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Bees making Honey in the roof of the flow hive Super


#1

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been checking my Flow Hive and have 3 frames ready for harvesting and 2 that are only about half full.
However the bees have also taken to building a lot of honey in the roof of the Super.
Has anyone had this happen to them ?
Was I late harvesting ?
Should I remove to incentive them to go back to depositing in the Flow Hive frames ?
Thanks for your help
Jonathan


#2

Do you have the hole in the inner cover blocked off? I think it’s recommended unless you are using it to feed the bees. If you block it off then they won’t have access to the roof space.

I just have a short round glass jar over mine. It stays in place nicely with a bit of propolis after a while and its another window into the hive without disturbing the bees too much.

I thought they might build honeycomb in the jar at some stage but mine always just stick with the Flow frames…probably because I harvest them as soon as they are full and they never run out of space,

In your case though, I wouldn’t have thought that with only 3 frames full you were too late harvesting, I’m guessing they just felt like making honeycomb in the roof because there was the open opportunity.


New bees building comb through top cover hole?
Hole in inner cover
#3

Several people on this Forum. :blush:

Not necessarily. Bees do things for their own reasons. Some people have had no problems with roof comb at all, others have had a real mess.

I would definitely remove the comb and enjoy the honey in it! :smile: Then, as @oatkir wrote, I would cover the hole in the middle of the inner cover, or they will just rebuild it. I like the glass jar idea, but if you want to preserve the ventilation (you really don’t need to), you could tape or staple some insect screen over the hole. Personally, I use a piece of flat tile.


#4

Thanks Oatkir, I’ll definitely give that a go :slight_smile:


#5

Thanks Dawn, that’s good advise, I’ll go and do that, would prefer them to be making in the flow frames.
Appreciate your help
Jonathan


#6

Thanks @Dawn_SD,
I did remove all the Honey, and had an inspired idea, from my Mother, who is staying at the moment, to use a juicer to seperate wax from honey (It’s a Neo, which uses a screw mechanism to remove pulp) anyway, it worked a treat, and I have then melted wax down into a jar for candles or whatever else :slight_smile:


#7

A variation on “crush and strain”. Congratulations and thank you for the feedback. :smile:


#8

Hi Johnathan, congratulations on getting the comb out & retrieving the honey. Personally, I would block the holes on the gable ends & leave the hole in the inner cover. The cavity in the roof should be one good indicator of whether the hive wants to swarm or not. I use the gap in my migratory lids for this purpose. If I see a large number of bees in my lid doing nothing, I generally find that that colony will be preparing to swarm. If I find bees in the lid building comb & storing honey in it, I don’t panic so much, however I still do a brood check & generally find they are not preparing to swarm. The thing about that strategy is you need to lift the roof from time to time to keep an eye on how the population is going.


#9

Thanks Jeff,
I normally check the whole hive one a week.
Being new to this game, I’ve made a couple of elementary errors.
I used the roof lid with the centre hole between the brood box and the Super, I realised yesterday my mistake and have removed honey comb in the roof and have now positioned the roof “lid” in it’s correct position and have the queen excluder separating the 2 boxes.
It was a learning for me ! but hoping the bees go back to filling the flow frames now !


#10

IC, yeah well that’s an easy mistake to make. You should be right now. I would still leave the hole in the inner cover. The bees will likely build comb in the roof once all the other space is full. The space in the roof gives the bees that little bit of extra room should they have a population explosion. It IS amazing how quickly the population can grow. Especially during times of low mortality, coupled with 4 or 5 frames full of sealed brood all hatching within a short space of time. It wouldn’t be hard for a colony to grow by 20,000 in a couple of weeks.


#11

Thanks, will do that


#12

Just found this thread as my bees are making the most amazing comb in the roof too. My question tho should the comb be capped before removing it? My bees are very productive now in Brisbane (Australia).


#13

The comb in the roof?? No, I would remove it as soon as I found it. If it isn’t capped, you probably won’t get much honey from it, and you can keep that in the fridge for a week or two if you intend to use it yourself. If you don’t want to use it, just feed it back to the bees using a mason jar feeder or other simple system. Ask if you need to know more about that.


#14

thanks, I think I’ll try and make some mead with this batch. A job for tomorrow.


#15

If you drop some melted wax in the bottom of the jar - they need an edge to start building. You will soon have a masterpiece of burcomb you can fill with liquid honey.


#16

Cool. Thanks for the tip, I’ll give it a go.


#17

What about leaving the roof comb honey for the bees to overwinter with? I was going to try that. My configuration is one brood box and one flow super in South Australia.

At first I had a tile blocking the round hole in the inner cover to prevent the bees getting up into the roof cavity to make comb.Then I read that ants can get up into that roof cavity and make nests. If the bees cannot get into the roof cavity to chase them out…it could be a problem…

We have a lot of ants, and I have to keep the stand legs in oil all the time or the ants invade. So I am going to see how it goes, giving the bees access to the roof attic.


#18

when my mum first installed her hive we left the hole uncovered and there were often a lot of the bees hanging out in the roof when we did inspections. They never built any comb up there though. However now we keep the hole covered.

Several reasons: no chance of them building comb in the roof. But more importantly: if there are bees in the roof when you do an inspection it makes things more difficult in several ways:

First when you remove the roof and inner cover you will have bees on both sides of the inner cover. This means you can’t put it down and place the flow super onto it- unless you first shake the bees off. Also it means the moment you remove the roof you are dealing with the bees- with the hole covered you can take the roof off without any bees even noticing.

Second: when you have finished your inspection and replace the inner cover- there will be bees crawling in and out of the hole and all over the inner cover. So when you put the roof back on there is a much higher chance of bees getting crushed between the roof and the hive. with the flow roof you cannot put it on at an angle and slide it into position as you do with a box- it must go straight on- and it’s hard to see all the edges and if there are bees there. Next time you remove the roof you will see the poor bees that didn’t get out of the way fast enough- and were squashed.

So now we just keep that inner cover hole blocked all year round.

Also I wouldn’t worry too much about ants in the roof- as there won’t be much up there for them to keep them around. I almost always see one cockroach in any flow roof when I remove it. It seems the perfect home for them- but I imagine ants would find very little of interest up there. Ants always appear the minute there is any honey spilt- or anything to eat- in the roof there is usually next to nothing. Just enough to keep one cockroach happy!


#19

Thanks for your insights. I used to have the attic blocked off with a flat rock. The bees had propolised the rock down too.

But the location of my hive makes ants a big worry.

The hive is located in the foothills of SA, in the middle of a 100 acre property of re-vegetated scrub. We have lots of ants, termites, and all sorts of insects. I have the hive stand in oil/water cans to stop the ants, but a few ants always manage to get onto the hive stand. It just takes one twig or blade of grass blown against it and they’re on it.

For example, while setting up my hive, I left the nuc box inside a clean, newly built shed, on a table overnight planning to transfer the bees to the new hive the next day. By the morning, there were 100’s of ants going after the nuc box.

I reckon if I get comb in the roof it will be a bonus, and provide the bees with some honey of their own, and will also provide insulation in the roof. It might be a bit inconvenient on inspections, but then inspections are all around inconvenient with a langstroth hive.

Having attic space that the bees cannot defend seems risky for my location. I guess an alternative for me could also be to change over to a flat roof…


#20

I have wondered about ants- because my brother used to keep bees on Kangaroo Island- where thee are also lots of ants- including bull ants, etc and he never did anything in the way of ‘ant moats’ etc. All his hives were straight on the ground in fields with nothing to stop ants going in the hives (except the bees). Then last year I visited a local beekeeper in adelaide and I saw all his hives just right on the ground with ant active right around them- and no defense whatsoever. Also with my own hives- one is near the ground and there are always ants near the base, and on the support that the hive rests on. I see them collecting whatever falls out of the hive. However looking in my viewing windows I have never seen a single ant in the hive.

I am pretty sure commercial beekeeprs generally don’t take any precautions against ants- other than maintaining strong colonies (which they do anyway) - and I wonder how much of an issue they really are? Having said that I have most of my hives on ant proof stands…