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Help-No activity in the flow super!

I had set up my flow super on top of the brood box once the brood box was more than 80% full and very happily occupied, however, the bees have not moved up and after more than 6 weeks and I have again removed it. It was removed because it was VERY wet inside the box and the flow frames were affected by condensation. I am drying out everything but is this normal? What can I do to encourage the bees to start making honey in the flow frames? Any other tips for this novice?? Thanks!

I’ve been told you can spray the flow frames with water/honey mix at 1:1 ratio to encourage them - be sure to use only honey from your own hives.

You can also encourage them up by melting down some wax from your hive and lightly brushing it onto the flow frames.

That condensation does sound concerning though. Are the boxes getting enough sun? How is ventilation?

I’ve seen be keeper videos where the scrap the excess propolis of the top of the brood frames and rub it on the flow frames to encourage them to work use the flow frames. I watch a lot of Fredrick dun on YouTube, really informative.

Melt wax in a pan and then roll it on to the frames with a small good quality close weave roller.

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!

It isn’t frequent, but if you have a heavy nectar flow and high humidity, it can happen. In that situation, I would suggest putting another box on top of the Flow super if you have one. A medium super with frames of foundation creates a bit more “head space” and helps reduce the humidity in the hive. I think @Eva has had some success with this too.

I wouldn’t do that, and I think that Flow also has the same opinion. Is that true @Freebee2 and @Bianca? What I do is take a bit of burr comb from inside the hive during an inspection - just the extra stuff that bees seem to make bridges and joins with. I then use the hive tool to spread that onto the frame faces very gently, like spreading peanut butter onto toast. You don’t need a lot, a few dabs will do. The wax has footprint pheromone in it, which tells the bees that this is part of the hive too. Brushing or rolling melted wax on works too, but the burr comb is much easier and works very well. Don’t worry about the mess or blocking cells with it, the bees clean it up very quickly.

Please ask more questions if any of this isn’t clear. :blush:

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Hi Bob, that would have been burr comb, which is primarily made of wax.

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Hi Dawn,

Thanks, yes we recommend using a small piece of burr comb, as you’ve suggested.

The most important tip for getting your bees to take readily to the super is to wait until your brood box is well established and heaving with bees before adding your super… it’s easy to get a bit excited and add the super too early :slight_smile:

Feel free to email info@honeyflow.com if you have any trouble so we can help.

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Hi @wendyjoy, welcome to the Flow Forum!

Generally speaking, the bees will only start working on the Flow Frames once they’re reaching capacity in the brood box and there is nectar flow available to store a surplus in the super. If you inspect the centre Flow Frames you may notice that the bees have already begun working on the Flow Frames, this can be identified by little wax deposits between the Flow Frame cells.

I recommend also considering the potential limited opportunity your bees may have had recently to fly/forage if you’ve received a lot of rain lately. This can inhibit the colony’s ability to expand as well comparatively to fine weather.

Flow recommends scraping burr comb on to the frames to offer any encouragement the colony may need to start using them, as per @Dawn_SD’s great description.

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Yeah that lol sorry still trying to figure out all the names and theories with bees

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It’s amazing how much info there is, huh?! That’s cool that you’re working so hard on learning - don’t be shy to ask questions around here, you’re sure to get thoughtful and helpful answers.

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Hi Wendy, I’ve seen, or heard is more to the point that bees occupied & filled flow frames in a hybrid hive before they started on the traditional frames on the other side. It was from a colony I sold a lady. I sell colonies with full frames of sealed & emerging brood included. I’m guessing that the brood all emerged before getting replaced with more brood. My thinking is the bees in the vicinity of those full frames of brood moved up to store honey (six weeks after picking up the nuc) in the frames directly above them, which happened to be the flow frames. This kind of goes against popular thinking that bees always go for traditional frames before flow frames.

Having said all that, my tips are to keep all the brood frames with a very high percentage of worker comb, with a nice young queen with a strong workforce. On top of that, your bees need to be in a good honey/pollen flow, if you want to see results in the honey super.

Thanks Jeff! Good to hear your experience/advice.

Hi Eva, Yes lots of info out there, but good to know I have the opportunity to ask!

Hi Dawn, yes my brood was very well established when I put the flow super on but the weather has been a bit ordinary since then!! I will keep trying - it will work I am sure!

after 5 years with flow hives and standard ones as well- I am pretty much sure the number 1 cause of bees not filling a flow super is that they simply don’t have the workforce to do it- or a nectar flow to collect. It’s the same for a standard hive. I have had two hive sin the hills for two years now - they are standard hives with standard honey supers. Both hives have done very well in the brood box- plenty of bees- good laying queen ,etc. Yet they have never once stored more than half a frame of honey in a super. They simply don’t have any to spare- it is cold there at nights and they must eat a lot more than the bees I have on the plains do- whose supers fill regularly whether flow or standard. We have many times had bees fill a flow super when we did nothing to the frames: no waxing etc. We have also waxed frames and had them ignored. Waxing helps I think but the biggest factor is always what’s happening with the bees and the local flowering. You can see plenty of flowers and still get very little honey too.

Local know;edge is very important- especially in rural areas. Urban beekeeping seems far more consistent and frankly easy by comparison.

This seems counter intuitive- some rural areas look like paradise for bees- whereas bees situated directly besides Sydney’s airport bring in an industrial estate big harvests year after year. perhaps also counter intuitive- testing has shown the urban honey is often purer with lower levels of pollution detected in the honey.

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