Wooden Box or Langstroth Frames New Hive

I have copied the below from a local supplier of bees for 2019, I’m looking at various local suppliers and would just like some advice for a new bee keeper. After watching the Flow Frame Videos on line I have seen a couple of different ways of getting the bees into a new hive, so my question is do I order Langstroth Frames or the wooden box with the queen in a cage, The Flow Frame video online shows the queen in the cage being placed into the new brood box and the other bees are then shaked/banged into the brood box, wouldn’t it be easier to place Langstroth frames into the brood box on the Flow Hive?

Copied from a couple of local supplier below


5 Frames
Buckfast / Yorkshire Queen of your choice
Transpot Box included
Pick up only from Wakefield, Yorkshire
£150 - National
£180 - Langstroth / 14*12
Deposit Required £50

Or Description
These Packages will be the British Black Bee
They consist of 3lb of bees and a caged Mated Queen.
Bees are generally shaken from several colonies to improve queen acceptance

In my opinion, the best option for you would be to buy a nucleus on Langstroth frames (the GBP180 choice). You can adapt National frames to fit into a Flow hive, but it is not a very tidy fix, and Langstroth frames would be better. For a nucleus, you simply lift the frames out of the transport box, and gently load them into the middle of your Flow brood box. Assuming it is an 8 frame hive, you then put 2 empty frames on one side and one on the other, so that the box has 8 frames in it. Push all of the frames together in the middle of the box, leaving a gap by the frames at the outside edge. No banging/shaking bees required, and the queen is usually already released and walking on the nucleus frames before you get it.

The Flow video that you watched shows how to install package bees. Package bees are about 3lb (~10,000 bees) of mainly nurse bees. They are shipped in a wood and mesh box, with the queen in a separate cage. There are no frames with package bees.

The advantages of packages are:

  1. Much cheaper than nucleus
  2. Much easier to ship (in the US, you can only ship packages, not nuclei)
  3. Because there are no frames, they can be put into any type of hive (Flow, Langstroth, National, WBC, Warre etc)

The disadvantages:

  1. There is no “infrastructure”, i.e. no frames, no drawn comb, no honey stores, no pollen, no brood.
  2. You have to be prepared to shake and bump the box to get them into the hive.
  3. The risk of the package absconding from your hive is much higher than for a nucleus, because they have no investment there (food, brood, honeycomb etc)
  4. They sometimes reject the queen if they they haven’t had time to get used to her during shipping.

For a new beekeeper with a Flow hive, I strongly recommend a 5 frame Langstroth nucleus of Buckfast bees. :blush:


Thank you Dawn that’s very helpful


Dawn has given you good advice. I would advise on the Langstroth set up as it is compatible with the Flow Hive boxes and frames.
I am a firm believer in ‘standardizing’ your apiary no matter how small it is, it stop confusion as you inevitably build up your hive numbers.
Regards Mark

Thank you Peter all help gratefully received I do have another question though I will start a new post


You can add here if you want. Totally up to you. :blush:

the gold standard would be an established Nuc on frames. But placing bees into a hive is not that traumatic- I have never bought a package of bees (they are uncommon in Australia) but I have ‘shook and banged’ a lot of swarms into hives- and it goes really quite well. You don’t need to focus much on the ‘banging’ and more on the gentle shaking/pouring.

However a package will be slower to get established- as the bees have to build comb, etc. If you can get one very early in the season I think it would be an OK alternative. If it isn’t much cheaper then definitely go with he Nuc- as you get 5 frames and a Nuc box which will come in handy down the road.

Hi Mark
I’ve been following a couple of your previous posts regarding you ordering your FH2 as i have done the same.
I’m in the UK also, further south to you in North Buckinghamshire / Northamptonshire.
I’ve also ordered a Nuc of Buckfast bees from a bee farm / supplier near Brighton on 6 Langstroth frames ready for collection next Spring ‘19.
I thought it was nice to see that his description included the words ‘Flow Hive’
“A 6 frame Nucleus of Bees on Langstroth frames, suitable for Langstroth hives and Flow hives.”
Good to hear that there’s another two of us on the same path in the UK with similar thinking!
You’re not alone! :smiley:
I look forward to following your progress also…

All the best…Nick


These are the measurements I have found:

timber frames Length Width
top bar 482mm 36mm
bottom bar 445mm
side bar 233mm

I took photos and measurements before, but I can’t find them…

Contrary to Dawn, I found this modification on the forum which looks really easy and quick, just in case your frames are a different size:


p.s. I don’t understand what this is?
Is that a measurement?

Ask the fellow if it’s Langstroth deep frames? And I guess get the millimeters if you want to double check the measurements.

OK, @Faroe didn’t quite understand my rather too brief explanation. :blush:

By “not a very tidy fix”, I meant that you won’t want those zip tied frames in your hive long term. Why? Because bees have to build foundationless comb between the National frame and the Langstroth, and they often get creative with it. Plus the frame strength is not great, because it is missing a bottom bar for the outer Langstroth part. Personally I would be trying to get such adapted frames out of the hive within a year, to avoid weak structure and mess from creative comb.

This is not to say that it is not a very creative work-around, but if I had a choice of ordering a nucleus on Langstroth frames instead, I absolutely would. If you don’t have the choice, and all you can have is National Brood frames, go for it. However, it will not work with 14*12" frames. At all. Without a saw. Plus loss of bee life. :wink:

I suggest you call the guy direct and ask him. Most beekeepers just love to talk bees, especially if they are selling you something. Kidding aside, beekeepers are some of the nicest human beings on the planet, so i am sure he would be very helpful. Tell him you are a beginner, but you are reading a lot (I can tell that you are!). Don’t mention the Flow hive (prejudices still exist), just say you have a Langstroth hive and that you want to buy a nucleus.

OK, I will shut up now. Sorry Faroe, but there are wrinkles in the information. :blush:

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As I said above, 14*12" is a different frame size for British National sized hives. It is NOT a Langstroth frame. Honest! It is actually a way to make a brood box which is pretty close to “brood and a half”, but without having a second box. In other words, it is almost 50% deeper than a usual brood frame. The advantage is that it saves you having 2 frame sizes in the British National hive brood area. The disadvantage is that it makes the brood boxes amazingly heavy, and not as many people use them (at least in my days in the UK), so they look at you funny if you mention them. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Here is an expert explanation, which is less abbreviated than mine was:

[shutting up mode for Dawn = ON] :blush:

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Dawn, I didn’t click on the heart because you said “shutting up mode for Dawn = ON”.

What you said about beekeepers being some of the nicest human beings on the planet was taken personally :slight_smile:

Not in all cases though. A few years ago a local beekeeper got murdered by a so-called friend for his $40,000.00 worth of honey he had stashed away. The murderer got found out as he was trying to sell the honey.

@Dee was saying one day that you can’t be seen working your hives from the road, through fear of having your hives stolen.


:grinning: yes you a right I’m reading like I was back at school

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Dawn, maybe I did understand your explanation, but provided another answer :wink:

Of course, it is great to get brood box frames that will fit straight in your brood box. But, I thought it would also be helpful to provide a photo of a frame that could be modified if it needed to be. (this I think would be helpful to a newbee who may not know about this type of modification or option if it is needed).

I asked about this “14*12” specifically, because there were no inch marks beside the numbers. I didn’t know if this was a term or a measurement, alas the question. I thought the UK was pretty much metric, so it didn’t make sense to me these numbers.

I ask questions for my knowledge, and I believe this will also help others.


The UK is metric now, but when those boxes were invented, it wasn’t, and the metric sizing isn’t very easy to remember in mm for that frame size. Not at all catchy. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I grew up with shillings and sixpences. Going metric was very traumatic for me! :blush:

I suppose my point is that UK beekeepers would recognize 12*14" as a British National hive frame size. Of course new and foreign beekeepers wouldn’t have a clue… :wink: Hopefully it is all clear now. :sunny:

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Maybe if the above had " on the end of the number it would have been from the start. That’s why I asked.

I just copied the information directly from UK web page

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I was wondering too trying to work out a “special formula in maths” and just watch the thread hoping the penny would drop in time. The pic you posted with the smaller frame zip tied into a Langstroth frame is excellent for those that have to adapt. Good one mate…

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I remember reading about that- what can you say- some people, eh?

In New Zealand with the manuka boom their have been bashings, mass hive thefts and poisoning and all types of skulduggery. Many long standing beeks have quit as the stress is too great. It’s kind of what they call ‘the resource curse’.

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