Bees filling flow frames leaving space for brood

I added the flow super on a second year hive about 5 weeks ago. The bees are taking to it fine this year except they are treating the frames like brood frames by filling and capping around the top and sides, leaving the middle open for brood (presumably) . I have excluder in place and have confirmed the queen is below. I am only running 1 brood box being near Sydney with a mild climate. A friend has said I should give them another brood box so they can expand the brood nest more. There is a good nectar flow on and lots of swarms.


Hello Claire, I am thinking that the bees are doing that from their natural instinct or habit. Both of my flow hives did the same thing and possibly so did my standard Langstroth hives but I wasn’t checking them as often to have noticed. With a strong flow at the time they soon lost the idea of leaving brood space and stored honey over the whole of the frames. And yes, I had a QX on all of my hives. Both my Flow hives got the F supers on July 1st and one is only days away from its 3rd extraction and after the 1st extraction they treated all of the cells equally as honey storage cells. The 2nd Flow Hive is getting close to a second extraction.
I agree with your thought in the way the bees are treating the frames and that the bees will soon come around to filling all the cells.

Hi Claire yes same has happened to us on both full flow hive and our hybrid over the last few years. Plenty of room in the brood box this time round so not sure why. They only do it on the middle 2 or 3 frames. This was one of reasons why we just converted the 3 flow frame hybrid back to a 6 frame flow hive super.

I would only add another brood box if you want more bees. I have double brood, and when they are very strong, they are quite a handful to inspect. I would stick to one, if your bees overwinter nicely in one box.

I have seen the same empty arc as you. One option is to wait, as others have said. One thing I have done in the past, with success, is to put a frame of empty comb in the brood box under the arc in the Flow frames. That gives the queen space to lay down there, and the urge to leave empty space higher up went away in my hive. :wink:


Hey Claire,

Very normal for this to happen, mine are doing the same thing.


1 Like

Mine did this on the single brood box hive but not on the double.

This is exactly what’s happening to my FH2. The pattern is identical to the brood box but where the Queen would lay is completely empty (but ready for laying). I’m running out of summer. Some time ago, a beek recommended I put an Ideal over the Flow Super suggesting they will fill the FS quicker. It sounded like a good idea at the time as my plan was to take off the FS in winter and replace with the full Ideal. The ideal is filling fast, but nothing in the FS brood area equivalent (QX in place).
Should I just wait or remove the Ideal?

I would wait. Let them fill the ideal if your priority is the colony’s benefit. Then take the Flow super off when all hope of filling it has passed. I have done that a couple of times. No big deal. :wink:


Thanks again Dawn!
My other thought was to put the ideal under the FS with the hope the honey bridge inclines them to fill the FS.
Did you drain the half-filled FS frames before taking it off?

They will do what they want to do, but I doubt that will work. Only your bees know the answer to that.

I did not. I took it off about half full, and drained it in the kitchen, because I was worried about leaks from the empty “brood arc” in the Flow frames. As it happened, I think only about 50ml leaked into the baking trays that I put underneath :blush:

Feel free to pop by and ask them :wink:

Good idea though!

If you don’t mind me chiming in. Your thought of swapping the two supers around sounds quite feasible to me, and I think you still have time in the season to do so. It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you would like the flow super full to harvest you may risk taking the ideal into winter with the empty arc. Best case scenario is that they both fill.
If you leave it as it is hopefully you’ll have a full ideal for the girls winter snack and you can still harvest what honey is in the Flow.
The way I see it by choosing either option you should still get some honey for your toast. :honey_pot::grin:

1 Like

You could also rotate your half frames from the center to the outside. Hopefully this will encourage them to fill them properly when they are on the outside. Just don’t drain your full frames as they will clean and potentially refill them first.