Flow super removal?

Hi all, In the past few winters ( Melbourne Australia) so (no snow.) I have left my flow super on, unfortunately I have encountered mould build-up in the cells & frames etc from the winter months. On inspection I’ve noticed the hive stays in the brood box over winter so im assuming with the super empty the moisture build-up is what’s creating this mould problem. Im trying to make it easier for the hive by not having wasted space & also to avoid this mould problem by removing the super throughout the winter months. Question is, if I remove the super when is the best time ? Currently the super is full of honey ( It’s now almost end of summer here ) If I remove it prior to winter will the hive survive if they only have limited honey stocks in the brood box below ? (thinking they still have plenty of stock above ) Tiill its removed. Also will there be enough room in just the brood box alone for the hive? If I remove too early my concern is they may swarm due to not enough space. Hoping there is an easier solution to this problem as it’s very difficult to clean the mould from the flow frames without pullingthem apart. Plus it’s probably not something the bee’s should be having to do. Has anyone had this problem & found an answer ? Cheers

Hi Mark, a great video on youtube to watch is “City of the Bees”. Some of your questions are answered in that video. As the population decreases during the onset of winter, they will replace the brood with honey, so therefore the reduced population should have enough honey in the brood box to carry them over winter.

Sometimes in my sub-tropical winters, I’ll find up to 3 full frames of honey, not to mention decent honey arcs above the brood in the remaining frames in the brood box.

I think that a good time to remove the flow super would be at the start of winter, or sooner if wet weather appears.

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You can harvest the honey in the flow frames and then give the bees a day to clean them up.

Ask around if you’re not sure, but a good time to remove it would be just prior to the nectar flow being over for the year, although, in your climate there maybe some nectar flow year round.

If there are nectar flows year round then you don’t need to worry much about the bees running out of food for the winter.

If there is a prolonged dearth in the winter then you could make an assessment before the average temperature gets below about 10°C about whether to feed the colony to help them get through.

There is certainly enough space in a single brood box for them to get through - I over winter my colonies in singles when there is nothing for 5-6 months.


Thanks Jeff, yes i guess its all about the timing, not too early & not too late. As the winter approaches they’ll have alot less resources available I guess so im thinking maybe the last month of Autumn maybe suitable. I’ll check out the City of Bees too. Thanks again Jeff :+1:

Thanks for that, yes I guess I could feed them if need be, thats a good point. I’m thinking of removing the flow super in late Autumn now, should be safe that they won’t be too crowded or swarm by then as the weather will be getting colder. Thanks again :ok_hand:

We have expanded our cleaning information here too.

For mould there is some discussion here too.

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Do you shake the bees off each frame into the brood box?

Yes we will be doing that pre winter