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Will my vertical queen excluder work? Ideas welcome

Ok- so I am 99% ready to transfer a colony to my long hive- no matter what it will be happening. However I have just started to worry that the vertical excluder might act as too much of a barrier. Bees transiting through it will hit the face of one flow frame. To get to the rest they will have to crawl down, up, or around. Above the flow frames there is a 1/4 inch space. Beneath about 3/4 inch.

I would appreciate anyone’s input on whether they think this may be a problem-

Here are some pics to explain what I am on about:


And here is a first sneak peak at the complete flow frame long hive:


Your project looks great, but that was why I was thinking of having flows longitudinal
Good luck and can not wait for your update

@Semaphore I think @Michael_Bush makes a great point on this page on his website (http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdecisions.htm). They need a reason to move thru the excluder. If there isn’t enough space in the brood area to put stores then they will need to go thru the excluder and store it in the flow frames. I don’t think it matters how the bees are making their homes vertically or horizontally. I have watched so many video’s of beekeepers removing colonies from floor and wall joists that solidifies my previous statement. The bees are going to make comb and do their best to survive wherever they decide to call home.

I think ultimately it will be similar to a standard langstroth hive. When the time is right and the flow is on the bees will use the flow frames to store extra resources. Prepping them with wax helped them take to mine quicker. Your custom excluder looks awesome as does the rest of your hive. I am envious of your woodworking skills and am looking forward to seeing how this story progresses.

Hi Michelle, it’s hard to see from the photos, did you build in a slope to assist flow frame draining or will you raise the stand/ hive when it’s time to harvest?
Cheers Tim

Hi- yes the base has an inbuilt tilt for the flow frames.

@John_Yeager The difference with my plan and a regular queen excluder is that when bees move UP through one they come out all over the upper box- with direct access to every frame above. With this vertical excluder they hit the face of one frame only. My concern is they be reticent to work their way all the way across the flow frames. Partly for that reason I decided to only use four flow frames. The other reason I only used 4 is I want to test out the theory that you can gather as much honey with four frames as with six- if you simply harvest then more regularly.

This hive is designed for the hands on back yard beekeeper. It’s great advantage is no boxes need to be lifted and all frames are at the same ergonomic height when you work on them. Also you only need to uncover a few frames at a time- so hopefully the bees will be less inconvenienced and stressed. The other great advantage of this hive is that you can run anywhere from 1 to 20 frames- you can expand and contract the hive by one frame at a time- it is easy to rotate out frames by moving them onto the queen excluder side so they get filled with honey- brood hatches out- and they can be harvested and replaced or removed. Also you can split the hive into multiple hives- making pre-emptive swarm splits right in the one hive.

thanks for you kind words about the hive- I hope it works as well as it looks!

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Hi Jack, I agree with @John_Yeager in relation to how I think it will work as well as your workmanship.

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Thanks Jeff- I guess even if one hundred experts all said, ‘no way- won’t work’ I’d still have to try it at this late stage!:blush: I must say I am quite proud of my efforts- from a 3D model on a computer to the real thing- I’ve amazed myself… and if it doesn’t work it’ll be one of the prettiest beehives attempted… and can easily convert to standard langstroth with 2 supers on top…

There has been talk of long flow hives- but to date no one has come back here and said ’ I did it: it works!’ . I hope I can be the one to do that.

Here’s my inner covers:

And what work went into it all- here’s an afternoons output from the hot wax dip station:


I will try and build something similar, but you have done an awesome job. I really hope it works well for you🙂

So now I know that my previous vision of your horizontal Flow hive was real, it is just that I am psychic! :smile: :heart_eyes:

I know it may be different than the normal process but I bet the bees will adapt to it. Once they fill the first frame they will move on to the next. If you put some wax on the sides of each flow frame I am sure they will check them out and use them.

@Semaphore couldn’t you just manage the frames to encourage the bees? For example take a frame of brood and temporarily replace flow frame 2 or 3? This would help provide the impetus for the bees to move beyond that first FF that acts as a wall.

Have you got a follower board or something else to blank off part of the hive until bee numbers are up?

I am not sure about putting regular frames between the flow frames- as the spacing is different- and the frame rests are different. However because my vertical excluder moves like a follower board I can rotate frames of brood right up alongside the flow frames on the honey side of the excluder. Also at the other end of the box I do have a follower board so I can contract and expand the total number of frames in the box easily. In general the plan is leave some space at that other end over winter- then to try and fill out the entire box in spring- then remove some frames in late Autumn and shrink the overall size down again.

@Semaphore I wouldn’t worry too much about the messed up spacing, just check the hive weekly. That’s what I did for a 2 month period to get the bees to take to the flow frames. The flow frame I removed I kept out of the hive for that period. I had no issues with crazy burr comb, but like I said I monitored it weekly.