Bees wont go into the flowhive and are now swarming

hi guys

i have had 2 brood boxes full of bees and last month i put the queen excluder and the flow hive box on top to start collecting honey. However the bees refuse to go into the flow hive and have now swarmed on a nearby plum tree. my local beekeeper said he expected this as the bees wont like the plastic of the flowhive. any advice would be greatly appreciated. anyone else have a similar issue?

My local beekeeper said the same thing initially because of the plastic.
That would make sense except they’ve been using plastic foundation for years without an issue.

To get my girls in there, sprayed the Flowhive with some sugar water with a hand bottle.
A few times of that and they started to explore and are in.

Good luck

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thanks for the reply , will give that a go. pardon my ignorance , but what ratio / mix do you use to make up the sugar water?

Definatley do the sugar water thing and also rub some wax on them. I have done nothing with my frames and put them on full double brood box over six weeks ago and it took at least 2 weeks to just get them up in there and now its chock full of bees but still no honey going in. Can see heaps of propolis sealing gaps though

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Yah ! I hear that from some older beekeeper all the time. I let that comment go in one ear n out the other ! :wink:

As Baldy had written they accept the flow-super very quickly if you coat with some bees wax n spray with 1:1 sugar water


I took one flow frame out and cycled one frame from the brood box up to the super, putting a frame with wax foundation in the empty brood spot. I left the frame amongst the flow frames for a few weeks and then put the flow frame back in. No issues experienced and the bees moved in quite fine.

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how are you going with your production ie: Have they filled the frames yet or still in the process. How long do you think to fill the 6 flow frames. only asking as i put mine on around the same time except im in sydney.

I’ve been in contact with several regular- non-flow beekeepers here in Adelaide over the last few months. Some of them added supers, some didn’t, some of them took swarm control measures, some didn’t: most of them have had hives swarm this year. It’s a big year for swarms and swarming likely has nothing to do with if you have flow frames or not. Several of these beekeepers have also reported that this years spring flow has been slow in coming. Plenty of pollen and flowers around but no big nectar flows yet. So hives are building up nicely but have yet to really start storing excess honey. Standard supers that were added 8 weeks ago have not filled up yet- as they might have done in a better year. However it looks like the later part of the season may be very good due to the unseasonably high rainfall we had in early spring.

I have a flow hive that was made from a very large swarm 7 weeks ago. The swarm was too large to fit in an 8 frame box and nearly re-swarmed when I put it in there. To stop that happening I put on the flow super immediately simply to give the bees room to fit in the hive. Over the last six weeks the bees have done nothing in the super- however just in the last few days the numbers in there have increased and they are going into the cells- I think I saw my first drop of nectar at the base of one.

I am not worried: the slow start up I am experiencing is the same thing non-flow hive users are experiencing in my area.


I’m sorry to hear you bees have swarmed. There are many possible reasons and scenarios.
There are a few topics on the forum about it, e.g. How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames

If you would like some personal Flow Frame troubleshooting advice, I would recommend that you contact customer support with your order number or email address you used to order, along with some photos or videos so that we can give you some personal advice.

Bees are also pretty hesitant to go through an excluder to work plastic they haven’t accepted yet. I’d leave off the excluder at least until they start storing some nectar in the flow frames…

I have two Flow hives in operation and have experimented with both the wax and sugar water syrup solutions. I found by painting melted wax on the flow hives on top of my bursting double brood box was a good solutions. Within 2 days, the bees started work on the frames, now 5 days after installing this flow super, would guess and say that I have many thousand bees working the super. Just make sure that you have the cells in the closed position.

With the flow frame that I waxed and also sprayed with sugar water, I find that the bees are hopelessly outnumbers by those bloody small black ants. I will take my flow supers out and get rid of those critters.

From my personal experience, I won’t bother with the sugar syrup method again

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that’s not a bad idea Michael: I guess there is very little fear the queen would lay in the flow super until the cells were quite thoroughly coated in wax?

One of my mentors suggesting to rotate the excluder 90 degrees for a week or so then rotate back

do you mean so that part of it is outside the hive and a section in the hive is not queen excluded?

correct, only for a bit. It will not be enought for her to lay eggs. you can shake all the bees back in to the brood box and then put the excluder in correctly. they will have all the scents and have gotten use to passing thur. Yes they will will have gone around the side/end but also passing thur the excluder as well

I rny some wax over mine as well

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i just finished an inspection- my brood box if pretty much full- bursting with bees, brood, and also quite a bit of honey. there is some open comb which leads me to believe the bees are only just starting to have excess honey. The flow super has not been touched- I removed the queen excluder completely- immediately there are a lot more bees upstairs. I will put it back in around 8 days I think- or halfway at right angels if there still isn’t any action upstairs.

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after six or seven weeks

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Thanks for the tip Marty.
Our pot hive was cranking, couldn’t see the Flow frames thru the bees.
Then they swarmed.
Not much going on now although there seems to be plenty of bees.
Maybe the honey flow isn’t…

A good way to get the bees to pass through a QX is to put some brood above it. Another good way is to have a healthy population of worker bees during a honey flow.

I would not suggest removing the Queen excluder altogether. Michael is a much more experienced beekeeper than I and I would trust anything that he would even remotely say, my all-time beekeeper I work with thinks the bees see the Queen excluder as a lead or a wall and they don’t want to pass through it. That’s why rotating it at least helps them understand or something above and they will start walking on it and realize bees are on both sides. My mentor suggest leaving the Queen excluder on 24 7 365. In the winter the Queen excluder is in place, that is where the candy is fed so they still have to pass through the Queen excluder year-round and always are used to it. Just passing on what my mentor thinks about a Queen excluder. He does not have a flow frame, he started using this technique accidentally when he had gotten a new hive and then put the honey super on top with the Queen excluder separating. The bees did not take to the new box as quickly so he started experimenting.