Bees not using plastic frames on flow light, its been 7 months!

I have installed a flow light onto one of my hives and it has been there for 7 months now and still they are not using the plastic. In the first few months in summer they filled the four wax frames in the super and completely covered the lid with comb. The queen had her laying pushed to the bottom half of the brood box as they were running out of room. I found only 1 unhatched filled queen cell (which I removed) so swarming was about to happen. Lucky I caught the old queen before any swarming. This queen was purchased not long before so she is young. They were doing everything possible to avoid using the plastic frames. I checker boarded frames to give queen more room to prevent swarming and considering she was a new queen from a good breeder I put an excluder under the brood box to stop her from going, they didn’t ball her so it worked.
I have read on this forum of other people having the same trouble and have done what was advised such as smearing honey over frames and also lemongrass oil. I thought the lemongrass oil was going to work as they started filling a dozen cells. The sunshine coast has had an unusual hot winter day 31c so thought I would check the progress, something I don’t normally do in winter. To my astonishment they had removed the small amount that was there so all plastic is empty and the 4 waxed frames in the super are all full of honey and now they have started again on the lid.
Originally this hive had a super with all wax frames. I’ve run out of ideas, what to do! Unless I try it on another hive?

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That’s what I would do…another strong hive

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You appear to have a very unusual case Kerri, your bees are just not taking to the Flow frames. I would try new bees and cover any space that allows the bees to get into the lid. Use a hive mat to cover the top of the frames with. I use vinyl during winter over the brood and use a food grade material similar to chook feed bags to cover the super so they cannot build comb up top.


You are having issues there for sure. I saw you write about honey n lemon grass to lure them in … I wonder if its the waxless frames ?! I know somepeople have had trouble with plastic foundation that was not coated as well. Just trying to think this thru as I’m sure you have !

When I first put my full Flow-Super on my colony was exploding in size but the bees came up a little, looked around n went back down stairs. Bummer I thot !! So I’d heard others say add a super over it with some drawn comb … I did … Nada/Nothing ! Then the Lights :bulb::bulb: came on ! This plastic is Waxless ! 7/11 was the day I added the Flow-Super. on 7/13 I found a pound block of bees wax n melted it down. I found a new 2" wide paint roller, dipped in the melted wax, then started rolling it on both sides the Flow-Frames. Then I got my spray bottle of 1:1 sugar syrup n soaked the frames … They were dipping !!! I added the Flow-Super to my double deep exploding colony once again. Within two hours or less the bees were all over it. On 7/13 I had bees quickly coming up. I’m sure it was the syrup that did the trick at getting them up !! But this time a nice group stayed n within 48 to 72 hours they were sealing the flow cells even on the outer wall where the side window is. As of 7/19 my bees are starting to add nectar to the Flow-Frame.

Now I’m not totally comparing Apples with Apples here … You have a mix of wax foundation frame (bees do like that). And you four Flow have absolutely no wax on them. … Even if you are going to change you Flow-lite to another strong hive. I’d try to tip the scales in your favor n wax the Flow-Frames really good.

What ya got to lose ?! Go for it… Keep us posted please at what ever you do decide please … We can all learn from this !

Take care n good luck !


I put wax on mine like @Gerald_Nickel did and it worked. They slowly came up and started sealing up the comb and started putting some nectar in. Here is a link where @Bobby_Thanepohn coated his frames with beeswax. Worked for him too.

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Glad it worked for you also. Makes sense as we do use plastic foundation with a coating of beeswax.

Just a couple pix’s of treating the Flow-Frames with bees wax n spraying with 1:1 ratio sugar syrup. Yah ! Bobby has a good vid on that to share ! Gerald.

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I used wax that I had collected from that particular hive too. Familiar smell I am sure helped as well.

Thankz John,

Just getting back into beekeeping after 55 years away. Lots of new ways, methods n crap we didn’t worry about or have in the later 1950’ n 60’s. Been taking a lot of update classes n outdoor working Apiary clinics. Now I’m the clinic assistant since I worked bees before n most of the Newbees don’t have a clue. It’s nice as I get to see so many different aspects n things working the 80 to 100 hives at different …locations.

I started with three Spring 5 frame Nuc, capture one swarm n started another mid-Season 5 frame Nuc from a queen I ordered but ended up not needing. Thus pulled plenty of good resources from the other four exploding hive colonies.

Had to use a block of wax I bought from my mentor as my supply of extra wax doesn’t exist yet. In couple weeks I’ll be doing late summer sugar roll mite count tests. I use SBB’s for part of my natural mite control.

That’s about it over here in Jerry’s beeyard SE of Seattle…

Take care,


Been having similar issues. I put the Flow super on when the hive was very full and starting to get honeybound. Two weeks later lots of propolis in every nook and cranny, but no wax. Put a regular super on and they filled it in a week.
I have since cleaned the propolis off with alchohol and let it thoroughly dry (like for a couple weeks). this resulted in the frames having a lingering smell of propolis.
My next tactic is to rub wax over all the flow frames on a warm day, then melt it smooth with a hair dryer. this resulted in a nice even coating on the ends of the cells. I hope that all this will help the frames “smell” better to the bees.
I’ll be adding the flow back on this weekend during inspection, and will post an update.

Thanks for all the advice I will try the rolled wax and sugar water. I will let you know how it goes.

Fingers crossed!!

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So disappointed today to see, 2 months. after adding the Flow Frames on top of 2 very full brood boxes, that there was nothing happening on the Flow Frames. There are bees wandering over it, but no nector being stored from what I can see.
I didn’t have any wax, so instead sprayed both sides of each Flow frame with the 1:1 sugar/water mixture. I am a first year beekeeper.

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Put my flow super back on with newly waxed frames. 6 hours later the whole super is abuzz with activity! Bees are moving all over, cutting chunks of the wax and filling in the cracks. No sign of propolis this time either. Will look again in the moning and maybe post some pics.

It’s all about the beeswax. That worked for me in both of my flow hives.


With two brood boxes and your first year, that is a lot of storage for bees to deposit their nectar into, there is every chance they are sustaining their colony on what they bring in as well as building comb which consumes a vast amount of their honey stores. The flow super is a very large room and the bees will only store nectar there when there is no room in the two brood boxes and more nectar is coming in than what the colony needs.

Thank you. The next day I read about spraying the frames with 1:1 sugar syrup, or brushing lightly with melted beeswax. Tried the sugar suggestion and immediately the bees started to populate the flow frames, and they’ve been busy up there since. So that was a good inducement for them. Only wish I had known about that trick earlier. Thanks for the encouraging advice.



I’d really count your blessing if your double deeps are full or near full. I’m just south of you about 20 ms SE of Seattle in the foothill country. My girls seem to be wandering all over my Flow-super too. I’ve pulled the middle frames but NO Nectar yet … The flow-frames have sealed seams so that will help Season 2017.

The girls have really worked since I caught the swarm mid May. We always wish for more than is possible often. At least yours n my frames are ready for the next years process. If we get even a fair year I am guessing we will have Harvests !

I’m working three other full 10 frame Langstroth hives n one newer 5 frame (started mid July) double deep Nuc. All the rest started mid April. I’ve been stealing frames of brood from stronger n helping the weaker to keep all my hives healthy, strong n succeeding. It’s great returning to beekeeping after a 55 year holiday away. Things have truely changed since those teen years in more than one way.

Good luck n don’t sweat the small stuff. Take care n happy beekeeping,