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Bees not filling cells and wintering (Northeast US)


#1

Hi all

First year with a Flow hive. established hive in April from a package and bees seem healthy and built out bottom box. I used frames but no foundation, regardless no issues and hive looked great on inspection. In mid June prepared flow super, painted box and frames with melted comb-wax. placed excluder and installed box.

Well now is last day of August, I have inspected regularly and have seen lots of activity with many bees probing empty cells both in center and outside of super ( observation window and extraction panel ) There seems to be propolis being deposited in the frames, around cells but after 10 weeks I do not see any cells filled whatsoever. Any ideas as to what happened (or more accurately didn’t happen)? Also as now we are heading into fall I’d like guidance on the best method of removing the flow super and allowing the hive to get ready for winter. And how to make sure the super is ready for storage/prepped for trying again next year?

Thanks for any and all advice criticism - I want to do well by my bees!

Greg


#2

If it isn’t full of bees or honey, you can just take it off. Store it in a cool dark place over winter. If you only have one brood box, your bees are probably going to be short of food over winter. I would assess the amount of honey in the frames and consider feeding syrup now and candy or dry sugar later in the season. Next season I would build them up to 2 brood boxes before you add the Flow super.


#3

This was a worry ( 2nd brood box) so much of the flow hive info is from much more temperate Australia. I’m not blaming but I think I might have done better to see that a place with real winters ( I’m in Upstate NY) might need slightly different guidance. wondering if I were to remove flow super and add a 2nd brood box right now ( 9/1) would it get filled before cold weather hits in October/November?


#4

If I jumped right in with more questions sorry-- first things first–thank you for the reply!


#5

No, because your main nectar flow is over for the year. Definitely take the Flow super off, they don’t need to waste energy heating empty space.

You might want to join a local beekeeping club and tell them that you have an 8-frame Langstroth hive. I would suggest that you don’t mention Flow, as many clubs are suspicious of Flow for the reasons you illustrate above. They can advise you on winterizing your hive and specific feeding recommendations for winter.


#6

TY I had an actual Yoda - an older gentleman that kept hives for years, over a dozen on his own property, but he passed away suddenly earlier this summer :frowning:


#7

It is always nice to get mentoring from that kind of beekeeper. It will be tough to find a replacement, but I think you might find it helpful to talk with locals. We have people in this forum who are not too far from you, but probably not close enough to visit or do hands-on stuff. Ed (@Red_Hot_Chilipepper) is in NJ and has 50 or so hives. He knows how to get his bees through winter (usually) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: There must be a decent club in Upstate NY though, with all of the rural areas up there.

I wish you all the best, and please keep asking questions here. We will do our best to help you from a distance.


#8

You might get away with the bees drawing s few frames if you feed feed feed but I wouldn’t risk it. They will have too few stores to overwinter as Dawn says so you will have to give them a big block of candy. Surround it sides and top with decent insulation and they should be ok