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What kind of bees should I use?

A common beginner question is what kind of bee should I use with my Flow Hive?

The general answer is Apis mellifera, AKA Western/European honey bee, the most commonly used bee in the world, loved by humans for thousands of years for their incredible honey production and pollination abilities, plus additional production qualities such as wax, propolis, pollen, the list goes on.

Within the Apis mellifera species, there are 31 different subspecies (e.g. Carniolan, Caucasian, Buckfast etc.) available across the globe that demonstrate unique characteristics and behaviours influenced by their evolutionary path (e.g. they’ve adapted to the local climate) or domestication (e.g. bred for docility, honey production). It’s not necessary to get too caught up in this as most bees are a blend of multiple races as honey bees are difficult to domesticate due to the queen’s mating method. I do advise though to familiarise yourself with the Africanised honey bee if you’re located in North, Central or South America.

Flow is also being successfully used with Apis cerana (Asian honey bee), the only other domesticated honey bee species in the world. In particular, Flow developed shorter Flow Frames suited for the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica) that are traditionally kept in smaller log hives. See here for more information - Research & Development – Flow Hive US

To avoid confusing the new beekeeper, my best recommendation for sourcing the ‘right’ bees for your Flow Hive is to simply speak to your local and experienced beekeepers about what honey bee is most commonly used in your particular location. Reach out through your local beekeeping associations, clubs, mentors, bee breeders, suppliers, or online connections (forum).

If you’re worried that your local bees won’t be suitable for Flow Frames, keep in mind that if the bees are amenable to being maintained in a removable frame hive, such as Langstroth, they can be expected to be fine with Flow Frames.

I’d love to take this opportunity to ask beekeepers in different locations around the world to tell the forum what species of honey bee they’re using (Apis mellifera or Apis cerana) and subspecies (if you know it). Perhaps you have a favourite subspecies for your particular location that you could share for others located near you, or you live in a rural location where you believe to be the only Flow Hive beekeeper.


Buckfast buckfast buckfast.

Calm, less tendancy to swarm, great honey producers.

The Abbey is a few hours drive from me and Brother Adam was an inspiration to alot of beekeepers and still is.

Carny’s don’t like me lol evil little shits :rofl::rofl:


I like hygienic Italians. We can’t get Buckfast in Southern California. Italians work hard, tolerate the hot summers well and produce good amounts of honey when we have had sufficient rain.

In the UK, I worked with Caucasians (evil bees), local mutts and New Zealand-bred Italians. The New Zealand were the gentlest. I wasn’t able to get Buckfasts back then, but I would love to have tried them. Having said that, Buckfasts do have a reputation for becoming increasingly evil after superseding their queens - offspring of daughter queens are often quite evil, but those of granddaughters can be almost psychopathic! :rofl:


I’ve found Italians successful in my part of the Australian climate. Hot summers and relatively mild winters, no frost. Successive splits have produced some nasty muts that requeening with quality mated queens fixed. I don’t know if there’s any ‘pure’ stock anywhere in the new countries, but breeding programs are producing strains with delightful traits: gentle, low swarm tendency, pest resistant etc. we are fortunate not have Africans here and cerana are banned with the few outbreaks so far eradicated in short order.


Mine are mostly-workable mutts, with a resentful streak :roll_eyes: