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Brood in Flow frames

I just completed my Spring inspection for my flow hive.
It is a 10 frame (7 Flow frame) set up with 2 brood boxes and the Flow super. I haven’t run a queen excluder, however after today I think I will.
Two weeks ago I put the second brood box in at the bottom (a nadairing type of arrangement).
The inspection showed the flow frames to be full of brood (a good pattern too). The hive is strong with lots of brood and some food, but not an abundance. There were no queen cells, so it appears that swarming is not an issue yet.
So it surprised me that the bees had taken to the Flow frames for brood, especially since what I have read to date is that you may get some drones at the edge, but because they are bigger the bees shouldn’t take to these frames for brood.
I was wondering how common this behavior is?

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hi @FrankD would luv to see pics of brood in flow frames please.

Frank !

I second the idea of you taking several good pix’s of brood in the Flow-Frames. Just when you think you have heard it all those BEEs come up with a new one especially if it’s not drone ! :wink::+1:

Waiting to see :camera::honeybee::eyes:

I just checked the photos that I sent and for some reason they are upside down. They will need to be rotated 180 deg.

Regards Frank.

Hello Gerald and Zab.

I just got the message the email I sent was too big.

I’ll attempt to send the photos one at a time, starting now.

Regards Frank.

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Beautiful photo, being spring time the bees have taken full advantage of the cell size to make lots of drones:) The only thing to do now is put the frames above the QX, let the brood hatch & have some sort of escape for the drones after they hatch. You may need to exercise some sort of swarm control measures in the process.

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Thanks for posting ! I’m currently looking at your first Flow-pix. Those cells look like convexed drone cells … I’ve really looked over frames of my own ( not flow ) pix. … Sure interesting example of bees doing what bees what to Do. I’m totally in agreement with Jeff. He’s given a great plan.


Thanks for posting this, it’s good to see more proof that this does indeed happen.

The cocoons that the brood leave behind are going to be a problem and I would suggest disassembling the frames to clean them out.

Thanks guys.
On further examination drone brood does appear to be the case. I had a quick look without removing the frames today (it was a bit cold). I have given them some sugar syrup in a feeder I made to boost them along. There does appear to be a lot of drones around this hive.
In the mean time I’ve installed a queen excluder. It is not the right size being made for a “Paradise” insulated hive, however it will do the job.

Hi @FrankD, those all look like drone brood to me, not worker brood. It is well-known that this can happen in Flow frames if you choose not to use a queen excluder. The cells are too deep for worker brood, but just about perfect for drones. You now have the “interesting” job of cleaning up the frames to remove all of the cocoons so that future honey deposits don’t get stuck in the cells surrounded by cocoon wrappings. :blush:

Make sure she is below the excluder. :slight_smile:

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Make sure there is a queen. Laying workers also lay drones and aren’t excluded by an excluder.


Yoyks, that it troubling. I don’t know how on earth you will be able to clean those flow frames good enough to restore them to service as FlowFrames. You have indeed answered the question about bees laying in FlowCells… this has not happened to any of my colonies “yet”. I also think it’s probably a good idea to remove flowsupers for winter as the colony within the hive may move into the flowsuper for resources and warming. Maybe removing them and just leaving a couple of deeps will be enough for the colony in winter. I hope I never face this situation… fingers crossed :slight_smile:

I am pretty sure if he disassembled the frames and soaked them in (hot?) water it should be possible to remove all the cocoons. If they don’t just fall out a tooth brush will likely do the trick. Not a great deal of fun though…

Oh thank you Michelle, it’s good to learn from someone who has done that. Very helpful as in the past, when brood has been reared on Piergo plastic frames, I found it impossible to remove and simply replaced the frames. I’m glad that the FlowFrames are easier to clean off.

I always keep a shallow honey super between the brood boxes and the FlowSupers as this will provide yet another barrier that the Queen will be less likely to cross.

I have not used Queen Excluders for many years as it slows honey production too much.

actually we haven’t done it. We use a queen excluder. I don’t think I would ever think of not using a QX with the flow frames. The idea of brood in them is just not worth the risk- and our bees seem to do OK making honey despite the excluder.

If you set two hives/colonies side by side, one with and one without a Queen Excluder, you will be astounded by the productivity of the colony without the excluder.

Excluders are also physically hard on worker bees as they push through them. This is why I don’t use them.

This is from our FAQs section https://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/what-would-you-do-if-you-got-drone-brood-in-the-flow-frames/p/117#a1

What can I do if I get drone brood in the Flow™ Frames?

We recommend that you put a queen excluder on the hive and wait for the drones to hatch before harvesting. Make sure the queen is underneath the excluder in the brood box before replacing the Flow™ Super.


Do I need a queen excluder?

We recommend the use of a queen excluder as this ensures no drone or worker-bee eggs and larvae end up in the Flow™ Frames.

Having said this, most of our experimental Flow™ Hives did not use an excluder and we never found worker brood in them and very rarely found drone brood. We have designed Flow™ comb to have deep cells of a size that suits neither worker or drone brood.

Another factor that we believe helps ensure brood stays in the brood box is giving the bees flexibility in making the brood comb by providing them with open frames rather than foundation to build on. They will then build drone or worker size brood cells as they see fit, leaving the Flow™ Frames for the honey storage.

Have a look at our cleaning and maintenance section for FAQs about cleaning the Flow Frames - https://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/p/22?tag=22


If this is the case, why isn’t a queen excluder included when you purchase a full Flow hive? This item poses particularly difficult for many new owners to purchase due to the 8 frame hive being non-standard in nearly all regions of the world outside Australia. Not only this, many people seem to assume that if an item isn’t included in the hive kit that they don’t need, or shouldn’t use it (eyelets and wire come to mind)

Perhaps including an excluder instead of a free smoker in your current promotion would make more practical sense to new beekeepers given the scarcity of the product outside the country?

The Flow Hive Classic (1 brood box + 1 Flow Super w/ Flow Frames) comes with a plastic excluder.

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