I have a flow hive that I bought last summer and even though it was late in the season I was blessed with 8kg of liquid gold before going into winter. I did an inspection last week and the bees looked very healthy and the colony very strong. So I waited for a bout of bad weather to pass and I added a flow super a few days ago.
As I decided to increase the number of hives this spring, I put one flow frame used last season and the rest are new ones on which I spread beeswax in order to encourage them to move up.
There seems to be very little interest by the bees to move into the flow super even though the brood box is exploding with bees. There are no signs of swarming…yet. .Any suggestions???
Taradale, Victoria, Australia
The only suggestion I would have is to remove the 2 middle Flow frames. Then move the 2 brood frames with the most sealed brood in their place. Replace them with fresh foundation frames, possibly on the outside, seeing as your nights are probably still cold. You can move the Flow frames closer to the 2 brood frames, which leaves a gap on both sides. This is only temporary until the brood emerges before the bees replace it with honey. After that you can harvest the honey, then return the 2 Flow frames to the sides, while moving the two Flow frames adjacent to the regular frames together. By that time, the bees will be well & truly into the flow frames.
What signs of swarming are you looking for?
Did your bees have access to the roof before you added the Flow super? To me that would be a good guide that bees are ready for a honey super, when they start to populate into the roof cavity.
Thank you Jeff
Your comments make me happy because I was thinking along the same lines (I thought of moving just one frame), but I thought it would be best to ask first.
The bees were in the roof when I put the super on and I left them there so they had to track all the way back to the brood box. There were not huge amounts of bees in it
I think they are crowded but I didn’t find any queen cups in any frame (went though all of them making the bees move away the bottom edge of the frames). There was some space for the queen to lay but most cells have eggs, larvae and capped brood. What I also found that there is a fair bit of capped honey in the brood box (I’d say 40%?). I broke the capping in some areas around the brood to see whether the bees move the honey up to the super. The two outer frames are full of capped honey, tons of pollen and a little bit of brood. They went through a very rainy winter and they came out of it so strong. I’m rather amazed.
Please let me know your thoughts.
just be aware the bees will never put one drop of honey into any type of frame until they have a surplus.
Thank you Jack
May be I just have to be a bit more patient.
These bees are great and I really don’t want them to swarm.
keep inspecting throughout swarm season and you should know if they are planning to swarm before they do. Give them space, harvest honey if it’s ready. It’s impossible to stop all swarms but swarming can be reduced by perhaps 80% with good management.