Got a surprise today

After 3 yrs working with this hive my bees have taken to the flow frames. Soooo happy.


That is such a long time to wait for the bees to show interest in needing more space for storing honey in the super. Hope fully the colony will build up to be strong enough to move forward.
Wondering where you live if that may be a climate reason why it has taken so long - that is not ‘normal’ to take that time. Maybe update you profile.


That’s awesome @Shawn_Sullivan, congrats :heart_eyes::raised_hands:!! My first Flow harvest was in my third season too - after my second season colony got it waxed up for them. I figure the chance of a new beekeeper, starting new colonies and getting decent Flow activity in their first season is pretty low, unless they’re in an area where there’s no nectar dearth or it’s very brief. So, it makes it all the more exciting and rewarding when you finally see that lovely capped honey in your Flow frames! And anyway, what’s normal for Peter is a whole other discussion we won’t go into :wink::joy::+1:

But please do tell us where you’re located, and that way any advice you might need will be on target for your climate :cherry_blossom::honeybee::earth_americas:


Congratulations @Shawn_Sullivan.
Someday hopefully I will be shouting from the rooftops. This coming October will make two years of wistfully looking at the flow frames!

Hey mate, if your bees are not using the super it might be a good move to remove it for a couple of months so that the hive will be warmer so the colony will think it Summer coming quicker and so the queen will lay more eggs. Maybe you fell into the trap of adding the super too early before the colony built up in numbers. Doing that will slow down the build up of the colony - just a thought.
Did you wax the plastic comb in the Super before you put it on?


Wet and cold here in Adelaide should I be opening up the hive?
Waxed it a few times over the months. As you suggested before it must be the queen and wait for it to warm up before I try anything. Perhaps even do a split.

I’m wondering about the hive being strong enough to justify the Super being on the hive. With the wet and cold at the moment you are having I would leave everything as it is for now. Opening up the hive will make more problems, so hold off till you have a fine warm day of at least 23C and next to no wind around the hive and do an inspection then.
If you have bees working in the super when you do an inspection then leave it on the hive, but I really suspect the super went on too soon before the colony was strong and needed the super for space to store the honey, it is a mistake lots make and holds back the hive from building up quickly.
Ideally a super is not needed till 80% of all the cells of the brood box is in use for brood and stores. Lifting up a brood frame it is about 70% covered with bees. Bees do best in what we call a very dense living conditions. Food for thought.


Thanks Peter. Will follow your advice and wait for warmer days.

Hi Peter, could you tell me what are these gray fluff like balls I see on the cor flute. Is it something ominous?

Iam no expert but could it be mouldy pollen balls?

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I’m kind of thinking it could be moldy chalk brood mummies. There appears to be a couple of other chalk brood mummies in the photo.

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Thanks Jeff. Is there anything I can do or should be doing to prevent chalkbrood.

I’m thinking along with JeffH on it being moldy brood mummies, possibly from high humidity and cold weather, but it should stop completely with warmer weather.
Balancing hive insulation and good ventilation is a real juggling act and all credit to the bees for for coping with the varying conditions. My thoughts is a few mummies in a hive is nothing to get excited about, none would be perfect, but a few is ok.
This past season has been far from normal so maybe thinking about things if the climate changes hit us again regularly is not a bad thing but for me I won’t be doing anything dramatic. I got hit a lot harder than @JeffH who is only 18 klms away so I think micro climate differences came into it. Jeff had a reduction in excess honey while all of my hives came thru on their stored honey reserves. I’m back to extracting for the past month which is normal for my conditions.
Cheers mate.


definately chalkbrood. There was a lot of that all over SA this season- I saw it in some hives coming out of last winter but it cleared up over spring and summer. The best thing you can do to deal with it is to try and manage the hive in such a way that it gets as strong as possible. It tens to go away when a hive is at full strength.

Do you still have the flow super on over the winter? We have taken to removing ours now here in adelaide as they don’t do the bees any favors over our winters. You won’t get much if any honey stored in them- and if there is any honey in them it can candy casuing some issues. If you still have it on- I would consider removing it- and we currently have been having soem warmish sunny days that would be a good time to do that. If it is completely empty- then 100% it should be removed. Otherwise it will make it hard for the bees to keep warm and defend themsleves. Also the flow frames may become blackened from mold.

@eva I really think the issue of hives filling frames is totally related to individual colonies and where you are. We have 6 flow hives in or family and we have gotten honey from them all in the first season. I think in many cases where soemone hasn’t gotten any honey in a flow hive- they wouldn’t have gotten any (or much) using a traditional super either. For whatever reason the colonies are not strong enough to create a surplus- or there is no strong flow avialable for them. It is quite common for standard beehives to also fail to be productive at certian locations for years in a rowme

It’s going to happen! I’m in my third season and finally had the harvest of a lifetime. The bees, when all conditions are right (numbers, nectar flow, no diseases or pests) will use the flow super.


it looks like mold on some dropped pollen to me.

Really happy for you that it has finally come good for you, after all the set backs you deserved a break. :wine_glass::+1::upside_down_face:

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Yes I have the flow super on. There’s nothing in there although some bees are visible in the middle two frames. They just go in and out of the cells and that’s about it. They’ve been doing that for the past 20 months!

Today was a reasonable warm day which I could have used to get the super off unfortunately I was out of town.
When I do remove the super do I

  1. Place the top board with the hole over the QX and then fit the roof.
    2 Remove the QX, place the top board and fit the roof.
    Much appreciated.

By golly Peter! You do have them lined up like a regiment!

That frame of honey looks superb.


Hi Martha, I’m hoping this Chrstmas I can place a jar of honey for Father Christmas!

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