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How do the bees get into the super?


sorry i know this may be a silly question but as a newbee, i can’t see how the bees move thru to the super (top) section when finally in place…especially once the roof is on and the feeder hole is closed over, i understand they can come in and out of the brood box entrance but once the QX is in place, how do they do it? it seems very small for the bees to move up to the top. Doh!
my flow hive is a work of art and it is ready for my packaged bees to arrive some time this week. it is my understanding that the super should not be placed on top of the brood box until they have created their new colony home with wax and the queen has been busy laying… once this has been established i can then put the super box on top with the flow frames in situ and then the magic starts. how long does this normally take as i do not want to keep opening the brood box to keep checking on it and disturbing the bees. i am very excited about my new arrivals and can’t wait to get started… love reading all the forum news but nothing on actually how they bees move about.


No silly questions here. It takes a little while for your package of bees to grow to a point of harvesting honey. depending on the number of bees you receive and the nectar flow in your area it could as little as a couple of months to fill the brood box or six months to have enough bees and nectar flow to place your super (or Flow frames) on top. Packages take a little longer as they are starting from nothing, just like a swarm. Do you have a feeder to give your bees a boost when they arrive?
When your bees have drawn 7 out of the 8 frames of comb (or 8-9 of the 10 frame hive) then you can add the super but bear in mind they may not be ready for it and will probably not move up unless there is a good nectar flow as I have stated earlier. Don’t worry too much about the QX looking small, just remember so are the bees. They get through just fine. What i have stated here is just a guide and it differs depending on the bees, the nectar or sugar solution you are feeding, the ability of your bees to draw out the brood comb quickly, the weather, etc,etc… its a bit of science/guesswork… welcome to beekeeping!


many thanks Rodderick, i assumed that would be the case re timing before you actually place the super on top… very happy to wait until it is the right time. i don’t have a feeder at this time but will certainly find one/make one before they arrive. I live in the Byron shire and with a few months or spring and all of summer they should be happy enough. :grinning:


I would recommend feeding them for 1 -2 weeks with a 1 part white refined sugar to 1 part water. This gives them a boost, after a couple of weeks you should see them foraging for pollen and they will probably be bringing in nectar too so you should be able to stop feeding. Feed them inside the hive if you can otherwise a boardman type feeder is fine but replace the solution every 2-3 days as it will ferment.
Methods of feeding:
• In frame feeder – will occupy the space of a frame. The hive must be opened to refill, discourages robbing.
• Boardman feeder – external upturned container fed directly into the entrance to the hive
• Bag placed directly on top of the frames with a few holes poked underneath
• Top feeder – sits on the very top of the hive, can contain several litres, is easily refilled and discourages robbing by being concealed.


great advice many thanks


@All_a_buzz [quote=“All_a_buzz, post:1, topic:3606”]
it seems very small for the bees to move up to the top.
One of yours answers is also - Bee Space - Langstroth realised that bees need a certain space to move in. If the spacing is smaller the will they will propolise or fill with comb if too large they will fill with comb. The bees need to keep the hive warm so any excess space will be “dealt” with occordingly


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Some books suggest leaving the QE off when you add a super so that the queen can go up into the super which encourages the bees to go up.
If you are planning on extracting honey from that super then you don’t want them laying in it.
Generally bees only make wax when they need it. I don’t know how much work they’ll want to do in the Flow Hive super before using it.
If they don’t go up into it then they probably have enough room where they are or the temperature or flow of food into the hive isn’t right.

But you will be some way off that if your bees have not arrived yet!

Have a last play of your hive assembling and disassembling it before your bees arrive. Think about bee space and how much room bees need to move around the hive.

You should probably leave them a week to settle in before starting inspections - but as someone else has said feeding them will help them crack on with building their brood nest comb.

I’ve no idea how many bees a package equates to. When we take a nuc of bees we slowly build them up on to a full set of frames using dummy boards to restrict their space rather than dumping them in a huge empty box of frames. Adding frames to match their rate of building of comb.


I have a strategy in mind for the 2 flow hives arriving in Dec. for some customers. That is if I get to do it my way. I plan on using the one brood box, QX & then I’m going to get a good full box of bees above the QX. After I get a good amount of bees above the QX, THEN I’m going to take the box & frames away & replace them with the flow super & frames. This will happen while there’s plenty of honey coming in. The same lid & quilt/mat will go back on top. I guess this strategy will only work for beekeepers with other hives or friends with hives. I find a good way to encourage bees above the QX is: provided the brood has a good population is take 2 or 3 frames of brood & place above the QX & replace those frames with fresh foundation, checkerboard fashion. Place the frames of brood in the center flanked by other frames of drawn comb or foundation. I plan on suggesting/recommending to use fresh wax foundation for the brood box.


my bees have been installed into their new home the gorgeous flow hive…bzzzzzz - it is impossible to see the bees but they are there and flying madly around their new home…many thanks to Yari MacGauley, Mullumbimbees Natural Beekeeping Group for his words of wisdom and showing us how to get them in there! and congrats to Flow Hive for their fantastic invention… we love it…

my flow hive … Iain (hubby) made the fabulous stand for the hive to sit on and you can see my package in the front left there so the last stragglers can find their way into the hive. i can’t stop going down to the veggie garden to see what they are doing now…i know my window is upside down! - the super is not filled with the flow frames at the moment as i have the feeder tin in there to help the bees build their comb


Very nice - are you going to protect the wood??


hi Valli

yes my hive has 3 coats of Tung oil as they are red western cedar they will handle our aussie weather well…


Please have a read through this topic for more options to encourage the bees to use your Flow Frames.