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Combination of Frames. Confused!


Firstly, thanks to all who post on this site. As a new beekeeper, I find the information hugely valuable.
I live in Victoria Australia and reduced my hive down to two boxes for winter and removed my Queen excluder. I also reduced the number of flow frames to two, leaving those on the outside of the super. When looking through the window, I do not see any honey in the flow frame visible.
I am confused about 1. How to reintroduce the excluder as the queen may be in the top box. 2. How and when to reinstall the flow frames.
I have not harvested any honey from the hive as I felt the bees would need it over winter.
I’m feeling pretty stupid for having removed the flow frames in the first place and not just reducing down to one box. There was no honey in those Flow Frames I
removed and now I am aware (thanks to various posts) that I need to paint them with wax before replacing them in the hive. It has been too cool here to inspect the hive to date, somI am a bit fearful about what I might find!
Any suggestions would be MOST appreciated.


To clarify, what’s currently in your top box, 2 flow frames and nothing else? Or have you back filled the super with langstroth frames?


I’m sorry, this was confusing…yes I have langstroth frames also.


It’s not a terrible predicament. If you aren’t confident identifying the queen or can’t locate her you can use the presence of new eggs to give some indication of where she is in the hive. If there are no eggs/brood in your top frames and if all the new eggs are in a series of frames down the bottom, I’d place the excluder on, and check back in a few days to make sure there are no new eggs in your top Langstroth frames.

It will also help to get the current state on of your top box. Open it up and see if the frames have even been drawn out (may not be if they were added late), if they aren’t drawn it’s unlikely the queen is up there. If they have eggs or brood in them it will take more attention.

I guess what I am trying to say is, if you can’t find the queen, accidentally trapping her above the excluder for a few days when you put it back in isn’t a major issue, as long as you identify this and rectify it.

As for putting the flow frames back in, once you know the queen is happily below the excluder, pulling the langstroth frames and shaking the bees back into the box and replacing them with flow frames is fairly straightforward.

I’m sure others can add to this or provide alternate advice that is less convoluted!


I would just remove the flow frames and replace with normal frames and let this young hive build up. When they are filling the two boxes and there is a flow on I would put the QE on with the flow box on top.

It is not at all unexpected that there is nothing in your flow frames. Usually, the outer frames are the last filled.



Thanks Rob for taking the time to respond.


Many thanks RBK. That did not sound convoluted at all…but rather comforting to realise I can redeem the situation. I’m now really looking forward for a warm day so that I can see what’s happening in that wondrous box.


I also agree with Rob’s suggestion if you plan to run two brood boxes, just swap the flow frames out and back fill with langstroth and put the flow super back on too with the queen excluder at a later date.

Only issue I see with this is I am expecting that the top super is currently a flow box (with cutouts for flow frames), so it may not just be a simple case of back filling and adding another box as you need the current too box to put your flow frames in!


Thanks RBK.
Yes you are correct, the current top super is a flow box with the two flow frames on the outside of the langstroth frames. It’s still too cool to investigate, but I’m also concerned that the Queen may have used the flow frames for egg laying. Do you think this is likely??
Another concern is that I’m going on leave next week and will be away for a few weeks so will not be able to check the bees for the possibility of swarming preparation. So unless we have warm days between now and then, I will be worried throughout my leave of incurring the wrath of neighbours! We are coming into Spring here and I understand this is a potential hazard. The boxes are getting heavier and on a sunny day I can see the pollen going into the hive. Do you know RBK, how early in Spring they are likely to swarm?
Many thanks.:newspaper_roll:


They will swarm when food is coming in and they are crowded. Look at getting a standard box from your local supplier and swap out the flow box. Give them space early in spring to get up to strenght then put the flow super on later.



Thanks Rob. Weather forecast is promising for the next few days!!


Thanks for your questions as a new beekeeper every question asked brings more knowledge :slight_smile: I am sitting here learning about winter and not even knowing if we do anything here in Hawaii for winter . Temps do drop I think the lowest is 58 surely not hot but have a lot to learn about temperature and bees. Cant wait till the beekeeper meeting in Sept.


Uploading… I saw my bees on my new bee box outside gathering it was during the cooler part of eve. So I deduced they were not hot but my friend said they may be getting ready to leave so I added my flow brood. I still have to learn when to add my flow super.