Flow Installation strategy - suggestions please

Hey all,

Just after some suggestions / views on my plan as a second year suburban beekeeper with a shiny new full flow and box.

I’m based in Melbourne, Australia and my bees have survived winter and are busy out in the wild. Hooray, I did not kill them all! Over winter they have been living in their brood with a single level of super on top.

It’s a lovely weekend hopefully coming, so I plan to install my new honeyflow. I was thinking about this approach, what does everyone think?

  1. Raise the queen excluder up one level to take over the old super (non-flow). This gives the queen more space and should help to avoid swarming.
  2. Pop the new flow on top of the super, making the entire hive 3 level + the roof.

This way the bees have more space, and I exclusively extract from the flow which I’m happy with in terms of yield.

Then towards the end of the season, I will look to potentially remove the midlevel brood and drop the flow box down. Leaving less space for brood, but honey for winter feeding.

Does this make sense? Or is it just rambling nonsense? In terms of high and shelter from wind it should be fine, and I can always strap the hive together for extra stability.


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There is much debate on the use of a single or double brood box, if using a single then you will need to exercise spring management by manipulating some brood frames on a regular basis to keep enough space for your queen, with the double brood box this is not so much an issue. I think your approach to moving the excluder up is sound. Are you planning to also take some of the honey frames in your second box or leave this for the bees? Take note that your bees will most likely not enter the Flow box unless the two bottom boxes are full. For winter as you have suggested reduce your brood to a single box, move the excluder down and place a hive mat on top of the brood chamber to keep the warmth in and prevent any moisture dripping down onto the bees and chilling the brood. I get a lot of moisture in my hives and have installed a Warre’ style quilt on top of the hive for additional insulation, you don’t want moisture and mold in the flow frames.

Thanks! I will have to take a look in the super and confirm the honey levels. Last week there was no more than a frame stored. I see you point, the bees won’t more up to the flow if they don’t have to, rather I guess they will just store honey in the extended brood? Or am I missing something?

I think you have it in a nutshell. I keep the bees compacted into 1 box and regularly (every 2-3 weeks) move any full honey frames up into the super and replace those frames with drawn comb or foundation. This way, there is always space being created for the queen to lay during the spring build up. My climate is mild, which helps and being in an urban environment means there is always forage so I am harvesting all year round (except June-August). If you get a strong nectar flow, then your bees will fill the Flow frames but if not then it may take some time for that 2nd brood box to fill before they go up to the 3rd (Flow) box.

Thanks, then perhaps the approach is two levels, just the brood and flow box.

Another question, what would I do in which case with any full frames in my existing super? Just harvest them and replace with an empty flow box.

You could harvest them or store in the freezer/fridge as additional stores for winter. Or you could take the 2nd super and swap with the Flow box (basically you would be under-supering the Flow box) but be careful that brood and pollen are not in the super being placed at the top as they will most likely not survive and the pollen should be located close to the brood. If there is too much brood in the 2nd super, then just leave them the way it is, its just not worth the effort and worry.

I would also leave two brood boxes. This is not only advantageous for the bees, but also a good foundation in case you want to split. In the winter, especially if it is a harsh one, you might want to remove the queel exlcuder fom the top (Flow Hive ) too, because the bees will ball and star consuming the honey from the bottom up. Once they consume all in the two broodboxes, they will move to the Flow Hive. If your queed excluder is set, they will leave the queen behind and she could freeze to death. Of course that only happens in real cold weather with ling winters. I live in Houston and the bees practically forage all year long.

Two brood boxes is a sound idea. If it were in my apiary I would leave the excluder off until I saw the bees storing nectar in the flow super. Sometimes bees ignore an undrawn box above an excluder. Either way you do it keep us posted on the progress.

You might find this topic interesting :slight_smile:


Hi everyone, thanks for all the suggestions.

So we took a look today, the queen seem to be laying well in the hive but it’s not filled up yet. We ended up replacing a frame earlier in spring and that one has not been touched yet.

The super on top has about 2 full frames and steady progress on the remaining 6. We’ve decided to give the brood some extra space and opt for putting the flow at the very top. So far I’ve seen 1 bee in it! I will update this thread on progress.

And some pictures here at our blog

http://lornestreetgarden.com/ not the best of pictures mind you.