Hi Fiona, Let me get us both on the same path, A brood box is anything below the queen excluder(QX) and any box above it is a super, be it a Flow Super or a langstroth(conventional) super. So what you are saying here is that you have a single brood box, the Flow super and a conventional super above that. And that now you are reduced down to the Flow super.
I know the Parramatta area a bit and from memory it is very much built with flats and units and short on open space.
You have done the right thing by removing the 2nd super. Foraging flights for nectar and pollen could be to the flying range of a bee, your area is heavy in concrete and short on shrubs and trees that flower. For that reason a 2nd super will be a ‘bridge too far’. You will find that the Flow Super will be where the honey goes now simply because that is the bees only choice for storing excess honey. The last frames to be capped will be the outer frames if the bees do what is normal, but sometimes bees will change the rules of the game just to frustrate you.
Worker bees normally store honey in a super as they would in a brood box with a new frame, the top corners and down the sides; but nobody told them what the QX is for so they leave the middle are for the queen to lay in, which she can’t do, so it is the last area to be used for honey storage and to be capped. Herein lies a dilemma, Flow doesn’t say to remove the flow frames to be sure it is ready to extract or should you assume from the viewing windows it is ready. From my experience I remove each Flow Frame in turn at least a day, preferably two days, before the day of extraction and do an eyeball check that at least 80% of the cells are capped, further you can hold a frame horizontally and give it an up and down jerk to see if any honey come out, if that happens the honey that is uncapped is not ripe so I would not extract that frame. It might be right in a week or two but not now.
The result of extracting unripe honey is that it will ferment and spoil and ruin the rest of the honey it comes in contact with.
Re the bigger honey yield on the farm, that is to be expected, there is more to forage on and it is closer to the hive so the bees will do many more flights to a tree in flower in a day so they will bring in more nectar.
Make sure the hive at home has a supply of water for the bees to drink and to cool the hive in the hot weather especially, a shallow tray with twigs, corks, stones is needed, anything the bees can land on to get a drink of water, any open space of water is a place they could land on and drown, so the more floating landing places the better…