Bees not deposited honey in the flow super 2 years in a row

Hello everyone,

I’m in need of some assistance and advice regarding the reluctance of my bees to deposited honey in the flow super. I have had the flow hive for 2 years and purchase my second one last summer after the first swarmed.

This year, I attempted to prevent swarming by adding an extra brood box to one of my hives, but instead, the bees filled it with honey and still swarmed twice two weeks later.

To entice them, I covered the flow frames with melted beeswax, but it seems they used the wax to create comb on the new frames in the brood box that they filled it with honey.

I would greatly appreciate any insights into what might be causing this behaviour or any suggestions on how to address it, particularly since I’ve informed the minister of finance, that we need to purchase an extractor to get the honey out now. Thank you in advance for your help."

I have exactly the same experience. However, I did notice that two of the flow frames actually had soft capped honey in them so I am going to wait until next season and hopefully that will be third year lucky! It isn’t much consolation but I do share your frustration.

Hello and welcome. As you learned, simply adding space is not a foolproof method of swarm management. Do a search on this forum and YouTube etc for how to identify signs of swarm buildup and how to do preemptive splits going forward. You’ll need to decide if you’ll keep and grow the split colonies or perhaps sell them as nucs - either way, the extra equipment to do that is far less $$ than an extractor.

1 Like

The bees deposited honey in my flow hive in the first year but it remained uncapped. The second year (this year) I waited until the hive was packed with bees… literally every frame bursting with bees. Then they filled it in 4 weeks. I harvested it and 3 weeks later it’s full again.
Perhaps try waiting until it’s totally packed with bees?


Thanks John, good luck next season.

Hi Mike, where in Vic are you located?
One of my hives was packed to the brim, at the start of October, but still quite cold where we are, “Yarra Valley” but I still added the supper to try and get them move up so they would not swarm. They did go up into it but only a couple of hundred, it was like that for weeks, then we had some really hot weather and the bees bearded on the outside but still were not going up to the top Super, so I added another Brood box to give them room.
All they did after that was get wax from the super and filled the brood box full of honey, and then swarmed anyway.
To make it worse I am not entirely sure if I still have a queen in that hive, now as it now has little to no brood, although a lot of honey all in the wrong place. I guess I will just have to watch and see as well as work out a cheaper option to get the honey out to make room.

I’m in Kangaroo Ground.

With the hive in question, in that warm period I took 5 frames from the 2 brood boxes and created a split which is going well.

I harvested 6 flow frames over a few days 3 weeks ago and it’s full again. I added a super on top of the flow frames to give them more room until I can do another inspection. The bees are starting to build comb already.

I haven’t had swarming but I’m concerned enough to probably take another split this weekend, or perhaps add some of the frames to smaller hives.

Hello @jbm68 and welcome to the Flow forum! :blush:

I agree with @Eva, more space is not the answer to swarm prevention, if you already have queen cells in the hive. Once they have made the decision to swarm (i.e. they are making multiple queen cells), the only way to prevent swarming is to do a split. Destroying the queen cells won’t work - they will swarm anyway, and potentially leave your hive queenless, as the old queen goes with the swarm. The important thing is to inspect the brood box regularly (every 1-2 weeks) from early spring until the nectar flow is over for the year. If you see queen cells, do a split.

You may be worried about weakening the hive too much to get a harvest, but a swarm will lose you far more bees than splitting will, as swarms take 60-70% of the colony population with them. Best to split first. During a strong nectar flow, the bees removed from splitting can be replaced in under a month, if you have a laying queen. If the hive swarms, you won’t have a laying queen for at least 4 weeks, then she has to replace all of the lost bees - about 2 months to recover. Then those bees need to age into foragers, which is about 3 weeks after emerging. That may well be why your super isn’t being used.

For swarm and split advice, I recommend reading these two leaflets. Yes, they are long, but they are very detailed in how to do a successful split and not lose your bees. The modified Snelgrove 2 is my favourite split:

One more idea for you. You could consider putting an Ideal or WSP super on top of the Flow super, with frames of good quality wax foundation in it. The pheromones in the wax are a strong pull for the bees. Once they start exploring it and have walked all over the Flow frames to get to it, they will leave footprint pheromone (yes, that is a real thing, I kid you not!) on the plastic Flow frames. Footprint pheromone labels an area as desirable home territory, and they are much more likely to use the frames.

In summary, if you can focus on swarm prevention, I think that you will have much more success with creating a Flow super harvest. :wink:

1 Like

Hi Dawn, Eva

Thanks, that all makes perfect sense. I guess next year I need to inspect them a lot earlier in the season weather permitting. Now that I know the hive is going to take a while to recover, I will give your idea ago, buy placing the brood box full of honey on top of the Flow Super until I can harvest that to start with. Thanks for your help, ideas and info.

1 Like

OK so not too far from where I am.
I certainly have read enough to try and prevent swarming, but have clearly been unsuccessful in preventing it so far. I must tell you it is very dishearten the first couple of times, especially if you are not prepared or have a spare nuc or hive available.

When you say you placed a super on top of the flow frames, do you mean on top of Flow Super or in between the bottom brood box and the flow super, that was what I did to try and prevent swarming this year, but all they did was fill it full of honey instead.

I have 2 brood boxes on the bottom of that hive. I then have the flow super and on top of the flow super I have a regular honey super.

1 Like

Sounds like a good idea. A couple of thoughts for you:

  1. If there is any brood in the frames, check whether it is drone brood. Drone brood is domed, rather than flat capped. Drones will not be able to get down through the queen excluder, and will die trying to do so. They either need an upper entrance, or you need to lift the inner cover for about an hour every afternoon at around 2-3pm
  2. Putting honey above the Flow super may encourage the bees to move it down. This is a good thing, and will help them to accept your Flow super too. However, if your winters are cool, you are going to need to take the Flow super off in late summer or early autumn, and make sure that there are enough stores left in the non Flow super for the bees during the winter nectar dearth.

You have a plan. Good luck!


I couldn’t agree more on @Dawn_SD’s advice. My thoughts are on the full box of honey.

If the frames have plastic foundation, you can easily scrape all the comb, with honey into a sieve over a bucket, right down to the foundation. The bees will clean up the rest inside the hive.

You can do the same with wax foundation, except you need to be a bit careful not to break through the foundation while doing the second side of each frame.

If it’s in foundationless frames, you can just crush & strain the whole lot, especially the ones that are mostly drone comb.

1 Like

Hi Jeff, thank you, I was a little unsure on the best approach of harvesting the honey without a spinner, and never doing it before, but that all makes sense. I will try the brood box (one full of honey) on top for a week to see if helps entice the bees up through the Flow Super frames first, fingers crossed they will start using or moving the honey down first, if not I will do as you have suggested then to harvest the honey.


You’re welcome Jason. I offered my suggestions after reading that you were looking for a cheaper option for getting the honey out. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can take whatever you want & leave the rest, especially if you haven’t harvested any honey from your hive yet, & you’re looking forward to getting some to try. It won’t be inferior to the honey that comes out of the Flow frames.

1 Like

Hi Jason,
You will be finding there are some extremely helpful and experienced beekeepers on our community forum.
However, the Flow team would also be very happy to trouble shooot with you if you are experiencing an issue with your Flow frames.
For assistance, just email and we will be glad to help.

Hi jbm68,
I have the same problem of my bees doing everything they can to avoid storing honey in the flow frames - to the point where they’re building comb on the underside of the frames in the brood box. I’ve done all the suggested tips - smeared comb and honey on the Flow frames, brought frames of honey into the flow box. They are now walking over the Flow frames but nowhere in the numbers found in the brood boxes.
Re getting a honey extractor, if you’re near Melbourne there is a lovely shop in Brunswick and they’ll rent a simple 3-frame manual extractor to you. They’re called “Bee Sustainable”

best of luck!

Hi Menagerie

Thank you for reaching out to me. I too tried all of the suggestions with only partial success before they went back to building comb everywhere else.
Several bee keepers suggested that that the last resort was to replace my queens, which turned out to be an experience in itself as I have never been able to identify them before. Through persistence and multiple stings, I eventually found and replaced the queens, at the moment the hives are building themselves back up after removing all the frames of honey.

I must confess this whole experience was quite stressful for the first time, that and harvesting the honey the old fashion way over large containers, to free up the frames.

Thanks for the tip regarding “Bee Sustainable” I will keep that in mind, hopefully with the new genetics they will eventually use the Flow frames but it’s too early to know yet.