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How late in the season can I add a Flow super?


Hi all, one of my hives, installed this Spring in Northern California, is about 80% drawn and pretty full of bees. My bees are dominantly Carnolians and known for the queen to abruptly stop laying when season ends.
Is it too late to add a flow super? What are the risks if I do add one and it’s late in the season / no more honey flow / queen stops laying? Or should I just wait until next Spring?


I would say it is too late, but I would also say that you should probably have a second brood box unless you are very experienced at overwintering your bees. I am in SoCal, and all of the locals down here use double deeps for brood, except for one or two commercial guys who intend to feed a lot over winter. You are probably too late to add a second deep at this point so you will need to be very vigilant over winter. If you have a medium or shallow box, you might consider adding that and see what they do with it. You could take it off if they don’t touch it.

I will be interested to read other opinions.


What is happening around you? Are other beekeepers adding traditional supers? Is there stil nectar coming in and is there more expected? what sort of winters do you get? My bees are making winter preps already an my supers wil be off at the end of the month but then I am in the uk


@Dawn_SD: forgot to mention, I already have two brood boxes, the ones that came with the flow hive (deep 8 frame boxes), both are 80% drawn and quite full.
@Dee: not sure what to expect actually… First year beekeeping and haven’t had time to attend meetings here in the Bay area recently


If you have two brood boxes and they still have 20% capacity I would tend to be cautious and stick with them. If you get an autumn flow you can always rob a frame or two but its better to go into winter with a strong hive rather than one that has bits and pieces in many boxes.



If you can’t get to local meetings, I suggest you get this book:

It is a bit pricey, and not very thick, but it does tell you what you should expect and do each month throughout the year. He has a bloodlust (hemolymph lust?) for killing drones to control varroa, which I disagree with, but otherwise the information about nectar and pollen availability is great. The general tips on hive preparations are also very good. The page for August begins with a paragraph “August 15th is an important day for overwintering hives in California… Bee hives almost never get larger after mid-August and often shrink by more than half” - few bits snipped out, but that is the message.

So I wouldn’t stress the colony by harvesting in August. I am gently battling my husband on this at the moment. I will let you know what we decided and why in a month or two! :blush:


Thank you all for your precious advice! Will keep reading and meeting locals… and be part of this great forum
Never stop learning, it’s addictive :wink:
Thanks again