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Getting bees out of Flow frame box (for winter storage)


As we head into September I am getting ready to harvest honey from my Flow hive. I have 2 brood boxes and the Flow hive frames are in a third box on top. I will overwinter the bees in the two brood boxes only and plan on taking off the top box with the Flow hive frames. My question is after harvesting the honey from the flow frames how do a get the bees out of the Flow frame box and into the 2 bottom brood boxes?


Just shake the frames over the brood box.
Alternatively leave the whole Flow Super a few feet away from the hive. Put the top cover and roof back on the hive and the bees will return to the hive and clean out any residual honey at the same time.
Just be aware it may attract other bees (and their diseases if they have any) if left for more than 1 or 2 days


I will probably get howled down but as you have only one hive I would put the flow frames in their box near to the hive and put a weather proof cover over it and plenty of room for the bees to come into the bottom of the box, the bees will clean it up and leave it dry within a couple of days. When the activity has stopped put the complete box in a plastic bag and tape it closed.
If SHB or wax moth is of concern you could freeze the frames for a couple of days and scorch out the box. Much the same answer as @busso


Curious ! What’s your temperature down there ? How busy are your bees (active. busy, inactive) ?! If you were up here … in Washington state our temps are dropping near upper 40’s at night. Days are cooling too.

Up here I’d just harvest … pull off n set near the front of your hive. The colony will clean up n extra bees :honeybee: will move back to the two boxes no problem. I’ll be doing that soon. That’s my plan. It worked last year so should be okay this autumn 2018 now.

Your temps n flowers down there I’m guess are a little diff so some time n harvest adjustments might be proper in Missouri ! Good luck :four_leaf_clover:!




shaking the bees off works fine- a bee brush is also handy to encourage those ones that cling on tighter.

You can also get a thing called an ‘escape board’- which you place between the flow box and the brood boxes- the bees can exit the top box but they can’t get back up. You put one of these on and come back in a day or three and remove the box. By that time there will only be a few bees left upstairs.


My brother only has one hive and a few months back he put out a flow box like that- within minutes there was a massive robbing situation- with bees from some other hive descending on mass. He had to quickly act to get things settled down. He has light yellow italian bees and the robbers were darker so it was easy to see what was going on.


I put wets above an inner cover. The bees don’t seem to recognise that as their hive and rob it out. You can remove the boxes a few days later and they are cleaned up.



Was the “massive robbing situation” with bees cleaning out the frames he wanted cleaning up or were the bees robbing his hive?

i am aware that robbing of one hive robbing the honey from a second hive can happen. When I take a few boxes of stickies back to my apiary by the time I get to the hive with the last box there is heaps of bees all over the stickies but I can’t say that any further robbing happens, it all returns to normal, I haven’t regarded that as robbing.
Regards Jack


They started on the frames but were soon attacking the hive- leading to lots of fighting. And the attack was full scale and mobilized in minutes. It was in autumn and perhaps the attackers were extra hungry with no flowers around. I guess this type of attack is far more likely during a dearth. Why rob when you can get it for free?


Yes, I can see that during a dearth when the hives are under a lot of stress.


Harvest and place the super ABOVE the inner cover and under the top cover. The bees will clean it up and move any residual honey to the brood nest and they’ll continue protecting it from pests.


Clearer or escape board. Done and dusted overnight.


Last year after harvest in mid-Sept (Missouri) I left the Flow super in place with open cells. The bees cleaned up the frames in a couple of days. Then I removed super, closed the cells on the Flow frames and inspected them before storing in plastic bag. Bees cleaned the frames beautifully.


Where are you in Missouri? So you left the Flow super on top of the brood boxes with the cells open and the bees cleaned everything up? That sounds like an interesting option.


Near Columbia. Just left the frames in place with cells in the “harvest” position. Afterwards, I pulled the whole super off and checked the frames. SHB really like to hide in the empty frames so be on the lookout for them. If there are any bees in the super set it aside and the bees will find their way home.


Jack, I do agree. Things can go bad quickly … maybe I’ve just been lucky :four_leaf_clover:… I set the harvested super off a distance n let the bees clean up then set out behind my woooshop for winter storage … it getting cooler up here … in the cool
Wx I have cleanup crews but no robbing ! If it were warmer robbing could be an issue possible problem here too … each local n Wx situation must be considered a bit differently !

With our cooler lows upper 40’s n low 50’s F … I’ll just set frames out for the bees to clean up … I’ve inspected all my colonies for winter supplies n hive strength… I’ll see if I pull it off again (3rd season) without issues. Different strokes for different folks.

Cheers :beers:,


I do much the same as you do Gerald, by the time I take stickies back to the apiary the bees find them. I see it as opportunistic foraging and not seen robbing of hives, maybe that would happen if that was done during a dearth; but then again I wouldn’t be harvesting in a dearth either.
I think it would have more to do with a lack of nectar flow rather than temperature if robbing did occur.


If you are going to leave them in the open for all bees to clean up make sure they are well away from your hives so robbing does not become an issue.



Hi Gerald,
Did you get to harvest any honey this year?


Is this a board that covers the top of the brood box? Could I use the white bottom board?

Just leave the roof off the flow box frames?