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Bees don't like flow hive?


#1

Brood box with a ton of bees placed March. April added another brood box on top. Both are going very well with brood and nectar and pollen and honey. Added the Flow hive without the QE about a month ago. Bees have been going up inside it but no drawing out of cells. So… melted some of the beeswax from the same hive and painted the cells of the flow hive carefully. More bees went up there. Now… a month later and STILL nothing up there. Bees migrate and bottom two big brood boxes are still filled but nothing in Flow hive.
I am new but starting to wonder if this was worth it.

Help? or what?


When do I add the flow super?
#2

What is your nectar flow like? Any other hives getting plenty of honey? You may be in a nectar dearth, hard to know without know where you are.

If it was my hive, I would try putting a medium super with traditional frames on top of the Flow super, and see if they used that. If they do, they don’t like the plastic, yet. If they don’t, you are probably in a dearth, for now.


When exactly to add brood box in NW Florida?
#3

I would say that your bees are busy filling out 2 brood boxes and they are being sustained by the honey frames in these boxes. As Dawn has suggested, there is probably not enough nectar to store in the Flow so they are not bothering.
You will just need to be patient and hopefully a large nectar flow will come (pay attention to the flowering plants & trees in the vicinity, this is your indicator), its really dependent on how much forage is available. I only ever use single brood boxes and for the Flow super I waited until the bees filled every frame and started building comb on the roof, then I knew they were ready for the flow super. Some questions to ask yourself before adding a Flow super:

  • Do you have bees on every frame in your hive?
  • Are all the cells occupied in all those frames in your 2 brood boxes with either brood, pollen or honey
  • Are your bees depositing nectar into cells where brood should be?
  • Are your bees building comb in between the upper and lower brood boxes or on the roof?
    If so, then they are ready for a Flow super.
    And in addition to this, see the HoneyFlow FAQ for some other tips.
    How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames

#4

Thank you Roddreick, I have heard much about adding another brood box to the Flow Hive before adding the flow super. I had not seen any sign of that in any of the companies literature or videos. I agree with your method of only having one on this hive and will follow your lead. Bees have almost moved to every frame and wanted to make sure that my timing was right.


#5

Its really dependent on where you live, here in Australia the weather is mild (no harsh winters) and the nectar flows from flowering plants and trees is up and down, its a matter of knowing when the flow is about to happen and as I suggested above, these are indicators. Get to know other local beekeepers if you can as they have the local knowledge of the flowering and nectars cycles, I am sure you have probably heard all this before.


#6

Hi Rodd, how is your flow hive going? I must confess I don’t see everything on this forum. Have you harvested any honey yet? If so, did you have any hick-ups? I see some people are having to open the frames in stages to prevent leaking honey onto the brood.


#7

Hi Sam, one way to get a good worker population is to use 2 brood boxes. So your on the right track. I wonder how you’d go if you took the flow super off. Put a vinyl mat over the frames with bee space all round & put a migratory lid on like we use in Australia with about a 50mm space.

Once the population increases sufficiently, the bees will move into the lid & start building comb. At that point, I believe it would be prudent to add the flow super with the same lid on top of that super. Save the flow roof for a later date, once the bees are working the flow frames.


#8

Howdy Jeff, I have had a couple of harvests from the Flow super so far, just one minor hiccup with honey (which is light where I am) seeping through the fractured cappings, I’ll be seeing Stu Anderson this weekend and will bring it up with him then. Its not a major issue and maybe I just need more slope when harvesting.


#9

I think a little leakage when harvesting is going to be a pretty standard experience for all flow users. The amount that leaks is very low compared to what comes out the back- and can be decreased by increasing the hive slope, cracking each frame in increments- and cracking frames incrementally (not all at once). I would say ultimately far less honey is lost in a flow hive than in traditional extraction processes? The bees seem to cope fine with the leaked honey- soon cleaning it all up. I imagine honey leaks occur in standard hives for a variety of reasons?


#10

I attended my first Beekeepers meeting last night, and met a lot of the local Beekeepers. I think we are in the flow now, everything is blooming and beautiful! I live in the States and we do have some cold weather and snow, but not usually for very long.


#11

I sure hope there isn’t any honey leakage. In my apiary it would cause a robbing frenzy


#12

Well done Rodd, that’s fine. People are asking me how they are performing. cheers


#13

Hi Michelle, I have basically no honey loss during my traditional extraction process. There is no honey loss in standard hives for any reasons whatsoever. Unless your unlucky enough for a hive to get pushed over by a cow, for example.


#14

@JeffH don’t you ever remove a comb for inspection and have a breakage/leakage due to brace comb, etc?

I only say I think many/all people will have some leakages- because we had leakages both times we operated the flow frames. Also I have watched videos of people operating frames on youtube- including the one where Cedar operates one outside a hive- and it looks to me like I can see honey leaking in the background…

By doing it incrementally- i think we only lost a few tablespoons last time (7+kg’s harvested)- the amount is insignificant compared to what is harvested. Obviously the honey viscosity will play a role too- and possibly the tightness of the frames wires- and the state of the capped cells. If there is an uncapped section- then there will probably be more leaks. For this reason it is important to check the frames carefully before installation to make sure all the cell rows are in the closed position.

We are new to beekeeping- I don’t know about any issues with robbing this leakage may create- or how annoying/damaging it is to the brood to have honey leak down over the frames and out the bottom? I would be interested in what people think about this. It seems like the bees manage OK- being able to quickly lick up spilt honey… But I did hear our Queen ‘piping’ when we harvested once- not sure if that was a protest? The bees never became angry and the hive settled quickly post harvest.

I (like some others) am thinking of making a horizontal langstroth/flow hive- one advantage to this design will be that leaking won’t be an issue for the brood at all- and could be very well (totally?) managed- if you can slide a tray under the flow frames during extraction.


#15

Hi Michelle, I can honestly say that I don’t have any breakage/leakage due to brace comb etc. I might trim the top of a frame & let the honey go back to the bees to clean up. But that is monitored by me. I know exactly how much goes back. The bees can handle small amounts of honey, but not a flood like I’ve seen photos of. The SBB will be an advantage in that the honey wont pool on the floor. The bees should be able to cope with that ok. I wouldn’t like to see a solid floor flooded with honey, it could be a different story.

I local bloke had a flood from his flow frames on a solid floor & several days later he phoned me to inform me that he had a SHB slyme out. Whether it was the honey flood that triggered the slyme out, or something else, who knows.

Getting back to brace comb. I use 9 frames in 10 frame boxes for brood as well as honey. I’m very careful to evenly space my frames. That way I don’t get any brace comb. I get the odd bit of comb joined to the sides of the boxes. That gets scraped off with very little honey leakage. The bees clean that up while I’m looking at it. It doesn’t even get a second glance.

It’s a shame that your thinking of building a different design hive just to cater for leaking flow frames.


#16

I am not thinking of a horizontal hive for that reason at all. I just like the idea- it seems perfect for a stationary hive- so easy to inspect any frame in the hive at all without disturbing others- no boxes, etc. I am also planning on making another standard hive as well… We are very happy with our Flow frames- and our langstroth vertical hive. Personally- so far- the leakage issue seems to us absolutely minor.


#17

Hi Michelle, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, I’m a bit of a fan of a long Lang hive for the reasons you stated. The only thing is, it’s as you say, “a stationary hive”. A bit harder to move around.

Good luck with your hive building, cheers


#18

So I decided to place my empty flow hive BETWEEN my two deep boxes. O checked the second box and just a little brood was on the bottom under the frames of honey. Since placing an empty box above brrod box, will use a QE. Hope this works.
Interested in your input.


#19

I love our long langstroth hive but haven’t yet come up with a practical way to incorporate the FlowFrames. Would love to see how you do - please keep us informed.
As we keep our long langstroth in suburbia there is no need to move it, husband built it to suit our heights so not as back breaking and can add frames 1-2 at a time or as needed.


#20

Same here. I received the flow hive in February 2016. Late in the season. I put it on top of the hive as the 3rd box. No QE. The bees were not much interested. Perhaps fair enough because it was late in the season. I accept that.

This Spring I have put it on top of my other hive. I must note that the weather hasn’t been that great in Melbourne thus far. So far, same story. Some bees are in the flow hive, but not much has happened. As of today, I have put a top feeder on top of the flow hive. That may get the bees up in the hive and it may get the bees to accept the flow hive. Will see what happens.