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Bees escaping from super

Hi guys,
I live in Victoria so it is the middle of winter here. I’m not sure if this has caused my super box to expand or not but my flow frames are now allowing the bees to escape through the window end of the super. See pic attached. Any suggestions?

I can’t tell from your picture how far forward the frames are in the box - maybe this is part of the issue?

Also, if you don’t have strong nectar flow in your climate in the winter, the super may best be removed for the time being.

Thanks. The frames are flush with the box but they seem to have raised up creating a gap at the bottom of the frame. I plan on taking the super off the see if I can adjust them somehow when the weather is suitable but just wanted to see if anyone had experienced something similar first.

Maybe @KieranPI, @Bianca or @danika from Flow could advise? Perhaps the wood has warped a bit if this was a pine hive?

:blush:

G’day Adam,
Emkay007 from Perth raised this same issue about a week ago. From my experience it is fairly common issue in cool wet winter climates.
I would highly recommend removing your flow supers for winter for a few reasons… warping (as You have experienced), over winter honey candying, bees clustering in the super leaving the queen below the qx to perish, and the frames can get black and mouldy from condensation.
These are just my observations being in a somewhat similar winter climate to you.
Your super will return to its original shape when the weather warms up again and it can dry out. In the meantime you could just poke something in the gap for now to stop them escaping until your box shrinks again.

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Thanks for the suggestions Tim. I opened up the hive today to see if I could make any adjustments to fix the issue. It seems as you have guessed that the super box has simply expanded and as a result a hole has opened up below the bottom of the flow frames. The good news is that the hive looks very healthy and there is quite a bit of honey in the frames already. Time to add another brood box before too long I think.

Thanks again for your help.

Hey Adam,

Thank you for posting this here for us to share trouble-shooting turns with :blush:
It looks like it could be one of two things, or a combination of them.

1.) The possibility that the the metal strip hasn’t been notched in properly.
This should be able to be fixed by filing the end of the super sides a little so that the metal strip sits higher against the Flow Frames
This means it either hasn’t been assembled properly, or the notch was absent at assembly, or it has recessed into the timber over time.

2.) The timber panels may have swollen.
When it comes to changes in timber consider if there has been colder wetter weather as well as low bee activity in the Flow Super.
It doesn’t look like the Flow Frames are filled, it also looks like there is some condensation occurring in the Flow Super.
When did you first add your Flow Super?
The panels may have swollen, perhaps taking on moisture from lots of rain, or condensation within the hive if the bees have not had time to wax the inside of the panels.
It will return to its normal size once the moisture evaporates from the timber. You will need a few good sunny days to help with this, and if rain is consistent then you may want to fashion some kind of tarp/shelter over the hive, ensuring the entrance isn’t covered of course.
This will reduce further moisture entering the timber from the outside if this is the issue.
In the meantime, the most effective method to avoid the bees getting through and also to allow for the timber to return to normal, would be pushing beeswax into the gaps.
This will move out of the way as the timber shrinks and the bees will likely just reinforce it with propolis.
Be aware they may break through it. In which case having more on hand to add would be a good idea.
You will also want to ensure that the Flow frames adjustment screw, has been fully extended on the opposite end of where you harvest.

I hope this makes sense Adam, and you can get your super back on the straight and narrow! Please update us on how you go.

Danika :blush:

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Thanks Danica. It is definitely the second issue. I have notice that the side window covers have a bit of space around them also so that is another indication of the expansion.

The super was added in Dec last year.

I have already adjusted the screws in the flow frames to see if that helped but it didn’t make any difference.

Thanks again for your help. Just need to wait for the weather to warm up a bit I think.

Cheers,
AdamZ

Thank you Danika for comprehensively addressing this issue on the forum and not behind closed doors as in the past.