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Brood free honeycomb

Hi everyone,

Just wondering if you can put an empty frame next to your flow frames purely for the purpose of getting brood free honeycomb? Would this make a mess of the flow frame next to it?

You could do it, but… It wouldn’t make a mess of the Flow frames, but the comb you would get would be quite wide, so they might not be tidy at building it. You might get islands, bridges and wonky comb. Could be an interesting experiment though. If you try it, please let us know (with photos!) what happens. :blush:

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Thanks Dawn. Why do you think it might be wonkier than one in the brood box? Because the spaces are wider up there? I wonder if I can manipulate it…

Possibly because the spaces are wider, yes. But bees are unpredictable things, so probably whatever I say will be wrong. :wink: I am just imagining what might be most awkward for you. I don’t think it necessarily will happen, but it could, so you need to be prepared!

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Expect the unexpected I guess! :slight_smile: I will see how we go through winter and quite possibly do it next spring when I (hopefully) get my super on. Thanks for your thoughts.

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You could get the bees to build beautiful straight comb in between the flow frames during a honey flow, if you, #1 reduce the gap to accommodate a traditional frame. #2 Have fully sealed honey on both flow frames. #3 it you start with a wax starter strip, alternatively a frame that has had fresh comb cut out of it, leaving wax at the top. A wood starter strip will probably work.
By moving the flow frames in a little bit, you’ll leave a small gap on the sides. But it would only be temporary while the bees build the honeycomb.


Questions Jeff, I have so many questions! :grin:

  1. What is appropriate to use to narrow the space?
  2. If I put it on the outside instead of the inner part of the super it only needs to be sealed one side? Or perhaps it would be better to have a flow frame on either side of it…?
  3. I have some empty ‘flowhive’ frames that have the comb guide in them (as per the ones you get when you purchase the flowhive) would that be enough or do you think a wax starter strip is better? :thinking:

Flow have a hybrid so no reason not to.

Stick some pictures up when your bees finish it.

You can always under super your Flow super. I’m going to give the Ross Rounds a go this year under my Flow super.

Hi Emma, it’s best if you sit the empty frame in between 2 fully capped honey frames.That way they’ll build beautiful straight comb. However that depends how straight the honey frames are capped because they’ll likely follow that shape. I know it works well with the width of traditional frames. I’m not sure about the width of flow frames. I measured the gap between flow frames, it’s 55mm. The gap between traditional frames is around 42,43, that’s putting 9 frames in a 10 frame super, as I do. You could leave a 45mil gap which only leaves 10 mils. You could leave a 1mil gap between the frames & the sides which wont leak any bees out the back. I’m sure the wood starter strips would be fine.



It does work with flow frames (the way @JeffH suggests)… But it makes draining the flow frames impossible because the bees can easily escape.

The frame can end up a little overdrawn but that’s not the end of the world, at least to me.


When there’s a gonzo nectar flow, you can put a regular shallow or medium box on top and with guidance re frames as outlined by Jeff, and you’ll soon have a full Flow AND a nice box of comb honey. This worked beautifully for me last year. I took some of the comb and then used the partially-filled boxes to replace the Flow supers once I’d emptied them, for the colony to fill up with fall honey for their winter stores.


Hi @Ashem0

I would recommend using a Hybrid Flow Super for collecting both honeycomb and Flow-honey from the one super as the box is designed for this i.e. the bee space is correct for all frames inside the super to avoid awkward and unfavourable comb, plus when you take the back observation window off to harvest the Flow Frames, there isn’t a giant opening for the bees to rush out (notice the Hybrid design below). You could have a go at converting a Langstroth deep box to accommodate the Flow Frames and honey super frames.

Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 9.22.42 AM

I agree with Eva’s recommendation though of adding a shallow or medium box for honeycomb. The shallower frames support quicker honeycomb harvesting and nice little package-size honeycomb frames.


You can also allow your bees to build comb in the roof cavity by leaving the hole in the inner cover uncovered/unplugged. Your honeycomb will look pretty rustic, but this is a great option if you don’t use enough honeycomb to justify an extra super and just want to break off the odd chunk as a treat for the kids or to add to a cheese plate or pancakes.


That’s a great idea too. I was worried I would end up with a great big wedge if I let them in there.

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You will but itll be pure honey comb, rustic as Free stated is super cool and natural rather than forced.

I’m going all out for comb this season as an experiment with 2 of my hives.


Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. I have been lucky enough to secure a hybrid 2nd hand recently in addition to my other hive. So I will be hopefully harvesting both honey and honeycomb next flow!

Just remember that 2nd hand equipment can contain disease. So make sure you’re comfortable that there were no issues with the hive first time around when the equipment was in use.

That’s great advice from @SnowflakeHoney , I treat anything second hand as if it’s contaminated. Therefore I wouldn’t accept anything second hand that contains plastic because I apply a fair bit of heat to sanitize stuff to my liking. I never buy second hand beekeeping gear. However I’ve been given a lot of stuff over the years, which always gets treated before I use it.


I have been wondering about this. So, the situation is I bought 2 secondhand hives - bee nest insitu in both on top of my original flow hive. It was not my intention to put any of the gear from an old hive to my original one - due to contamination concerns. But, I am finding this is near impossible not to have some level of exposure eg the hive tool, my gloves feeders etc. I can see why people end up having spares of everything.

I’m pleased to say the secondhand hives appear quite healthy though.