Hive is thriving all frames fully drawn with both honey and brood. 2 8 frame deeps. Can or should we add flow hive today and can you leave that honey for the bees for winter if they fill it? Should we use queen excluder now and take it out when it gets cold ?
You could, depending on how strong you want your hive to be next year. I believe that @Red_Hot_Chilipepper has much more success with 3 deep brood boxes (all 8-Frame) overwintering, and his climate should be very similar to yours. You may still be OK with 2 deeps, but I bet most of your locals use 2 deep 10-frame boxes, so they will have 25% more stores than your hives.
You could leave the honey for the hive for winter, but I would take the Flow super off after harvesting. You can always feed the honey back to the bess during the winter if you want to.
Queen excluders are a personal choice. My husband and I like to use them, but many people don’t. If you are going to super for a honey harvest, that is the time to put it on (i.e. now if you are adding the Flow super now). I would definitely take it off when you have finished the final harvest, before winter sets in.
Do you have or can you get either a 8 frame medium n add that or shallows ? Now the extra normal supers is probably the best choice.
Now saying that ! A week ago I had the same issues. And I added my QE n the Flow-Super with 6 frames. It get the bees reving for the Flow I rolled melted bee wax all over each frame n soaked them with a spray bottle of sugar syrup. The bees were almost instantly drawn to the new Flow-Super like a moth to a flame.
I doubt they’ll fill the whole Flow-Super n if it’s not ripe honey I’ll drain the frames n feed back to the bees anyway.
That’s my personal take n 2 cents worth ! Let’s see what others say ,
Thanks for the answers after reading all day yesterday it seems the advice is to take flow hive off for winter. In that case we are going to add third box of regular frames (foundation less ) and let them do their thing before it gets cold. Will add the flow hive box next year! And let them keep all their honey for their first winter😊
I like your plan. I don’t think you will regret it either. The more of their own food that they have through the first winter, the more likely that you will have a strong colony at the beginning of the next season, and then you may get several Flow harvests next year, which would be awesome!
I agree…get a nice strong colony through the winter, keep on top of swarming and off you go.