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Flow super filling with propolis

I put my Flow super on two stuffed deep boxes. The bees went up right away and I expected them to seal the cells with wax. However, there is no wax but lots of propolis sealing the cells. Is this a concern?

Hi Ken, yes - propolis in your Flow hive is no good. Dang, it’s a bummer but I think you should take the super off ASAP. Your colony may be booming, but they seem to know that the nectar flow is over or nearly so and are treating the Flow box as unwanted extra space by sealing off drafts. If too much propolis gets up in there you’ll have a tough time cleaning it, which you’ll have to do to unstick the works for next season.

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That happened to me in one of my frames. As it turned out, a small portion of the frame did not open into the normal cell formation and the bees trapped a few hive beetles in it. I took the frame apart and put the affected area in hot water with bleach. That was the only method I could think of to get the propolis off and it worked but it was slow going.

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Good to know that there is a way to clean them up! I will leave the supers on for a few more days to see what develops. We still have a strong nectar flow.

Darn! It is a mystery because the colony has filled 90% of the double deep brood boxes and our nectar flow is in full swing. Beekeeping is new to me so I will leave the supers on for a few more days of observation. Thanks for chiming in😊

If they are working the frames with nectar then leave it be. You can always clean it later. Some propolis is natural because the bees plug up air leaks. So make sure you can see the reason for the propolis.


“Some propolis is natural”. That has been my thinking but I hadn’t received confirmation from experienced bee keepers. Thank you! This is all a learning adventure for me so observing what the bees do in the Flow super is great first hand experience.

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If it is propolis and not bees wax it will make it really hard when it comes time to remove the honey. If the bees are not using the super for storing honey then I would remove it and clean with warm soapy water then rinse and store it away till next season.
My experience with propolis is that the bees use it to seal any gaps where a draft could be for example but I haven’t seen it used to seal the cells in a Flow Super.

ThanK you Peter48. The propolis deposits are at the very bottom of the Flow super cells. Mostly vertical and thin as a strand of hair. I don’t see buildup moving out towards the front of the cells.

I only observe through the “window”. I may pull some center frames to see whats up there.

Peak nectar flow now on white clover. Other stuff coming on. It is hard to imagine that colonies with stuffed deeps would treat flow supers as “too much space”.

So, I am observing for a few more days tosee what I can learn. Thanks to all for the comments.

Have you tried rubbing some wax on the Flow frames?


Yes, Eva, I had burr comb and rubbed a few chunks around with my hive tool. The next morning the bees were cleaning it up. That was a week ago.