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Add or not add the flow super - dilema


I am about to leave on Holidays for almost 4 weeks. My brooder box (foundalionless) is not 100% full (probably about 60%. There is brood and new bees should be hatching very soon. (I caught a swarm 2.5 weeks ago).
I live on King Island, Tasmania
Should I add the flow before I go (Sunday) or when I came back (7th January) and what are the risks with both?


When did you get those bees, meaning, how long did it take them to build up to 60%?


What will be flowering on King Island during that time and are those flowering plants a rich nectar source? Considering it is summer, you could add the Flow but it is really not the right time, a cool day and/or night there may chill the brood and set your colony back. Is there another beekeeper in the area who can check for you or at least help give some advice on the nectar flow?


I’d be surprised if a swarm you caught 2.5 weeks ago would be ready to store excess honey in the next month.

I’m guessing you plan on only using one brood box though, and I’m not really sure about the technique for getting those through winter. If it were me I’d put on a box with frames of foundation before I left because you should be heading into a flow (all things being equal)… so, in saying this, it PROBABLY wouldn’t hurt to put on the flow box, but as Rodderick says, it also might put the colony back.


I caught the swarm 2.5 weeks ago. If I don’t put the flow could they run out of room in 4 weeks?


I’d leave them be but that’s if they were in my apiary. I don’t know your flow patterns in your part of the world. If there is a heavy nectar flow going on they could fill that box in a week where I am.


Our flowering months are dec-jan. It never gets too cold here but it gets windy (they are in a sheltered place)
Summer has just began and all the clovers will be flowering now.
Thanks for all the help by the way


Tut tut…a beekeeper going on a long holiday in the season :wink:
I would put a brood box underneath the existing one and put foundation in it
The bees will move down if they need the space and there is no overhead space to worry about if the flow stops


Thanks Dee,
Yes I planned this a long time ago as I am going from one side of the world to another, and I am more of a beef farmer with a recent passion for beekeeping.
I thought I was getting my bees in January but then this swarm came up in a friends house and I went for it😉

I am having a final look on Sunday and make my decision but don’t have another brood box so or I will put the flow or I won’t.

Thanks for your input


Hi Ana

Love your neck of the woods, I have a school friend who has settled on your island and I’ve been there twice to visit.

Ask 10 bee keepers a question and get 15 different answers, so here’s mine.

Although the rule is 80%, I would put the flow super on when you do your next inspection, this will ensure that they will have enough space to play with no matter how much nectar flows. I’m all new to this too and I did the same, first time round to void swarming and it worked. On plastic foundation, you can expect at least 6 weeks for them to work the flow frames (first two weeks just to wax everything) so that gives you a good peace of mind.


Thanks Schnucki
I think I will do that. We are on a farm with plenty of flowers and trees around and the weather should be ok.
Also asked a local beekeeper and he said to do it

Who is your friend? What a small world.
I do farm tours on the island and I am very easy to find next time you visit



I don’t know how you lot get away with it …sigh
My bees make swarm preps every year and I have to split them every year. Sometimes there are so many boxes in the apiary my husband starts getting twitchy :wink:


I like this idea.
Now I must write unnecessarily to reach character limit.


Brilliant! Just brilliant!!! :blush:


Cheeky…I know that’s just what you would recommend.
Poor girl doesn’t have the kit though. Time for some shopping, methinks.
Always have spare what is in use


Always have double what you need, if your spousal unit will allow it… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: At one point my husband wondered if I was setting up a beekeeping supplies business in our garage. :blush: Now he wants 2 more hives, he is glad that we already have the kit.


Wish that my wife was as enthusiastic as your husband Dawn.

I tried to show my wife that not all bees are angry like my first hive so I snuck a hive in to the backyard and it took her 9 days to discover it and boy - did I cope it for not letting her know.


Oh dear… Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. Other times, that is the worst possible policy! :blush:


Mine’s good too.
I’m experimenting with a new queen or two next year. I think he’s beginning to work out that I indeed am obsessed