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Will a standard ideal fit a flow hive

I live in the Snowy Mountains NSW. My first hive began in November with a caught swarm. They are going well just four weeks in, filling the 10 frame brood box nicely. I’m debating adding an ideal before putting my flow super on to give them more time to build up food stores for winter. As Flow don’t sell Ideals, will a standard hive ideal fit a flow hive?
Also, anyone else in a colder climate used this system to help them build stores for winter? I’m happy to not harvest any honey in their first year to allow them to store. Thoughts on layering Brood box, Flow Super, Ideal or Brood box, Ideal, Flow Super. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they will have a very productive summer!
Thanks everyone.

My climate is so different that I can’t advise on what box to add when, but I can say that an ideal box should match the flow brood box because it is a conventional Langstroth size. I have an eight frame ideal which fits the eight frame brood box I bought from Flow. Good luck with your bees!

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I would say that a second brood box would be a good idea in the Snowy. I would probably go for a full depth box to keep it uniform. Make sure to remove the QE and super before winter so they do not desert the queen.



Hi there

I think Cathiemac is correct in that structurally the ideal box will fit on your Flow brood box. The only difference is the depth of the box.
My understanding is that you want to use the Ideal super as a food bank for the hive and then put your flow super on for surplus honey for yourself. Its funny that I was thinking along exactly the same lines myself as being located in the Dandenong Ranges next to Melbourne we are a little cooler and hive honey storage for winter is something I am considering.
I am no expert but I reckon it’s a great idea but I’m happy to be corrected by those more experienced on this forum.


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Thanks so much! I’m loving the journey so far.

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Thanks Rob. I guess I’m planning for when I winter down the hive. I was worried a full brood box would be to big a space for them to maintain warmth in the hive. I planned to keep the QE between the brood and the ideal regardless of if I add the super. The super will come off for winter but if I leave the ideal on for winter food stores, shouldn’t I leave the QE to stop the queen from heading up there??

Hi there, i purchased 2 ideal boxes to use to create comb honey. There was no problem fitting the boxes on top of the brood box, just that they were 8mm longer so the flow roof did not fit. I have trimmed them down with a table saw and all good now.

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You will need to remove the QX for winter. When the bees cluster in the height of winter the cluster will migrate up though the excluder to feed on the resources unintentionally leaving the queen behind and great possibility she will perish.

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If you have the QE between the queen and the food its possible the bees will move up there in winter and the queen be deserted. If the second box is for the bees why not just let them set up two boxes how they want?


For inspection purposes.
If the qx is moved up for winter and down in spirng it makes brood inspections a lot easier. The tricky bit is ensuring the queen is below the qx when moving it down first inspection after winter.

yes- it will fit- and your idea is a good one. the standard flow set up of a single brood box and single flow super is inadequate for many beekeeping situations/climates. After using flow hives for 5 years I am now of the opinion that a flow super should not be left on a hive over winter. In winter the frames can become blackened with mold that the bees cannot clean off. The frame degrade much faster. Where I am they don’t fill with honey- and if cells are empty they become moldy and/or get propolised by the bees. It’s VERY hard to clean mold and propolis off of flow frames…

In order to remove the flow at the end of each autumn- it is vital that the bees have both enough room and enough stores. So an extra box is needed. Also in spring a colony can expand rapidly and two boxes cannot contain them. They beard a lot and are much more likely to swarm- especially in 8 frame hives. I believe a standard flow hive set up requires more maintenance than a larger traditional hive to prevent swarming.

I currently use an ideal on most of my flow hives, the others have an extra full depth box. ideals are perfect for extra stores, more space, and easy to manage and lift. However they don’t allow you to move brood frames up above the queen excluder. This is a very good thing to be able to do- for swarm prevention and brood box management. So I would consider also using a full depth box instead of an ideal. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Here where I am in Adelaide we don’t really have to worry about removing a QX for winter as the queen and cluster happily stay in the brood box. However it could be in very cold climates that the bees will want to move up to stay warmer- and that is why I think people in much colder (sub zero) climes remove their QX’s. Doing that means more management is required in spring as it will be likely that you will end up with a double brood box hive. Using an ideal in such cases with a QX would possibly be a good compromise as it is so shallow I doubt the queen would ever be abandoned down below.