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Advice needed: Bees seem to reject Floframes


It’s amazing how quickly a conversation can veer off coarse, away from the topic. However, are any beekeepers up your way, experiencing no losses over winter? If so, what are they doing to prevent them?


You are not wrong Jeff, Webclan decided to have a gripe about the drop bears banter and I was her only victim though I was I think the last to join in. Maybe she has other issues.
She is as guilty as anyone else but I suspect she would not be even aware and certainly would be in denial of changing the thread as she wishes.
Paper Barks have finished but every second tree seems to be a wattle in full bloom. I’m back into shorts so for me winter is over.


Like to have a dig boys @JeffH @Peter48??? Don’t dig too deep you might fall in. But then there’s always the edit function eh… And PM…

Only two of my 5 colonys accepted the Fframes, all in the same area but not the same size. Sooo many variables. I’ve had no problems using hybrids although others have, I’ve even swapped Fframes into the non producers to no avail.
IF I only had one colony with a Flow super on and it didn’t produce I’d probably blame the Fframes also, another reason to have multiple colonies.


Hello @Bianca

thanks for the info, that is indeed hugely helpful.
With hindsight I made the following mistakes:

  • Two brood boxes from start instead of one
  • Honey super put on too early and left on too long
  • Hive not strong enough

Will adjust accordingly next year!



You’ll probably do well with your flow frames if you follow @Bianca’s advice to the letter.


Hi Skegs, I had all my hives busting at the seams a few weeks ago as a single brood box from nucs in April, as the cooler weather came they had full frames and brood so I dropped on supers and two flow supers as an experiment. Bees in the supered hives started building out the frames of foundation within a couple of days. This past week the bees are up working on the flow frames, albeit in small numbers buy given the conditions I am very happy.
I brush painted on molten wax over at least 90% of the cells but I think what did the trick was all the frames were full of honey and/or brood and the colonies were very strong so I guess it was ideal timing.
I am back into a T shirt and shorts and the Spring Wattles are in full bloom so all looking good for an early and hopefully long flow. Noticed gums starting to show color as well.


I run my hives as full time 3 deep brood boxes and then stack 3-7 supers on top and they fill with honey.

I didn’t think bees had emotions but if the only way they will use a FF is to force them into one box, and in a northern climate even, then I am wrong: They must have a deep hatred for that type of frame and since hatred is an emotion, I’ll take my crow bbq’d lol.

I know most commercial operations run with just 1 brood box so they can maximize honey production so there must be something to it. I suppose if there was year round forage opportunity 1 box would work as well: But we have winter and the bees must store honey for themselves, 60-100 lbs of it.

I’m going to ask Santa for a Flow Hive so I can prove the world wrong! LOL


Quickmupdate to you all - and yes, @AngoraAngy, I was bothering them again which I shouldn’t have done, but I’m so very nosy.

Just back from a look into the hive which is now run with wax foundation frames. Bees are taking to them nicely. They have built almost three frames, they are storing nectar and even covered honey, not only in the two fully built frames I had put in there, but also in the in the new frames.
Hive is good and growing, lots of brood in every stadium. Oak is giving a good flow, still some flow from maple, waiting for the firs.


Sounds like you have learned a lot. I wish you huge success next year. Just to reassure you, a fellow Flow hive owner from Denmark (must be north of you I believe) has just posted photos of his successful harvest, so there is hope for your hive next year! :wink:


Hi Jeff,
Winter losses (for us) really seem to depend on the weather, which seems to be as unpredictable as ever, but certainly the wet and cold spring makes it difficult for any over-wintered hive.

Sorry about veering off topic, as when I first commented to Jack, I was thinking that I was in the recent “varroa on the ship” thread.


No need to apologize Tracey, it was an observation. I’ll keep it short.

A long cold winter followed by more cold wet weather would certainly be challenging, that’s for sure.

All I can think of is to keep them warm & keep feeding them.


Hi Peter, I think given the present conditions, I your flow frames will quickly fill. Just be careful of swarming. The biggest swarm I captured in a few years came from a single brood, single honey flow hive last August. Then the same hive was ready to swarm 2 months later.

My advice for the coming months is to focus on swarm prevention first, honey production (which will happen during the process) second.


I’m so very glad to have been of such help and please don’t hesitate to reach out whenever you need to. Flow prides themselves on customer support and beekeeping assistance.

I look forward to receiving updates and hearing from you again in the future.

Wishing you all the best,


Hi Jeff,
Our local bee club, Puget Sound Beekeepers Association’s leadership has almost fully transitioned to Natural & Treatment-free beekeeping over the last 10 years. So that’s something to consider.


Thank you Tracey, I think that wooden frames with properly fitted wax foundation is as natural as I want to go. I tried foundationless a few years ago, when at the time I thought I was doing something quite radical. I found that the bees make too much drone comb for my liking.

Too much drone brood is a recipe for disaster where SHBs are a constant threat, in my view.

I doubt that you’d have much trouble with SHBs up your way.

What are the commercial operators up your way using?


Hello Jeff, the few I know use naturally drawn/foundationless, but I don’t know that many commercial beeks.

We prefer the naturally drawn especially because we love cutcomb honey. So easy to harvest and so beautiful.


It’s encouraging to see other beekeeping clubs around the world to educate in and promote natural beekeeping.
My local bee club is all about natural beekeeping and even those not using topbar hives are very happy to go foundationless without any problems whatsoever.
If the bees had a choice, I reckon they go for building their own foundation instead of building on foreign bodies. They seem to be faster that way and sure happier.
I’m happy too knowing even the wax is local.
Guess it’s a sort of trade off for some of my colonies that have a flow super.
But they take their time to lay out each cell precisely with a layer of wax before storing their precious goods.
Just takes beekeepers’ patience before the easy harvest from then on makes up for the initial wait. My first hive just took 3 weeks, another took 5 months.
I have a few ‘properly fitted with foundation’ frames here and will actually burn them, because what my bees draw looks way better to me.
Agreed, we have to check on the initial comb building, but I never had a problem with even a deep frame built nice and straight between other straight combs ever.
I’m really glad to find others who believe foundationless is a good thing.
And cut comb with a layer of bought foundation doesn’t sound quite as delicious to me, yet it is what you usually get when you buy it in the store.

Commercial beekeeping is of course a different matter.