Comb and larvae from bottom of frames. i am assuming these are be larvae

Definitely bee larvae Dennis, you might want to fix up all the cross combing before the bees get the better of you. Can I suggest you alternate a frame of foundation with a foundationless to prevent this. You could also use starter strips of foundation if you don’t have much wax.


Totally agree with Rod. I’d go so far as to suggest using all foundation frames. Then fill the super with frames, evenly spacing the frames if there is a gap left over. You need to find a mentor or join a bee club.

I still scratch my head as to why flow suggests to use foundationless frames. Especially seeing as the majority of customers are new to beekeeping. Foundationless frames are challenging enough for experienced beekeepers, let alone inexperienced beekeepers.


I totally agree with Rodderick, it is definitely bee larvae. But what a mess in the comb. I would do whatever you have to to fit frames with wired foundation and the bees will build straight comb with you need to interfere and straighten out the comb by cutting and rubber banding it in place.
Dennis as a new bee keeper there is really no option #2, Go for simple is best as a beginner, both you and your bees will appreciate it.

thanks chaps for your info. last couple years the ladies build straight down from the top of the foundation frames… it must have been beginners luck.
so was very surprised to discover this ‘mess’. i have cleaned it up and getting some foundation frames… don’t want to upset the ladies more than i can help.
thanks again


I have tried ‘going foundationless’ a couple of times and never happy with the results. It is a bit heart breaking to have to cut and rubber band comb in place. At least with wired foundation the comb is built out faster and there is no ‘wastage’ of comb for the bees efforts, or my time lost in fixing things up.
Providing you buy bees wax foundation and not the Chinese garbage that has paraffin wax mixed into the bees wax it is a win/win for you and the bees.
Glad to be of help.

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shoot me down if inappropriate. it will be about 2 weeks prior to me being able to put in some foundation frames. By then i am sure the ladies will have done what they did prior. So could i take frames [they are either full of brood or honey]
from the lower brood box, putting some into the upper brood box and so alternating with foundational frames in both bottoms and top??

Checkerboarding works well, once the mess is cleaned up.
From your pictures, it looks as if there are big gaps between the frames?
In any case, it helps the bees to get the spacing right if the frames are tightly pushed together up top initially.
Even if you wish to go foundationless, it helps to have every third frame in the box with foundation as guidance for the bees.
In spring, the bees will build a lot of drone comb in the foundationless broodbox frames, but not near as much in summer, and hardly any in autumn. So to start foundationless broodframes in spring, you will get a lot of drone comb. That comb would be fine in the super later for honey production, but for a flow hive that doesn’t really apply.
As Jeff says, for a beginner frames with foundation are a lot easier.

Two weeks can be a long time in a bee hive. Moving frames about might be a partial answer in the short term. But it is likely you will still have wonky comb with not using foundation in at least every 2nd frame. Going foundationless the hive also needs to be perfectly level by using a spirit level, an ‘eye ball’ level is not good enough.
But from your pic there is a very wide gap between those frames, maybe only 7 frames in an 8 frame box. Ideally you should have your frames sitting shoulder to shoulder touching each other for the ideal bee space with the wider gap equal against the box walls.
No one here is going to shoot you down, we are here to pass on our advice.
Cheers Dennis

ta peter… the frames are shoulder to shoulder… the foto shows after separating them.
yes the hive is ‘spirit level’.
i thort 2 weeks was going to be too long and it is going to be warm today so will alternate and clean up in couple weeks…
interestingly this was a swarm i caught last year [it is my second strongest hive]… the other hives had not done this comb mess??

I did a mentoring session a few weeks ago on a Flow Hive where the folks were totally lost, the brood box was totally foundationless and it really was a rabbit warren of wonky comb. I cut out frames as best I could and checker boarded in new frames with foundation. I checked on it yesterday and it looks great with full frames of drawn comb and some larvae. In another week I will remove the rest of the frames and fit new with foundation fitted.
Going foundationless in in my opinion not for a beginner, it is for someone with a lot of experience and spare time to work on the comb to keep it all in order. Checker boarding a beginner can get away with but for me I use foundation on wired frames so I have no hassles or lost time.

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Hi Peter, well done again.

Some people just now dropped their flow brood box off for me to put bees in. I was able to convince them to go with foundation. I showed them how, then let them finish it themselves. They were happy. Would you believe they had put the starter strips in the bottom bars. It’s an easy mistake to make when you don’t actually know what they are for in the first place.

Other mistakes I’ve seen people do is place eyelets on the inside of the side bars.

I love mentoring a beginner Jeff, a month ago I had a guy who insisted on smoking the flying bees to herd them back into the hive. Glad he didn’t see me smiling.
I got a msg this afternoon for a nuc and gave her your number.
I’m having a lot of fun in the double 10 frame hive in finding the queen, don’t tell me she will be on a brood frame mate, she is a ripper and every frame has brood at some stage. A really good move to have a dedicated donor hive with such a great queen.
A great time of year to have bees.:smiley::smiley:


Hi Peter, many thanks for that. I spoke with her a little while ago. She’s bringing her box on Fri.

Whenever the cluster doesn’t want to break because of the cold or because they need the bees to keep the cluster warm, they will build comb up from the bottom. If you put the empty box on the bottom this will solve that. If you bring up some drawn comb into the top box, that may also solve it.

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thanks for the help, i had placed some foundation less frames in-between upper and lower box [i did not have foundation frames] and checked yesterday… they are building cone straight in both upper and lower box… NOW the funny thing i had taken your advise and bought some plastic and wax foundation… had prepared the frames and wired in the wax etc but figure will use next brood box rather then mess with this hive as the ladies are now doing their job to my satisfaction… thanks again

Australia doesn’t have Varroa yet does it?


We haven’t got Varroa in Australia yet but it would be a big stretch to think it won’t happen at some time in the future. This past year there has been two finds of them in containers off ships arriving here. Both of the swarms were found and dealt with.