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Are the Girls doing the right thing in the Flow Hive


Hi All,
I am a novice Bee Keeper from the South Eastern Suburbs in Melbourne Victoria and wanting to know if the Girls are doing the right thing over the Flow Hive.

I have a Brood Box with a queen excluder on top , 8 Frame Deep Super on top of Brood Box and a 6 Frame Flow Hive on top of the Super.

I installed the Flow Frame 3 Weeks ago with the Super approx 65-70% full and i am concerned about the lack of Bee activity over the Flow Hive, the Girls seem to be doing lots of walking and not too much else.

I have attached some photos and videos with the current activity of the Girls in the Flow Hive.

Can anyone with the more knowledge please let me know if this common.


I have also attached a video of some of the Girls fighting and removing a dead bee.


Hi George, I am not in Melbourne, but I would be really surprised if you could fill a full deep super plus the Flow frame super this season. Have you had a look in the Flow super to see if they have put much in them yet? Just check the middle two ones.


Hi Dan, prior to installing the Flow Hive, I Inspected the Super and replaced the two end frames as they had no stater on the them, they were bare frames. I will be inspecting the Flow Super in the New Year.
Thanks for the reply.


It depends where you are in S.E suburbs? Although we’ve had a pretty strong and consistent flow up until now, it is slowing. If your bees haven’t completely filled your super on the flow we’ve had, I doubt there’s enough to get them going in the Flow hive now? Last couple of years at this stage the general area was well and truly in a dearth. You may find your bees have more coming in late summer early autumn. I have a number of hives in the Dandenongs & lucky enough to have quite a few Euc. species in flower as well as Syzygiums, Leptospermums, Jacarandas and a few other natives still going throughout the National Park and boundaries. The hives i have further towards Melbourne are not putting away any significant stores now.


This is an unusual configuration. Do most beekeepers in your area run double deeps over winter, or did you just want some traditional frames of honey for yourself? In the colder parts of Australia, I have heard of people using a deep and a WSP or an ideal, but running double deeps without allowing the queen access to the second deep is not common from what I have heard. Just curious. :blush:

I probably would have waited a little longer. I keep banging this same old drum, but I have 3 rules for adding a box, whether it is a second brood box, a traditional honey super, or a Flow super (same rules for each):

  1. All frames have mostly fully drawn comb, and
  2. The drawn comb is 80% full of brood, honey or pollen, and
  3. Every frame is completely covered with bees

If you make sure that all of those are true, then you will have enough bees to work, defend and heat the new box.

That is a start, but many of us have pushed some burr comb or painted melted wax onto the Flow frames to help the bees get the message that this is a useable part of the hive. Burr comb is the easiest - during an inspection, just scrape a little excess wax from another frame, and gently “butter” it onto the wavy plastic face of the Flow frame. When I did that, my bees were in the box within 2 days, and filling it within a couple of weeks.

Your bees have not started waxing the plastic cells yet (your photograph and video both show that), so I would suggest using some wax to help them accept the frames. Be aware that they will not use the Flow super until they have enough bees and a good nectar flow. If you are currently in a dearth, they won’t use it at all, even if you wax it.

I agree, they are fighting. The most likely reason would be robbers. Do you have an upper entrance? Any signs of fighting around the hive entrance(s)? If there are a lot of dead bees, you might want to install a robbing screen. If as @Kirsten_Redlich says, you are not in a good flow at the moment, it might even help to take the Flow super off, so that your bees have less space to defend from robbers etc. You can always put it back later in the season, if they have fulfilled the 3 golden rules above. :smile:

Please let us know what you decide and how it goes when you have time. :wink:


winter is at least 5 -6 months away :thinking:


Hi Kirsten- do you have Yellow Box flowering - we don’t have that in Tassie but I understand it is a great nectar tree in Vic and NSW? I agree with what you have said - I’m assuming the SE Melbourne suburbs are a bit like Tassie suburbs at this time of year - unless there is something like Yellow Box plentifully flowering. Things are on the way down now…plus bee numbers in the hives would not ordinarily be rising, but rather falling a little.


Yes but… :smile: I know that some beekeepers like to overwinter on double deeps. A subset of those don’t want brood in both deeps, because such a big colony can be a handful. So they put a queen excluder above the first deep. With a new colony, they let this fill before adding any further supers for honey extraction. In California, you would have to do it this way, because often we won’t have a long enough nectar flow to expand a nucleus into 2 deeps in the first year. In fact, the flow is over by early July, and winter starts in November/December, depending on how you define it. As hobbyists, we tend to focus on what is good for the colony, rather than trying to get a harvest.

So I didn’t spell all of that out, but that was what I meant with my comment. :blush:


Hi Kristen, I am in the Kew, cloae to the Yarra and plenty of large gardens around us.


Our few Yellow Box (E. meliodora) have just finished flowering. They started in early November and finished in the week before Xmas. They started a little later last year and finished late January.
(edit: Location SW Western Australia)



Welcome to beekeeping 101 ! Love your enthusiasm n energy ! It sure helps … Dawn n others have given you allot to digest n chew on. Love your set up … looks like your having a fair to good first season. Just some learning n fine tuning to accomplish bro !!

I live in the Northern Northern part of North US … We have short foraging seasons, wet/long/cool winters … and varroa mites … nasty critters !!! I know Australia isn’t problem free … but I’d love to swap you for a year or so …

Keep up keeping on bro … lots to learn each season. I don’t think we ever stop learning n experimenting (at least I haven’t) …

Ohhh ! I do have one thing to add. Having you water source under the hive just might get filled with bee debris n junk … but that’s just an observation … I try to keep mine about 10’ away to keep them from pooping or normal dead bees dropping in basin. Like I said … just a thought …

Good luck n happy beekeeping,



Hi @busso.
I’ve just worked out that a neighbouring tree is not actually a eucalypt. I think it is the Sydney Red “Gum” -just starting to flower. Photo of leaves attached. As the leaves are opposite, it is apparently not a gum tree. Bees seem to really go for them,
Do you know (or anyone else) if that Red Flowering Gum that is planted frequently on nature strips etc, producing profuse red flowers that bees love, (I think it is West Australian) is perhaps also not a eucalypt?


Hi George,
Kew is a beautiful garden suburb for sure. Beautiful trees everywhere.


Have a read through these tips and watch the video etc:


Hiya Dan, I thought it was a eucalypt so I googled to see.
Wait what, Bloodwood?

These botanists always changing their minds on us eh? :wink:
I just bought some tube stock of it yesterday, beautiful tree.


Angophora eh? Well how about that…


I see Skegs is in before me, so just expanding.
The boffins ,bless their confusing, egotistical clap trap, decided a few years back that the whole Eucalyptus genus needed an overhaul.
The leaves you picture is probably Angophora costata. You can confirm that by looking at the nut.
Angaphora Notice the ridges.
While Angophora’s were never included in the Eucalyptus genus they are closely related.

Note, that the Angophora costata is not a good source of nectar and only marginal for pollen. All show and no go.

The tree you asked about is Corymbia ficifolia and was previously known as E. ficifolia. It is closely related
to Corymbia calophylla which was previously known as E. calophylla. Both these trees are an excellent source of both nectar and pollen. The C. calophylla is much more widespread and their forest trees provide a considerable proportion of the WA honey production.
The C ficifolia is a smaller tree than the Calophylla so more suited to a street tree or back garden.
Google Corymbia ficifolia and see just how showy this tree can be. They have just started flowering here.
C. calophylla flowers mid Feb to late March on average.


Thanks @busso

I think it is important to have good nectar plants within 700m of the hive if you want surplus honey, even if the bees can forage further.

I am disappointed that…

I have been waiting a while for that to flower. It does attract bees but I was surprised (until reading your info) that it did not attract more.

Here is a photo of the tree

and also a photo of what I think is a ficifolia soon to flower…


was just being cheeky, you didn’t need to spell it out, so no apology necessary :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes we do, it’s usually earlier than this but it’s been such a strange season, once again. Eltham area ( another post) was in flower months ago. Bees currently foraging on Yellow box, sideroxylon & maculata predominant at present. The areas I have my hives in are able to access both suburban areas & National Park, so a pretty good mix, fortunately. we usually get a late summer early autumn flow too, enough to harvest.
below is view from one of my out apiaries…directly behind me in this shot is national Park.