I’ve just joined this discussion and hope I don’t repeat a discussion but I couldn’t find my exact question/problem.
Firstly hello to all ! Originally Australian, I’ve been living in the South of France for almost 20 years and keeping bees for 5. I have 15 hives ( standard Longstroth) and bought my first flowsuper this year although I followed the use of a friend’s last year).
So the hive that I added the flow super to ( about a month ago) is very strong and has brood on all 10 frames in thd brood box. However although there are bees in the flow super, they haven’t waxed in the cracks yet and started to stock nectar. At first I was panicked, thinking maybe the frames were on the open setting for extracking making it impossible for them to use but this doesn’t seem to be the case. A normal hive next to it has already filled the super so there is definitely honey to be made ! So how long does it usually take for bees to seal the frames and start filling ?? I’m very worried that with no room left before they’ll be tempted to swarm. ( As yet no swarming cells visible).
Thanks for anyone who can answer !
Hello Suzie and welcome to the Flow Forums. You are going to find a very friendly group to address a wide variety of questions you may have. I have 2 flow supers in my apiary that I installed about 2.5 weeks ago in Lasalle Ontario (border to Detroit Michigan) and I followed some advice in these forums and rubbed some wax on top of the flow frames to encourage the bees to move up into the super. My strongest hive of the two took about 5 days before I saw them walking on top of the middle frames, and a few days after that they were adding their own wax and starting to fill the cells. The second flow super hasn’t yet had action up in it, but I suspect that is more to do with the hive not being as strong and we haven’t had the greatest of weather to help them flourish. I would expect however in the next 2 weeks to see it moving along like the first super. There is a video Flow has posted in their library where you can watch Cedar talk about smooshing wax into the super frames if you want to see what he did-- for me all I did was run some wax along the faces really quickly and not into every cell and that seems to have worked for me. Let us know what you do and how it works out.
Hi @suzie.ravier & welcome! Tim makes a good point and here’s a link to a good discussion on your topic. Let us know how things go
My bees took 18 months to start depositing in the flow super. From first spring to end of summer… nothing. I took the flow super off for winter to help the hive in the colder months. Next spring it went on and was not till the big flows in late summer did the bees get to work in the flow super. They filled and capped in the next 3 weeks and I took off 23 Kg of honey before the autumn shut down. They continue to deposit when there is a nectar flow. The bees now treat it like any other super.
So, if you do nothing, they will get to the Flow super eventually and you will have no further problems.
However as @Eva has said, the tricks (there are many) of getting bees in the flow supers quicker is here for the searching.
BTW, I have a queen excluder under my flow super and that doesn’t seem to be effecting the ladies from moving up.
thanks guys for your replies !
So yes I have a queen excluder on as I thought that was pretty essentual for flow hives - I don’t use them on my standard hives though.
I’m interested in the 'wax rubbing 'technique you mentioned Tim_Purdie. How do I find the video you mentioned ? can you give me a link please ? Does the wax need to be softened or melted ?
I’ll let you know how I go
@suzie.ravier you can review this post How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames to see lots of info on the topic, but I also encourage you follow the Flow Hive facebook page and watch their videos-- they are super helpful and I don’t know which one, but there is one that has information on applying wax to the frames. https://www.facebook.com/pg/flowhive/videos/?ref=page_internal
In short form however, I had a block of bees wax (not a candle, not anything that would harm the bees) that I slid back and forth across the front of the frames like you would drag hard cheese on a cheese grader. A quick 3 or 4 passes on each side and that was that. I had some excess comb in one of the frames from the brood chamber that the girls had built in the wrong spot that I also grabbed and just pressed into the edges of the super frames to encourage the smell of their own hive to apply to the super. Thats the magic in my opinion.
@Tim_Purdie described this very nicely for you above. I did something different, more like Cedar’s method. During a hive inspection, I collected some excess burr comb - not a huge amount, a ball about the size of a large plum. I then used my hive tool to gently push pea-sized blobs of this at about 5-10 cm intervals all over the face of each Flow frame. A bit like buttering toast.
I put the Flow super onto the hive during a very good nectar flow. Within a couple of days, the bees were investigating the frames, and within 2 weeks they had sealed most of the cells and were beginning to fill them. The bees happily tidied up my wax blobs, leaving a nice regular comb pattern. We had our first harvest 2 months later.
As @busso points out, everyone’s experience is slightly different, depending on climate and nectar flow intensity. However, I think we would all agree that the first time that you use the frames, the bees are much slower than they are in future seasons or refills. Don’t give up, they will work it out!
In my experience, when installing the flow frames initially, I sprayed the frames all over with sugar water; within minutes of putting things back together, they were inside the Flow super checking things out and began to prep the frames soon thereafter. Overall, my double-brood box hive took three weeks to prep the frames plus the new box and begin installing honey.
@suzie.ravier there was a Facebook live clip of Cedar putting wax on the frames: https://www.facebook.com/flowhive/videos/1642684305829794/
Thanks Tim_Purdie ! So my hive visit Tuesday showed much the same situation in the super but this time there were several swarming cells in the brood box which I illiminated. I didn’t have any bur comb available so sprayed some surgar water on the frames. I’ll be checking again Monday to ensure more swarm cells haven’t developped and if they haven’t adopted the flow frames, I’ll make sure I’m prepared with some bur comb