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How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames


Hahaha Dawn :rofl:

Maybe I’m the one who’s senile :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for your help. It’s good to hear this simple instruction got your Flow Frames pumping along in such a short time.



Here is a great picture which explains what the bees have to do first before the honey is stored in the Flow Frames:


A comparison of 2 hives, and how different factors will affect how quickly the bees fill the Flow Frames with honey.


Others have also stated (in varying threads) that instead of melting and brushing beeswax on the frames they have just take burr-comb scrapings and smeared them across the face of the frames with some success.


I am trying this to see if I can get these bees to start using the flow frames, so how long would you leave that frame of brood, and honey in the box with the flow frames. It will be a week tomorrow and I don’t dare open the back but don’t see any honey stored in the frame on the end.


Are you in a dearth?


I had mine in a month I think


not at all, but can’t be too long before that changes


A thought on this entire thread:

I notice the many posts about “my bees won’t use the Flow Frames” and wanted to throw out this observation as a conventional harvester:

It’s not always the Flow Frames.

In fact, probably more times than not it isn’t the Flow Frames. I keep 50 or so hives and will tell you that some will draw comb and store honey on a piece of drywall if that’s what I provided them while others are very stubborn and wouldn’t use fresh, new comb even if it was blessed by the Pope and Dalai Lama themselves. These hives are content on maintaining the brood nest with minimal honey storage; just enough for them.

It is these hives that I use to make splits:

This time of year in New Jersey as the mega flow is winding down, I go through and harvest honey and mark the non-productive ones for splitting. I graft queens from my best hives and reduce the non-producing hives to 2-3 frame splits, giving each one a capped queen cell from the really good hives.

This is another observation that I base my recommendation on keeping multiple hives; at least 5 or 10.




I started to put a hive with flow frames this spring.
I’m surprised because bees didn’t put honey into the frames,they are visiting the frames but they aren’t putting honey on it.
The frames are correctly disposed so I’don’t understand why there aren’t honey on my frames.

Thank you for your answer,



If your bees are visiting it means they are exploring and if you have a nectar flow on and the brood box is full, they will start sealing the gaps in the cells of the flow frames. The first time this takes a couple of weeks.
Put under the looking glass up top right a search: encourage bees to use the flow frames.
You will get a lot of advice.
Good luck. Looking good so far.
Hope you put the flow frame box on AFTER the brood box was almost full. Also, depending on your locality, you may need 2 brood boxes under your flow box. Go by local beekeepers’ advice.
But go on, all your questions have already been answered on this forum. You just need to find it.


Hi Fabienne, welcome to the forum. If you use the search tool at the upper right (magnifying glass icon), you will find a lot of posts if you type in - bees not using flow.

As @Webclan says, you first need to have a strong hive before you put the Flow super on. If that was true, then there are several other things you can do to encourage them.

The simplest is to save some burr comb when you are inspecting, and use your hive tool to push 1 to 2cm blobs of comb onto the faces of the Flow frames at about 10cm intervals. This makes the plastic smell of your hive by putting bee pheromones onto the plastic.

If you have melted wax from your hive, you can paint it onto the frames, again making it smell of the hive for the bees.

Some people have found that taking a frame from the brood box and moving it up to the Flow super can encourage the bees to move into the super. You have to provide an upper entrance for hatching drones to use if you decide to do that. Once the bees are in the super and actively using the plastic, you can take the frame out and replace it with the plastic frame.

I used the burr comb method. Within a day or two, bees were in the Flow super, sealing the gaps in the plastic frames. Within 2 weeks, they were using the middle 2 frames to store honey. Good luck! :wink:




Be careful putting frames of brood above the flow frames. I did it and it helped but they made queen cells being so far from the queen. I caught them in time but something you have to watch for the first week with eggs above the flow frames.


I’m not in favor of putting brood frames up. There’s no need. I was advised so by my mentor and didn’t do it. They went up anyway.
When the bees are ready they will go. Suss out what they want, no need to trick them and get yourself into trouble. keep it easy.


I checked my flows today and they are putting honey on the sides of the middle frames and the middle is empty like they are leaving it for the queen. Not sure that putting a box above the flows is a good idea.


So here is an idea I am pondering …

It’s getting to be time to add my flow frames above my two brood boxes.

I am considering “rinsing” each side of each frame with syrup (2-1) and then rubbing each side with some of the wax I have collected so far. Maybe even rinse with local honey from another beek.

Alternatively I am thinking of taking a deep cookie sheet and adding an inch or so of water. After heating the water I will add some wax to creat a layer on the water. Into that I will “dip” each flow Frame side to prime it with wax.

Should I be committed? How crazy are these ideas? Could they work?


PS I am going to do this outside so as to not burn the house down.


ROFL! I will send the nice men in white coats right now! :smile:

Not crazy at all. I would think all of them would work. The hot water idea sounds creative, but risky. I wouldn’t like to try to keep it hot enough for the wax, but not too hot for the frames. Remember the plastic should not get hotter than 70C - way below the boiling point of water! :flushed: I just took some burr comb on a hive tool and pushed it into the plastic frame faces, because it was the simplest thing to do.

I also put some 1:1 syrup into a spray bottle and sprayed it onto the frames. Before I found the spray bottle, I dribbled it on from a spoon. Messy, but it worked. I would not use somebody else’s honey in my hive, because I am paranoid about bee diseases.


Just make sure you don’t use your best cookie sheet (wax will become a permanent addition).