Bees hopefully surviving the winter

Hi everyone, newbee here! We made a rough mistake right off the bat. We went from the one brood box and instead of adding another we added the flow frames box. We’re now almost into September. I got some advice from some others saying we should harvest them and not leave the flow frames in since we get very cold winters and that we could try putting a shallow box on to replace the flow frames box since we do have some flow fall here. We harvested the flow frames a couple of days ago and replaced it with a shallow box. We plan on feeding a lot of what we harvested back to them. But everyday and night since no matter the weather, there are so many bees on the outside front of the hive instead of inside. Does anyone know why they could be doing this? What other steps I can take to try to make sure my bees survive this winter?

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Hi Cora, there may have been some internal honey leakage at the same time as your harvest. This sometimes causes the bees to beard outside the entrance until the honey spill is cleaned up, which apparently can take a couple of days.


I agree with @JeffH, it is definitely worth checking for a honey leak. If you have a Flow hive 2, pull out the inspection tray and check for honey in it. The following things commonly contribute to a honey leak:

  1. Did you drain the frames by opening in 20-25% increments? Did you make sure that the Flow tube never filled more than 75% of the way to the top of the tube, to prevent back pressure?
  2. Did you check that the Flow frame wires were tight before you put the super on? If you didn’t check wire tension, the frames can flex a lot when you start to open them, and then leak more into the hive.

If the hive had a very big population, removing the super would compress them into a smaller space and may cause bearding. However, you added a shallow, so that should not be such a problem. When you next inspect, it would be interesting to know how full the shallow box is.


A populous colony and the hot and humid late summer weather in Iowa!

I’ve successfully overwintered in a single deep in Ohio - just feed them heavily until they are full to the gills, wrap them, put on an insulated top on and go.