This is my first winter in Montana. I currently have a deep brood box and a flow super all full of honey. My bees are healthy but I’m wondering if I need to put a candy box on for winter?
And if so where? On top of super?
Any other suggestions to help get through winter will be greatly appreciated.
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
I would take that Flow super off ASAP. Harvest it first, if you can, or get it inside into the warmth and harvest inside if it is cold outside. Please read the forum using the search tool (magnifying glass) for harvesting. There are some tricks to know, like only opening the frames in 20% increments, and only harvesting 2 frames each day, to avoid overwhelming the bees with any honey leaks inside the hive. If you leave the super on, with the queen excluder, you risk the queen dying if the bees cluster in the super, leaving her behind.
Yes a candy board would be good for winter. You should also winterize your hive with insulation and a moisture quilt. Reducing the hive entrance to about 3 inches wide is also helpful.
I would imagine that most traditional beekeepers in your region would have double brood boxes to give sufficient stores for the long, cold winter. You should consider that for next year. Meanwhile, this year, you will need to monitor their food stores closely and feed as necessary.
Did you test and treat for varroa? That is another thing that can cause winter hive losses if untreated.
Read as much as you can on this forum, but also consider joining a local bee club. Your Flow hive brood boxes should be managed the same way that they manage their Langstroth boxes, the only difference is in the harvesting method. A local mentor could be very helpful to you, even if they don’t have Flow hives.
Thank you so very much for all of this information. I am in a local bee forum but I’ve found they are generally anti flow hive
I have been able to remove the Queen excluder and have supplies to wrap it in insulation for winter.
Thanks again, this has been extremely helpful
You are risking the queen laying in the Flow super in the spring if you remove the queen excluder. Your choice of course, but it is difficult and messy to clean out the cocoons if she does lay brood up there.
If you leave the Flow super on, then to answer your original question, the candy board should go above the super.
Ok got it! Makes sense and yeah I don’t want to spend extra time cleaning that super… it looks like a lot of extra work that could be avoided. Thank you Dawn
There are a couple of other issues with leaving the Flow super on over winter:
- The honey in the super may crystallize (it usually does after a couple of months). That will make harvesting difficult or impossible next season, and will also require a time-consuming cleanup
- When the nectar flow is over for the year, bees collect and apply propolis to everything, including the Flow super. That can gum up the mechanism to the extent that the frames can’t be opened for a harvest. Again, another difficult cleaning job
- If you put candy (or any food) on the hive with the super on, the bees may store some in the Flow frames, which will contaminate your next harvest with something that is not honey
Not wanting to be the prophet of doom here, just trying to save you work from repeating experiments that others have already tried.
Good news! We took your wonderful advice and got it off today!! We can’t thank you enough for all of your valuable information