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Bees completing flow combs with propolis?


I have a flowhive on top of a fairly full brood box separated by a queen excluder. We are having a drought so not a lot of nectar flow.

I’ve noticed dozens to hundreds of bees up and exploring the flow hive. But it looks to me that in the cells that they have completed, they are using propolis to fill the gap.

Will this be a problem when we eventually get a nectar flow and have honey to harvest? Is the flow hive mechanism strong enough to shear apart combs that are bonded with propolis instead of wax?


The inside of a bee colony is a fairly consistent 93 F (34 C) and at that temperature propolis is pretty pliable. I don’t foresee a problem.


When it’s 100 degrees outside I still have a bear of a time prying off the lid and prying out the frames for inspection when the bees decide to go propolis crazy.
Maybe since there is no nectar in there yet, try to open the combs to make sure all is good.


Hi- I pulled off my flow box/ frames today while getting ready for winter. We entered a dearth shortly after I put them on, and I probably should have pulled them off at that point, but… I didn’t. (Live and learn!) I went to extract the honey they had put away in the flow frames but have found that they finished the frames with propolis. I can’t get the key to turn the mechanism. I thought about using a hair dryer to heat up the propolis, but wanted some advice from others before trying that (make sure the frames will tolerate that heat). Also, is there any way to clean up the propolis from all of the frames to let the bees start fresh in the spring? Thank you so much!!!


This seems to be happening more often than not. Try putting the tool in a couple of inches and open a little at a time. It’ll be tedious but may be the only way.


Thank you so much! I’ll try that. :smile:


My flow arrived after the spring nectar flow in Pennsylvania. I put the box on in September to catch the fall flow. The bees have filled the brood boxes with nectar, but have not used the Flow frames. There is no queen excluder, and the bees are up in the Flow. The bees DID fill the seams between the cells with propolis. I cannot get the frames to break open. I finally took the box off of the hive to work on it, without success. It is stuck closed. I have tried prying them open a few at a time without success. Other ideas? This is a rather frustrating performance problem, as it negates any benefit from the Flow.

Since I can’t post photos here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?317311-Flow-Hive-Firsthand-Experience/page2


Bees often backfill the brood nest in the fall for winter stores. That’s actually where it should be since I would not leave the flow hive on over winter. You don’t want the bees clustered up in there for the winter…


I had a dearth soon after I put mine on too, and sadly didn’t catch it until all the bees were gone from the hive. There could have been many reasons why my colony perished (or moved on), but for whatever reason, it was 6 weeks after I added my modified flow super (swapping out a third deep I had put on 2 weeks earlier).
I hope your colony does ok over winter!


I am a new member here. Am interested in beekeeping but do not yet have a hive so no practical experience. Have been reading books and online sources. Am very interested in the Flow Hive and have read quite a bit online about it, pro and con, mostly con.

I find most of the con arguments unpersuasive except for the topic being discussed in this thread: flow combs getting stuck due to propolis. For those who have posted about that problem, were you able to solve it?


i think that was once instance and i havnt really hear that many more complaints on the frames.

go for the frames only option and modify your own honey super that you purchase else where.


Upthread a post stated “This seems to be happening more often than not” (it appears he is referring to propolis causing flow frames to stick together).


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I think your spot on @DextersShed, I think the first time it’s used should be during a honey flow. Once the bees have bridged the gaps with wax, I can’t see them bridging it again with propolis over the wax.


My flow frames are well drawn and full of nectar/honey, but the frame through the viewing window seems to be being drawn out further with propolis. I’ve noticed them using a small amount of propolis on empty new frames before but never on frames already drawn with wax or full of honey. It’s dark brown, so I guess it could be chewed up brood comb but it’s hard to tell. I’ll take a photo next time I’m up there.

The honey flow has probably dropped a bit, with it being in the middle of summer and only a few gum trees around me flowering but they are definitely bringing in nectar.