Add a second brood box?

Hello, I’m from north-east vic. Recently I have been worried about one of my hive swarming a second time this year. They are getting very full. I checked yesterday and found minimal drones and no queen cells, so they obviously aren’t about to swarm yet.

I showed a local Beek some pictures and he said my hive is strong. He recommened I add a secend broodbox to keep them busy.

I have been having issues with the flowhive. They just don’t seem to like the frames. I coated them with wax, and even sugar water. There are many many bees in the super, even sticking their heads in the cells, yet not a single lick of honey, not a single capped frame.

So some questions I have:

Should I add a brood box?
When adding the brood box, should I take off the super?
Do I remove the 2nd brood box in the winter?

And some more general tips would be nice. I’m even thinking of removing the flow frames entirely since it’s been around 2, nearly 3 months without progress. I will admit the majority of that time the Flow Frames weren’t waxed, since I’m newb beeker didn’t think to do that. Also this Hive is a year old in a week so hooray!

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Certainly. Yet Dadant in his time was writing that the Langstroth hives were too small when he was explaining his method. Since then, with advances in beekeeping knowledge, even Dadant hives were used in multi-box systems.
Actually, you may use a third brood box if local conditions are particularly conducive for swarming and your personal beekeeping style/circumstances. For example, you have a small but steady nectar flow at the end of the spring/beginning of summer. The third box goes between two brood boxes to cut the nest area. Of cause, it has to be filled with unbuilt frames to keep bees busy. It could be removed after the major nectar flow.

Not really at this time of the year. It is warm enough. But in general, if you don’t expect a flow that may fill it, there is no reason to have it on. However, there is a justification for those who run a single brood setup though. It provides at least some physical room for bees.

This again depends on the local conditions and your beekeeping style. You are not going to use winter storage for hives where space is in premium and you need to feet as many colonies as possible into it. Then, there is a question, do you have a space to store your combs? If not, is your local weather and pest conditions allowing bees to tend unoccupied bottom brood box? If yes, leave it there. If not, remove it. You may run a trial and see what works.

Thank you for those answers! I was talking to the local beek and he also suggested replacing the flow frames with regular new ones, gives them space to grow. Just here in Australia it is the middle of summer, so I think the honey flow is slowing down.

So really it’s either a brood box or a fresh super.

I am also cautious if I add a second brood box, then a super, the hive might be too high. As you can see in the bottom pictue it sits on top of some bricks and anti-ant legs. so if it is 3 high it may topple, im not too sure how much the anti-ant legs can take. Never really occured to put a second brood box at all.

That’s why I came searching for more answers!

In the worst-case scenario (or the best, depending on how you look at it :slight_smile: ), another box may add ~50 kg of weight to the structure if it is filled with honey from wall to wall. If you worry that such weight may destroy your stand, you may want to review it and put something stronger if needed.

I would advise against adding a second brood box, especially seeing as the bees are not using the Flow frames.
I would also advise against removing the Flow super.
What I would advise to do is remove some Flow frames, then place 2or3 of your brood frames in the middle of the Flow super, flanked by Flow frames. Then replace those 3 brood frames with fresh foundation frames.

With the Flow frames right next to where the brood will emerge, it’s more likely that the bees will start using the Flow frames, provided they are not required back down in the brood box.

With this strategy, you are not removing the whole Flow super, just a few of the frames. You are also expanding the brood without adding a whole new super.

In my own beekeeping, I don’t add a honey super full of frames when it’s time to add a honey super. What I’ll do if I think the colony has enough nurse bees, I’ll add a QE, an empty super with just one brood frame from a donor hive, placed in the middle, flanked by 2 frames with fresh foundation, or fully drawn. Then in a week’s time, I might add a second, or even a third brood frame from donor hives, depending on how many bees are occupying the first brood frame I added, plus what’s available from donor hives, as a swarm prevention strategy.


Interesting, this will also save me using more resources than I need to. So Just to get some bearings:

  1. Remove some flow frames, for example 2 (since they are quite wide), from the center of the super.

  2. Take some brood frames from the brood box and put them where said Flow Frames were.

  3. Replace frames taken from the brood box with fresh, undrawn frames.

  4. Cross fingers and hope for the best

Hi Tom, that’s basically it. The frames you put back in the brood box can be either foundation or fully drawn. The main thing would be to checkerboard them if they are not placed on the outside.

If you take 3 frames out of the brood box, you’ll probably need to remove 3 Flow frames. That wouldn’t matter, just leave the gaps on the outside. Your inspection panel will prevent bees from leaking out.

The main thing is to get the bees working up through the QE, into the honey super. If they have excess honey to store, they’ll use the Flow frames. I recently had bees readily store honey if fake flow frames for a former client. With that in mind, they should use genuine Flow frames.

I do have a nice frames of honey in the brood box, would they benefit by putting it in the super along with some brood frames?

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Yes for sure Tom. However it’s the brood frames that will get the bees working up & down through the QE the most. You’ve got the right idea though.

excellent, so it will give them more space and encourage them to use the freams, just what I needed really. Thanks Jeff, you’re always a good help.

A fine dance this beekeeping


Add a traditional super under the flow super it’ll do the same as adding a brood box but less work.

Double brood can become overwhelming if your starting out.

You could use a second brood box as a deep super.

When the traditional super is full move it above the flow super it can help draw the bees up and into the flow frames to start using.

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