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Flow frames still not full after 12 months

Hi there,

We live on the Central Coast of NSW and we’ve had our flow hive for just on 1 year now. During that time we have added a second flow hive. It been fantastic to compare and watch the two hives grow and develop.

What we have noticed is that the second hive which we installed around 6 months ago using a split from the original hive is way more productive then the original. We have harvested 2 frames from this hive to date. We have inspected the original hive on multiple occasions. Around 7 months ago, we noticed the bees were taking an interest in the flow super frames. During later inspections we saw the bees were filling up the super but not all the way to the back edge where the viewing window is. This honey is probably 7 months old now. During the last inspection, we moved 2 flow frames which had the most honey to the outside of the super in an effort to encourage more activity on the frames that had less honey. As you can see from the pics, we have capped honey on the end frames but it does not extend to the back viewing window which is why we haven’t harvested those frames.

Do you have any tips to encourage the bees to build out the honey to the back so we can realise some honey from this hive? Should we requeen? 12 months is a long time with no honey! When we do finally harvest the honey, will the honey be okay to eat given it has been in there for many months? Thank you in advance for your comments!

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Honey will keep for years if it is in an airtight container, Honey in capped comb in a hive will keep indefinitely.
If the split is more productive then re queening might be a good move after checking one hive against the other to compare the amount of brood. Two hives side by side can differ in the honey yield.
Some hives people are saying have gone as long as 18 months without enough honey in the super to extract but if you have reasonable rain fall and not in an area that bush fires have wiped out I would expect a fairly good honey yield.
Cheers

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We know the yields on the Central Coast can be high if you are in an area with substantial natural bush around. If one of hives is doing well and the other is not, sounds to me that you have a bee population issue. Does your queen have much room to lay across all brood frames, frames can be easily backfilled with honey and pollen which may not get cleaned out leaving less room for the queen to lay. Cycling old frames out and replacing with foundation is a good way to replenish the colony with new brood cells. Its not the best time of the year to be doing this now, but if you have a declining population you may need to consider this option. Alternatively, you could move capped brood from your successful hive to boost numbers.

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Great advice @Rodderick & @Peter48. I’ll complete a brood inspection on the weekend and check out how much space the queen has to lay. I’ll also look into if there are any queens available at this time of year considering we’re moving into the cooler months.

Thanks again!

I recently (February) tried all over Qld and NSW for a queen breeder but most haven’t made them because of the drought and bush fires so I made splits for the sole purpose to have my own hives produce more.
When you do your inspection look in the brood box for honey bound frames of honey and frames that are full of pollen. That can cut back on cells for the queen to use to lay eggs. During the drought up here my bees were bringing in heaps of pollen but no nectar. Some frames were full of pollen, apparently bees don’t know when enough is enough.
Cheers