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Canadian Flow Users - Package or Nuc?


Did you start with a NUC or a package? Are your bees filling the Flow Frames?
I’m working on a possible theory that NUC derived hives do not take to the Flow Frames as quickly as packaged bees do.
Please answer both questions and let me know where you reside. Thanks!


I am not Canadian, but I think your question can be answered helpfully by others too. :blush:

I think bees are bees, whether package or nucleus. If your hypothesis is based on the observation that nuc bees have been working on wax for a while, and won’t take to plastic because of that, I think the argument is flawed. Package bees will have to build up on wax before you can add the plastic flow frames, and they will have probably at least one or two generations of workers on the wax frames before you add the Flow super. I don’t think that there is good evidence for generational passing on of memory in bees, so even package bees will have to make a transition from wax.

I think much of the issue is with the fact that plastic doesn’t smell of bees. If you brush or rub it with beeswax or burr comb, they seem to accept it faster. I am trying burr comb, because it will still have “footprint” pheromones on it, which may be destroyed or diluted in rendering wax. Bees are always slow to accept plastic of any sort, and have to desperate for space before they will use it. If the hive is bursting with bees when you put the super on, they will be far more likely to use the plastic frames.

I will be interested to hear what others think.


This is why I’m asking - to get rid of speculation and assumption. In my case my Nuc found that it was better to completely fill all 3 brood boxes with honey ensuring that the hive became honey bound than to fill up 2 flow boxes. While a person here in Edmonton had her package bees completely accept the plastic combs and is working on her second harvest already.


But you are making an assumption. You assume that the difference is because of the nucleus versus the package. :blush: It might just be that her hive was more packed, she did something else to the plastic Flow frames (wax or burr comb rubbing) or even they are a slightly different strain of Apis mellifera from yours. Unless you can control all variables except the package vs nucleus, I think it is difficult to provide a meaningful answer to your exact question. OK, I am going to shut up now. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I don’t know about plastic or wax but package bees are in a hurry and primed to make cells as quickly as possible so maybe they grow faster than a nuc no matter what they are on


Assumption? I think you are getting assumption and theory mixed up. That’s the whole point of this thread to see if there is an underlying pattern and to establish a correlation… If there is one.


@Dare_Behr thing is, whatever any of us tell you, it is all, by definition, anecdotal.

To be proven, a theory needs empirical evidence.

Example (and true): I had a nuc. My bees filled my Flow frames.

That info neither proves or disproves your theory.


I put mine in with a 5 frame nuc May 1. They have filled the 6 Flow Hives twice.


There are literally hundreds of variables involved in how hives establish from package/nucs… So trying to link honey yield or flow frame uptake to something as basic as how the colony was sourced isn’t going to produce a useful or meaningful result.


I’m in central BC, Canada. I sourced my bees from a nuc. I didn’t realize that protocol was to put the nuc in the brood box and wait awhile before adding the super so I added the super immediately. Within a few short weeks the bees had pretty much filled the flow frames and I drained three of them from a seven frame super and have drained three again just the other day. Bees had no problem taking to the flow frame. I added a second brood box about a month ago on advice of this community because I had a very active crowded hive.


we started with a five frame nuc- half way through the Australian season. The bees quickly expanded- we added the flow super and within 6 weeks they had filled it. We did nothing to the frames in regards to pre-waxing. From reading on these forums it seems rather serendipitous (or not) as to what the bees will or won’t do.


I also did not pre-wax the frames.


Hi all,

I waxed mine but started too late in our season… The bees have totally sealed all the Flow-Super cells (I’ve pulled all six n inspected all six)… I know I’m out of luck for this season … This is my first return season to beekeeping in a lot of years. I was hoping against HOPE that I might score extra but excepting next year 2017 I have a much better chance. I just happy my bees have built plenty of comb n are for the most part successfully laying up a second deep needed to survive our regions long cool, flower less wet winters. Even my non-flows aren’t moving up stairs to wax foundation, waxed plastic or non-foundation honey supers. Just not enough strong nectar flow locally to push them upstairs. They’re just seeming to be holding the “stratus Quo” ! :+1:
Here’s a couple pix’s of my beeyard this Sunday morning as I work thru my hives n remove unneeded supers n pollen traps.

I just happy with what I have, :wink::+1:


Trying to analyzed needs n issues while I
still have good Wx n some weed pollen flow. I’m doing mite counts n honey frame checks. As our days shorten rapidly soon our weather (Wx) will quickly turn cool, cloudy n damp… Did find a outbreak of wax moths below the SBB screen. I pulled the plastic slider, scrapped all the dropping into a garbage can, washed the board with Clorox n then rerinsed n let dry in the sunlight a couple hours. The other hives don’t appear to have the outbreak yet. “Knock on Wood” ! But I’m not ignorant to think they aren’t there n I’ve just not observed then yet. Gerald


I can say that I started with two nuc’s. The one did very well the other swarmed. The one that did well I put the flow frame super on. I put wax on all six of the flow frames. It took them a little while to get going but they eventually did. I harvested two frames this weekend and got two full half gallon jars and one pint jar. I have two other frames that are 80% capped and the remaining two frames that are around 50%. This is my first year beekeeping and am very fortunate to get this bounty. Everything I have read and heard from others is not to expect any honey the first year. Like anything else in life there are different experiences. I think in this instance chances are they are not ready to use the frames. When they are the will.

Keep taking notes and try different things. I used a combination of wax foundation/foundationless on my frames in the brood boxes. It worked for me. Others use plastic. Ultimately you will use what works for your bees.

Thats my two cents. Take it with a grain of salt. Happy Beekeeping!


Wow John,

Good score on the Harvest ! Guessing my Flow-Frames are just getting smell n wax as I was only able to start so late. Our main flow was on the way out when I got going … Oh well ! Next year we’ll Hit the flows early n prepared. Again … Glad your enjoying a goodly bounty ! Congrats !

Gerald :honeybee:


I for some reason keep coming back to this thread, so I thought I would add some variables to consider:

  1. Quality / race of the queen
  2. Quality / race / number of the drones the queen was mated with
  3. Rate of laying of the queen (400 eggs a day, 2000 a day?)
  4. Amount of worker comb available for the queen to lay in
  5. Were the bees fed at any time (how much?)… were they fed pollen too?
  6. Was the NUC/Package ordered from the same climate/area as the hive?
  7. How much nectar/pollen coming in? what type of nectar/pollen is available in the area?
  8. What type of foundation was used, or if the frames were foundationless (can impact on number of available worker cells)
  9. 8 or 10 frame brood box? single or double brood boxes?
  10. Weather conditions eg. average temperature / length of daylight and available flying hours for the colony
  11. Time of season that the NUC/package was introduced/established

Note, this isn’t exhaustive… just a quick list off the top of my head.