above.
You can’t transfer the frames from your italian boxes to the langstroth boxes, unfortunately they aren’t the same size.
Keep the italian broodboxes, add a second one when your current one is 80% full, to match what other locals do, and when that is established add your super aka flow frames. Depending on your season you might not be able to harvest this year.

Just wanted to say: they are nice looking working beehives! They look pretty deep- I wonder if they are a sort of layens hive? I like the little rain proof front porch design.

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I beg to differ. If the measurements were taken where my red lines are below, then the Flow boxes can be adapted. The roof dimensions are irrelevant. :wink:


Looking at that hive- the depth looks maybedoubke a langstroth deep? Perhaps they could get away with just the flow super? I googled around and saw these hives in Italy and they are stacked but I didn’t see any stacked very high:

Well, I would always defer to local methods, which is why I asked how many brood boxes. I get your point though, and I looked up some numbers.

I didn’t think that the Italian box is double Lang depth. I believe that the Italians also use a Dadant variant (like the French), which uses brood frames around 300 mm (just under 12 inches) tall. For comparison, the Langstroth is 243 mm tall. So the Dadant-Blatt frames have about 20% more space than Langstroths. So your point is valid, he may not need double brood boxes, but I would definitely follow what the locals do in any case. :wink:

One more thought, Orvieto is on a bluff about 1,000 ft above sea level. The winters may get a little chilly, which might be a good reason for double brood or brood and a half. :blush:

Thanks Dawn, the lines in red here are the measured dimensions. I did not measure the roof as it is not a fixed part of the structure. Photos of innards of Italian beehives to follow at end of linked posts below.

Then my advice is good. Just buy some standard wood from a local supplier and weather seal it with good paint. Keep your Italian hive and stack your Flow boxes on top. All will be golden. :blush:

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First, I am grateful to all of you for the comments and wise counsel received. To help, I have taken some photos of the Italian hive and am uploading them here. I have a friend who is a bee expert coming to visit on Tuesday.
The dimensions are such that yes, two simple pieces of wood can be used to reduce the size of the brood box to enable the Hive brood box be placed above the Italian brood box.
I believe that the horizontal separator (held vertically in photo) needs to be cleaned and cleared. I can tackle this on Tuesday, as tomorrow is a busy work day for me. I can’t wait to get stuck in to this.


Thanks Dawn, delighted to have your help.

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Some people do it, and some don’t. I do, and I put the wax directly into a Ziploc bag and freeze it, if there is not much honey in it. The benefit is that you can later smear that over the plastic Flow frames to encourage the bees to use it. Don’t discard it, that would be a waste! :flushed:

By the way, beautiful brood pattern in your purchased frames. That beekeeper is worth cultivating! :smile:


Dawn, I think the Italian box is ready to have a Flow brood box placed above it. The photos show the Italian box being full of bees. I would anticipate adding the Flow brood box this week.



Sounds good to me. :sunny:

sorry guys, I was on my way home after a 12 hour night shift. I didn’t mean to measure the roof of course, brain just wasn’t working. Bess look happy John! Post pics when you get everything set up! really interested to see how it all looks and works :slight_smile:


Hello there John,

you might want to check with local beekeepers on how high they stack their hives- and how much brood they generally have. Given that your brood box is larger than a standard langstroth one- (and it looks to be full of bees about to hatch) it might be possible to put your flow super on top without needing to add the flow brood box?

I tried googling Italian beehives like yours and I couldn’t find any pictures online of them stacked very high. Most of the pictures I found showed just a single box like yours- suggesting maybe that they are generally over-wintered as a single brood box. If that’s the case I expect they are only ever stacked with honey supers and not more brood space/boxes?