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How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames


Thanks to everyone, including the Flow Hive personnel, for all the great advice. Unfortunately I do not have any extra wax at this time but I was able to scrape some burr comb off my other hive. I went out this morning with the intention of rubbing the burr comb on a couple of the frames with the hope that it would stimulate them to get going. I pulled 3 frames and to my surprise on all three there was honey in cells near the middle bottom of each of the frames. It was not much maybe 2 or 3 rows about 2 or 3 inches long but it was a start. I closed everything back up hoping that if they are using those 3 they will proceed to the others with time. It has taken an extremely long time, over 3 times as long as regular supers but now that they have started I hope it will continue to the extent that I will feel comfortable changing the other hive over next year as well.


No problem, glad to hear the Flow Frames are finally getting some honey in them :slight_smile:


Hi people I live in Australia and have two flow hives ready to go into production, its still a bit early for the honey flow to start here, but I would like to give my bees every chance to settle into their new home. Could you give me some detailed process as to how to coat my flow frames with wax, how warm to have the wax and how much should I apply, I invisaged using a small paint roller to apply the warm wax.
I will appreciate any advice you are able to impart. My e-mail is lucassen.hermanus@gmail.com A detailed reply would be greatly appreciated asap as the season is soon to start. many thanks H


Hi Harry - @Bobby_Thanepohn made a great little video back in May showing how he coated his Flow frames with a paint roller, just as you imagine. I can’t include the posting or the link in this message because of my moronic state, but it was under the heading How to Encourage Bees to Use the Flow Frames.

Bobby? Bobby?..

someone with skills?..


Here you go! http://youtu.be/oZdYGNEILyM


Thanks Eva and Bobby will have a look asap. great to get prompt response. thank you very much. will let you know how it goes. Still a little early to re- house my bees, dying to see how the flow hive works but it appears I must show some patience,
We have had a very wet winter here, and what little blossom is available has been depleted of pollen and nectar so I am leaving the move until summer is well and truly here. Once again thanks heaps for your kind response. H


I first tried putting on the flow frames on at the end of last summer, I removed them after 4 weeks as the girls hadn’t touched them. Different story this time, I coated the frames with wax (as per Bobby’s video😉) our girls have taken to flow frames that I put on 4 days ago. They are busy filling in the gaps, the flow here in Perth WA must be starting😀


Sounds good :slight_smile: Let us know how you go :bee:


Excellent article :slight_smile: we will be waxing our supers shortly bees arriving in the coming weeks , looking forward to posting pics and results .

Kind regards
Mark and Kate


Yah ! Old eyes, wayward fat fingers n auto-corrections get me all the time !


One year exactly-- and my healthy hive (active queen, brood, and resources) will not use the flow hives and I have a sense that something is wrong with the set-up, the spacing of the frames or … i don’t know what.

I am an experienced beekeeper with two other very healthy hives and will be extracting three supers next weekend from my other hives.

ARE THERE ANY Successful flow hive keeps that I can talk with by phone to sort out what must be wrong here???

Frustrated in northern California


I melted some beeswax and used a brush to paint some wax on both sides of the flow frame. Once I did that the bees immediately started closing up the cells and put nectar in them. I am sure you know that the bees will start storing extra resources when they are ready. I have read examples on the forum where the bees took to them right away and others it took a few weeks. Although everyone that put wax on the frames it helped the process.


Have you tried applying wax to the plastic frames? I just put my Flow super on this week (SoCal). I pushed some blobs of burr comb into the frames and drizzled a little sugar syrup with Honey-B-Healthy onto the frames. We will see whether that works.

Here is a list of other suggestions direct from Flow (not me):

  1. Establish your brood box only first and wait until it is 90% full of brood comb (you should experience a carpet of bees coming through the inner cover hole) before you place the Flow Super on top
  2. Add some wax to the Flow Frames - when you add the Flow Super, use wax from the same hive and melt it so that you can scrape it on to the Flow Frames.
  3. Add a sticky to the Flow Super - replace a Flow Frame with full and capped brood frame. Be aware that the sticky may include brood, which will all be hatched within 2 weeks. If you see drone bees inside the super (where they shouldn’t be), they will be able to find their way back to the brood box (they will be looking for the queen) if you just open the lid of the hive for a couple of hours, ideally in the morning.

Hope that helps.


I was also getting deeply frustrated as my bees were refusing to use the frames to the point that I thought they would swarm through lack of space.

What worked for me was temporarily removing a flow frame from the super and moving up a frame of worker brood (number 3 on Dawns list above). The bees moved up to look after the brood and started working the adjacent flow frame. Yesterday we harvested our first flow frame & all went well :).

I will now use this method with all new flow frames, though obviously the bees need to be bursting at the seams first. Also, the back window shouldn’t be used while there is a frame of brood up there or all the bees will fly out.

There is no doubt that the bees took much longer to draw out the flow super out the flow super than the standard box of frames. However, As the sealings on the flow are mostly in place and the box now smells of bees, hopefully it won’t take them so long next season…




Make sure you have waxed the Flow frames

I saw an issue recently where bees were backfilling the brood nest in preference to using the Flow frames, which was quite surprising. I have since coated the Flow frames with wax using the above method to encourage them up.


Your colony may not be strong enough yet, or you may not be on a decent enough honey flow for the bees to have surplus honey to store in the flow frames. A strong colony on a honey flow will be looking for somewhere to store honey & the flow frames will work just fine if there is nowhere else for them to store it.


Ryan, you may have already considered this so please ignore if you have, but following on from what Jeff has said, even though the hive is healthy, is it actually packed with bees or is there empty space in the brood and rest of the hive? I found that a busy looking hive can sometimes have too much room when you really open it up and get to the bottom of it. A quick lift up of the back of the hive (if you can can) will give you a rough idea about the weight of honey etc. in it. Because you have your other hives you can do a quick comparison. Not sure what you have below the flow super but I have found if you only just look below the flow super it can be deceptive because sometimes they move the honey up high. RBK’s suggested wax coating looks excellent too.


Hi Ryan, I would be interested to know if you are using full flow supers or a hybrid box. Mine and a fellow flow beekeeper have found our bees refuse to use hybrid box flow frames, but freely use the 6 frame box of flow frames which is directly above it, no problem.
Cheers Tim


Have you coated the Flow frames in wax? If so, which method did you use?


…and my experience is that the bees preferentially use the hybrid super over the full flow super irrespective of how I have the supers stacked.