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Caught a Swarm....when to add the Flow Super?


Hi All! I’m hoping someone can help…I am relatively new to beekeeping. Last weekend I caught a giant swarm and added them to my new flow hive. I know they currently have a lot of work to do…but when should I add the Flow super? When reading about installing a Nuc…everyone is saying wait at least 2 weeks before adding the Flow Super…is this the same thought with the swarm? Are there things I should be looking for before adding it? Thanks in advance!


Hi, welcome and congratulations on your capture!

Really we don’t have enough information to answer your question. Here are some questions for you which will help us give you a useful answer.

  1. Where in the world are you? Is it Spring or Autumn right now? We have members all over the world, and I can’t tell from your profile.
  2. Is your swarm drawing out comb? Do you have any signs of the queen laying? By that, I mean can you see eggs or uncapped larvae in the comb? You may not even have a queen - a good percentage of swarm captures unfortunately don’t get a queen in them.
  3. Do your local beekeepers run on double brood boxes? If so, your first priority should be to add another brood box before putting the Flow super on.

If you can start with answers to these questions, we can try to give you some useful guidance! :blush:


Thanks so much. I am in San Francisco…Spring is here! I’m not sure they are drawing out comb yet…I was going to check this weekend. So with that said…I guess I need to check if there are signs of a queen. I’m not sure on the double brood box, but I will find out. Really appreciate the guidance.


OK, that is very helpful. I am in San Diego, and it seems to me that most of California runs on double deep (or 3 medium) brood boxes. Please do check anyway, but I am pretty sure that you will be told the same. If you need another brood box, you can get a matching one in a week or two (with free shipping) from Bee Thinking, who actually make the wood parts of the Flow hive:

If you used the foundationless frames that came with the Flow hive, you may not see any signs of queen laying for a couple of weeks - the comb needs to be deep enough, and the queen and brood need enough food in the form of honey and pollen. If you had drawn comb in the hive, it could be faster. If they are slow drawing out comb, you may consider feeding them - there are lots of threads on feeding new colonies, just use the magnifying glass search tool in the forum. I would give them a simple sugar syrup - one pound of granulated sugar in one pint of water at this time of year. There are many feeder designs to chose from, and you will need to find your own preference. I like either pail feeders or the Brushy Mountain hive top feeder - you will need the 8-Frame version.

Let us know how it goes and whether you have any more questions.

All the best,



Dawn- you’re the best. I’m in slight panic mode so any advice is great :)! I’ll keep you posted and I’ll definitely order from BeeThinking. I did use the foundationless frames…so it might be sometime as you said. I’ll start reading about feeding new colonies as well.

Stay tuned! Thanks again!



:grinning:. I am guessing by now you keep this startup guide for paste ! It’s a good one ! Thanks for helping all us newbees !


If I was smart, I guess I would. But no, I write them all custom, to order… :blush:


Been outside working today. Got the fourth n final coat of Tung Oil on this morning. I used 000 steel wool to smooth down the raised grain between coats. It helps really get a shiny gloss finish.


Lucky you catching a swarm.

Here I am sitting over in The Mission waiting on a swarm with none in sight. Which stinks because last fall I had one and gave it away because I didn’t have any boxes at my house.

I am super jealous!


Ohhhh ! Nice you ! :eyeglasses: Maybe I need to put them on again !:sunglasses:. Your special Dawn … Thanks for taking the extra interest n time !

I did work on my hives. Its count-down time ! I keep checking my list of “Must-Do” before they arrive.

I also got up today n my most important kitchen light DIED ! A retired electristian came up n help me diagnose n replace the defective ballast.

Then my grandaughter helped me it’s been a beezzzy day here … Gerald.


The general rule during a build up is 80/20. When it’s 80% full (20% empty) you can double their space. So when the brood box is 80% full I would add another box. What box would depend on your climate. Here in the US the deep south usually runs one ten frame deep for a brood box. In the far North they usually run two ten frame deeps for brood. I run all eight frame mediums, so I’m looking for four to five eight frame mediums (depending on the strength of the colony) to get through winter before I add supers. The flow frames are the “super”. Add it when they have enough to winter on.