I installed my flow frames over 48 hours ago and so far the bees are not even remotely interested in building or even walking on the flow frames. This is a two year old hive with two deep supers at least 90 % full or more so it’s not due to lack of strength but lack of interest. I was wondering if any other people where having problems or if there is a time frame in which they need to figure out what to do with them. Thanks for the help!
Hi @Aroux52, so far we have found that bees use the flow frames just as readily as other frames in the hive. Please keep us posted and let us know more about the species of bee and what area you live in. Have you put the flow super on top or just above the brood box?
Thanks for getting in contact with us and I look forward to hearing how things go. I’ll get in touch with Cedar & Stu and see if they have more to add.
Hi Alex, great to hear you have the frames in your Hive already! We have found great acceptance even when we mix the frames in a super (flow light), however we have always made sure there are plenty of bees to fill the Flow super. To speed things up, remove one of the other supers so the Flow super is then full of bees. We originally thought we would need to wax the flow frames for first time acceptance but haven’t found that necessary at all, as long as there is plenty of bees in the Flow super and there is some nectar coming in.
This is not necessary, but another thing we have experimented with in the past for a faster start is to give them some capings. You can put the capings on top of the flow frames, underneath, or press some into the flow combs. The bees will quite quickly re distribute the wax onto the Flow combs. (best not to use capings from another hive, in case of disease…)
Let us know how you go.
Thank you both so much for your quick and helpful reply. I love the product and am hoping to outfit all my hives with the flow frames in the future. I will try your recommendations and reply to let people know what worked! I just placed a piece of pollen patty on top of the frames to draw more bees up through the box yesterday, hopefully that works and it was just them being stubborn!
Hi Alex, in order for your bees to move up to the third super, the other 2 supers need to be in excess of 100%. If you have a good healthy queen & brood & at the right time of the season, your colonies population will grow into the flow hive in time.
How are your bees going? Have they moved into the flow super or have you shuffled the boxes around. I look forward to hearing more about your experiences with the Flow Hive.
I actually just looked for the first time a few hours ago. Many bees are in the super checking out the flow frames just like they normally would with regular frames, Still not building but very active. I am in the Midwest USA and we have had a record amount of rain in the last month. I checked some of my other hives with regular frames to compare their progress and it’s far below the average I expect to normally see. So I’m guessing it had nothing to do with the flow frames but Mother Nature. Thanks you for checking and I’m very excited to be one of the first to watch the flow frames in action!
Is it possible that there’s no nectar flow around this time of year? i don’t have the flow hive yet, but I’ve added supers with plastic foundation over a month ago, they barely worked them. I’m in Pennsylvania, we have some clovers left, that’s about it. With the rainy days that will slow them down for sure.
How did you go so far @Aroux52? Have your bees taken to the flow frames now?
With my flow hive, I noticed that the bees took a few weeks before they started to add nectar to the frames. They were busy exploring the flow frames and lining the cells with wax and seemed to want to line every single cell on the frame before putting in any nectar! But once every cell was lined, the nectar flow came in!
Have you harvested any honey yet?
How did that go?
my bees were in there like a shot…working away sealing the cracks… now that they honey is going in they are working around the tops building the wax…
Yeah, bit of an anti-climax, reading all the exciting lead up and then nothing. How’s the honey flowing ?
this is a shot I took about an hour ago from the end… I think I’ve had this hive with the bees in it for around 2 to 2.5 weeks
Nothing capped, then
I think you need another super on top
no, nothing capped yet but they are working on it… give it another week and we’ll see some capping action…
I don’t plan to put another super on… I can always drain some if it gets full
i’ll also have to be mindful of winter supplies
Why do you think it needs another super? Based on the picture I would have thought there was plenty of space for the bees to fill up. The flow super has no honey let alone completed wax lining around the cells.
I am also thinking that the flow hive is not just about a new way of honey harvesting but also makes it easy to manage bee space and thus a new tool in swarm control. You harvest a frame or two when all frames are full to create space. Or am I missing the picture?
It seems the bees prefer natural comb first and then when they are out of options they will use the plastic comb; at least based on the vids I’m seeing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BsQxqpsmbU
I think we need to rattle @Michael_Bush’s cage here…
My personal opinion is that space in the brood area has more influence on swarming behaviour than overall honey storage space does. In a traditional hive, if you don’t use a queen excluder, then what you say might be true if you are putting a traditional super on top. However, if you leave a queen excluder out of a Flow hive, the cells in the Flow super are too big for worker larvae - the queen can only lay drones in them. I hypothesize that this would not reduce the pressure to swarm in the same way as expanding the brood area can, but I don’t have any evidence yet. Fascinating stuff!
Dawn is right, swarming is mostly about the brood box, but being honey bound is a major contributor to swarming, so when you harvest a few frames from your Flow, lift it off and check your brood. If there are any honey only frames down there lift them up into a super to allow your brood nest to expand. You should only be doing this in the warmer months of course. During winter, a honey frame on either side of your brood helps insulate the bees and give them easy access to food when they need it.
In my yard, if I want a hive to swarm, I just add a queen excluder. I don’t usually use one but sometimes the ole’ girl goes egg laying crazy and will lay brood clear up into all 5 boxes. I exclude her down into the bottom 2-3 deeps and all of those hives issued multiple swarms. I caught a few of them and they are great hives coming into this Spring.