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Flow 2 Inner West, Sydney


Normal. They are orientating (my husband says “orienteering”, but he is a bit dyslexic :wink: ).

You must have filmed between 1 and 4pm, because that is when they do it most. :blush:


I also agree, leave the super on, they are doing a wonderful job. :smile:


i love that they’re so like clockwork. Thanks for that!!


The extra bee activity is newly emerged bees orientating and doing cleansing flights (bees don’t crap in their house). Note that they are flying around in the immediate area at front and around the hive, they were just getting to know the lay of the land. As the hive builds you will see more of this happening.
When the hive has really built out and on a hot day/night you will find them clustering outside the entrance, this is to allow the temperature to lower inside the hive. In a few weeks you might well see the same or even more activity at the entrance from first light till just on dark.
A tip for you, remember bees need a water supply, a pot plant overflow tray filled with graver that the bees can land on to take a drink and in hot weather they use water to air condition the hive.
Your getting hands on experience, when you do an inspection use all your senses, not just your eyes. Listen for the guard bees loud buzzing but if the whole hive is antsy and loud it can be the result of it being queenless. The hive should smell sweet and of honey. Squash SHB as you find them. Areas of ‘cotton wool’ on a frame is wax moth. Work confidently and don’t panic.
Cheers Robert :wink:


@Ropate, did your bees draw the comb in the photos? It’s just that there aren’t many bees in the photos.
Is the entrance reduced?


If you go back to the photos Skegs and read the text and re-look at the photos the penny will drop mate that they are pics of the Flow Frames. :face_with_raised_eyebrow::thinking:


thanks for that Peter. Yes, they have a pot filled with water and corks next to them. The neighbour also has a bird bath which i’m assuming they’ve spotted over the wall on one of their flights. I put this out straight away so they had an easy and close water supply as i didn’t want them drowning in it.

I’ll be doing the inspection tomorrow or possibly today in the evening if time permits. Shall be all on with senses! :slight_smile:


hey skeggly, the comb in the photos is the flow frame completed by them and being filled. and you’re right there aren’t many, while i did get a functioning hive and 6 full brood frames they are still building out the remaining 2. Or at least i hope so and will check in the inspection today or tomorrow. That comb is on a flow frame transferred by the bee seller from their last hive. they had already been working on it and he gave it to me to get them started.

The entrance is reduced by 75% using a piece of bamboo stick at the exact right size and held in place.


Yeah I got that Peter I read the thread, they still need drawing out though Fframe or not… When I have added a super there are bees all over the frames (in the super :wink:) the next day and there would had to have been numbers to have drawn it out in the first place… Which it wasn’t.
My point was that it is too early to have the super on. There are not enough bees. The activity around the entrance may have been robbers hence the reducer question. Perhaps Ropates bees ‘working the frames’ is the bees just using the stores.

@Ropate, having too few bees can cause the colony set back with them having to protect and keep their brood warm with all the extra space above, heat rising and all. Generally the outside frames in the brood box are honey frames used for insulation. Bees need something like 8kg honey to make 1kg wax so as they are still drawing the brood frames it’s unlikely they are filling the Fframes, they are probably using the honey in the donated Fframe. Is your mentor repossessing that frame once the numbers have built? I’m surprised your mentor said it was good to put on the super with frames still being built out in the brood but each to their own I 'spose.
Good luck.


Noted Skeggly. I’ll do the hive inspection today in that case to see how they’ve gone with the 2 new frames. And in fact, they cleared out the honey pretty quickly when it first went on and I think they are refilling it now given there seems to be a flow.

But I don’t want the colony to be set back. So will have a look and likely take off the super. Which then raises the point, how do I store the partially filled frame?


Why do you want to store it? To give back to your mentor? If so, I would ask if you can wait for it to be capped, then drain it and give it back. :blush:

If it is just to take off the super, I would drain it in place on the hive (open in 20% sections every 5 mins, because uncapped honey can leak quite a bit - if the bees beard, stop and continue another day). Keep the honey in the freezer and give it back to the bees when you want to feed them.


@Ropate In a flow Frame Super the bees only seal the joins in the cells. The cells are already there in manufacture so there is no drawing out of the frames.
I agree he fitted the super too early but that has been done and as he has said the bees are storing honey in the Super, and from memory, he said he had taken the bees off the frame for the photo, I wish he hadn’t, but hey, Robert is a newbie and hadn’t realized the importance of a photo ‘ah la natural as it is’.
I worked out your thinking that robbing could be a possible but I discounted that as Robert is very observant, but not sure of what he is seeing, but asks for opinions. I thought it much more likely he was seeing newly emerged bees doing cleansing and orientation flights. He didn’t say he found dead bees at the entrance or anything that indicated robbing.
When we read of his first full inspection over this weekend we will have a much better picture, and a pic showing a frame as it is when lifted out of the brood.


With due respect Peter the Fframes are not fully formed and must be drawn out so the cells are flush before capping. :wink:

Your wish came true.


yep, just so i can reduce to the brood box till i have more in the colony. :slight_smile: That is, if i need to.

Does honey normally need to be frozen? i thought i could keep it in cupboards!?

actually, no… that was taken through the window of the super.

definitely wasn’t robbing. not enough bees at the entrance, so i think you were right with the orientating.

inspection tomorrow morning and will post pics


No it doesn’t, but honey isn’t normally harvested before it is capped. Most beekeepers try very hard only to harvest capped honey, because you can be pretty certain it is ripe (dried enough to store long term). If it is not capped, chances are higher that is may contain more than 18.6% water. Wet honey can ferment and spoil, but it is fine if you freeze it. I test all of mine with a honey refractometer (you can get one for about $40 on eBay or Amazon). If is more than 18% water, I freeze it and never sell it. Either the bees get it back when they need feeding, or I use myself, knowing it won’t keep.

By the way, frozen honey will not crystallize. If you leave it at room temp, most honey crystallizes over a few months. If you put it in the fridge, it sets even faster. Weird physics and chemistry in honey! :wink:


right, hive inspection done… fascinating experience and slightly intimidating but completed with only 2 burns from the smoker. :slight_smile:

I’ve removed the flow super for now, the frame that was started already is now as below (taken after it was removed and the hive closed up), getting fuller, but not a huge amount of bee activity on it this morning. seemed quite busy last night when i checked through the window though.

no evidence of SHB in the frames that i saw, but this was in the tray, and a silverfish looking bug in the lid.

as for the frames, the 2 which were new are still completely untouched. Of the 6 fully formed frames with comb, 4 were very busy and 2 were only half covered with bees, but had alot of full cells. One in particular was built out quite thick (pic below) which was pushing into other frames, is that a problem?

here are a few of the shots from the others. Lots of honey, not much pollen that i could see despite the entrance being busy all week with pollen laden ladies.

And a couple frames fairly quiet.

lots of very large larvae and capped brood cells.

so, the super is off, should i keep it off and extract the honey thats in it to freeze and feed back to them? feed it back to them now? or put it back on?

Sorry for the super LONG post and photo overload, but appreciate any and all feedback/advice


Thanks for the feedback and really good pics Robert. It is not an issue that the bees have built out the comb, they know to leave enough gap to work on the frame. Nice to see new larvae and capped brood. Now you have removed the Super and the bees are bring in nectar as seen in the pics I would extract the frames of the Super and feed it back to the colony.
I am happy to see one in 20 bees bringing in pollen but at the end of Spring, start of Summer, there can be some bounce in the flow of Nectar and pollen.
It is nice to look through the window to see the bees working on a frame but you can’t beat pulling the frames a day or two before you plan to extract to decide which frames are ripe and ready.


Great photos. That black thing in the photo that ends 947.jpg looks suspiciously like a dead SHB, but no worries, they are everywhere.

It doesn’t like you have a huge number of bees in there. I would leave it off for now. If you are going to put it back on in 1-2 weeks, you don’t need to do any fancy freezing stuff. From the state of the frames I would guess you may be able to do that, if they all look the same.


Thanks for all the advice, extracting whats in the frame and will wait for a few weeks.

ok, its next to the empty frame so thought they may have assumed they’d have more space given it has nothing

:slight_smile: - and yes, a load of gum (not entirely sure) trees at the Sydney Uni grounds and in the streets around us have burst into bloom. Now all the pollen coming in is much lighter, almost white. But alot of it.

i thought as much. C’est la vie.

no, all others are empty but they have started completing some of the cells in other ones. They can get back to it in a couple weeks!

How does one do that exactly?


To answer feeding extracted honey back to the bees there is many ways to do it. You could put in on a saucer or plate a mm thick and place that on top of the brood box frames and put a super box over it with a lid on top so that it doesn’t cause any robbing from nearby hives. Reload the plate when it is cleaned of honey. Any deeper and bees could drown in the honey.
You could also mix the honey with water and cut a hand towel to fit the plate and the bees can walk on the toweling so more can feed at the same time. I have done both methods and it is the easiest and cheapest I have come up with.

As these are frames the bees are building out for brood they will only make the cells deep enough for that purpose, they know the depth from their natural instinct.