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Flow Hive Empty

Hi there,

I’m located in Northern California and for the past two years I have struggled to get bees into the flow hive. The first year was great and I was able to get honey from the super. The past two years, however, the bees do not want to seem to go up to the flow hive. I have two brood boxes, both of which seem to be full of brood and honey. I smeared bees wax onto the cells of the flow hive and I removed the queen excluder. I also tried to spray sugar water onto the cells of the flow hive which caused some bees to go up and eat the sugar but they didn’t stay. I checked again today and there are maybe only 2 dozen bees within the flow hive and no comb drawn.

I am open to any suggestions! Thank you in advance for your help!

Hey @Krug, only thing I can think is that there isn’t enough of a nectar flow on and perhaps your colony is slowing down production. What do the locals say about flow vs dearth timing in your area?

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Ok, I’m confused, (Not unusual) so the bees have drawn out the comb the first year and you were able to harvest then the following year then the Fframes should have already been drawn so rubbing wax and spraying sugar water would have little to no effect.
As Eva says it’s likely there’s no surplus for the super. Sometimes you will get years like that, each year varies.
Is it common in your area to have 2 brood boxes and when you originally harvested were there 2 brood boxes at the time?

Hi Eva,

Thank you! I have been thinking about that too. Just confused because I put the honey super on about 8 weeks ago and I would have thought there would some activity.

Hi Skeggley,

I should have been more detailed! So the first year we had the flow hive, it was full with capped honey. There really wasn’t drawn comb in the flow hive through the frames however. We left the flow hive on after harvest for a bit for the bees to clean up that year. We did have two brood boxes full at the time. We failed in treating for varroa and our hive didn’t make it through the winter.

Then Spring of 2019, we obtained another hive and gradually worked them to two brood boxes. We put the flow hive on in late summer because they were bursting at the seams in their two boxes, however they didn’t go into the flow hive and honestly we were too concerned because it was later in the year and they were a new hive.

This year we put the honey super on in the beginning of May. The hive really looked good with full brood boxes. We had fed a bit over the winter to support them and also had given a pollen patty in early Spring. They have no interest in entering the flow hive now.

I have read a bit about putting a full frame into the flow hive to get them established up there and maybe we should do that?

Thank you for any assistance!

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Huh, a head-scratcher then…colony’s been strong, frames were ready, super timing was good. Yes I’ve heard of putting a honey frame up there, and was it you @Dawn_SD who mentioned another box on top of the Flow super to draw more bees upwards?? Never tried either of these myself so hopefully more peeps will post…

Not me. I only use another box on top of the Flow super to get them to cap it a bit faster if needed. I speculate that the nectar flow is probably almost done in NorCal. It certainly is down here in SoCal. In fact it has been a dismal season for honey. I have been feeding for the last 2 months. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Oh too bad! Yep I guess the bees know what they’re doing then.

So if I put on the spare medium with empty frames I have, would that help them cap my endlessly-nearly full Flow frames??

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For me it works, yes. Especially when there is a heavy flow and high humidity. I think the extra space helps them with airflow to dry the honey. Usually gets them capping it in a week or two. Make sure that you put the medium on top of the Flow super - you want the humid air to rise away from the Flow frames.

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Perfect, thanks buddy :raised_hands::kissing_heart:

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Hi mate, have you physically checked the Centre Fframes in the super?
As previously mentioned sometimes there is no surplus for the super. Going from my limited experience there are many factors which may contribute to this. Flow, it doesn’t sound good in the lower part of your state as Dawn says they are feeding during the normal flow season. What’s the word on the street in your area?
I have 4 colony’s, each from a different source, each has different traits, my worst producer last year was the best producer this year. If this had been my only colony then I’d have been asking the same questions as you.
Unfortunately regardless of what you do if your bees don’t have surplus then neither do you.
Keep the colony going through winter, keep those pesky mites in check and next season you may find you get rewarded by your bees. :+1:


Hi Krug,

Can you explain what you mean by the following you’ve stated:

Flow Hive full of capped honey first year then not much drawn comb in the flow hive through the frames

Im a bit puzzled with that comment. Capped honey should be in fully drawn frames.