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How to encourage bees to fill the Flow Frames


nice we have same issue nothing at the ends will look in the middle this weekend and report back :slight_smile: mark kate and kids


Hi Hubert, more than likely there’s just not enough nectar coming in to your hive. If you had standard supers they would not be filling them either.


These are interesting ideas, especially melting the wax in water and, then, dipping and coating the flow frame. Did you try them? If so, did they work for you?


Finally put my flow frames on a hive. We are in a good flow at present, I put a 3rd box of foundation on a hive over an excluder and checked it a few days later. Bees weren’t keen on going through the excluder and hadn’t started drawing any of the foundation. Moved a frame of honey with a small patch of brood above the excluder and checked a week later. All bar one frame of foundation drawn and half filled with nectar.
Have another hive that is booming, 2 deeps and ready for a third box. I had waxed the flow frames but decided to remove one of the centre flow frames yesterday and bait it with a frame of honey from below the excluder. When I checked through the rear a few hours later there were plenty of bees on the flow frame either side of the bait frame and I could see bees in the cells. I hope this means they are taking to them straight away and the bees that I could see are already starting to seal the flow frames.
I will check again in a few days time, hopefully I will be seeing some nectar in cells.


Thank you for the detailed description. Look forward to reading the updates. :blush:

All the best to you and yours.


I’ll try and get some pictures when I check again in a few days.
If they are ever going to take to them quickly it should be now with a good flow and booming hives.
If a similar strength hive can draw out 7 frames of foundation and fill 4 frame in a week no reason I shouldn’t expect to see similar results in the flow frames.
Trapped a swarm a couple of weeks ago, even they are progressing rapidly, drawing out a 5th frame and the queen is already laying in 3 frames.


Had a quick look this afternoon from the rear of the hive, bees have started work on sealing the cells. You can see where they have put wax in the end cells. As well as working the face of the flow frames either side of the frame of honey I moved up they were also hard at work on the reverse side of them. Lots of bees in the bottom of cells hard at work, if they have the outside cells already sealed I would expect the center of the frames already have nectar them.


You have to be careful with that thought. :blush: My bees often leave a sneaky arc of unfilled cells at the bottom of the centre frames, presumably for the queen to lay in. Last season, I had to make space in the brood nest to convince them that she didn’t need space in my Flow super. :wink:


Had a quick look yesterday, they have put a bit of nectar in the odd cell and are working to seal the flow frames. Some of the cells look like they have been sealed with propolis not wax so might be interesting.


Thank you for this post. I put my Flow super on on Monday as my brood box was just humming with boys. I’ve just had a look through the viewing window and could only see a single bee. I was starting to think I’d perhaps done something wrong but I’ll leave it another week or so then check again. If there is still not much action I’ll try one of the tips above.


Wow, drones want to be in the Flow super? They shouldn’t be able to get through the queen excluder! Or are they really girls? :blush:


Whoops it was a typo - I meant bees!!!


…I guess I lucked out?

I realise I’m commenting late with this comment but this came up with my wife (Canadian) and client (American) recently.

“luck out”, in an Australian or British (NZ? ZA?) context, means to be out of luck
"luck out", in a North American context, means to be lucky
…same phrase, opposite meaning.


13 days since I put my flow frames on, girls have taken to them, I left the standard frame in place for a week before removing it and putting the flow frame back in. They are not filling quite as fast as I thought they might but making progress none the less. Honey visible in cells from the rear, all frames look to have a good coverage of bees from the rear and the outside frame was covered when I removed the side viewing window.


Great to read the update, thank you. :wink:


The initial sealing of the flow cells takes a long time. Once done, things will speed up tremendously if you still have a nectar flow.
From then on it’s just harvest to harvest. The sealing work is done.
What I do now is, if I take a split from a strong colony, I put a second flow box on that strong colony.
Once the split has filled out its broodbox, I take the second flow box off the strong hive, all sealed up and ready for the split. Bingo, the split is ready to deposit the goodies.
I’m very happy with occupying a strong hive to boost a new one later on.
I only do the flow super exchange if the nuc is from the same hive though. Less risk of transmitting anything between hives.
Ah yes, I don’t bother with waxing the flow frames any more. Found if the broodbox is full and nectar on, they go up there quick smart.


4 days since I last checked the flow frames, honey now visible in all the frames from the rear (17 days since installation)

The next issue I can see will be how long it takes for them to cap, These are a couple of pics of the outside frames on another hive. Went on as a box of foundation 15th Dec, Drawn and filled in 12 days and another 15 days of work for the girls to get to this stage. In the mean time they have filled another box and are now working on a third.
The issue I can see is the flow frames will be filled and I will still be a week or more away from being able to harvest. Given the flow we have at present (10-20kg/week on strong hives) I can see them back filling the brood chamber leading to swarming.
Throwing another conventional box on top or under the flow frames is the only option I can see.


Going strongly there Sean. I may have already asked, but what are they on?

If they were my Flow frames, I would consider perhaps tapping either the middle two or four and then they will have plenty to do to fill them back up again, but Im probably not understanding your situation there.


Have had a fair bit of white clover flowering for months but it was when the blackberry and dogwood hit full bloom the really started packing it away. Both are now done but Eucs are coming on now narrow leaf peppermint and messmate. Bit of other ground cover also with most of the summer thistles in various stages of flower. Black thorn is also coming on.
Harvesting the central frames is an option but still think everything may be full a week or more before any frames are close to fully capped.
Frame 3 from right is the one I removed to bait with a conventional frame, it has only been in the hive for 10 days. I can imagine waiting for the frames to be capped might be even more of a issue in the future when they aren’t spending as much time sealing the cells before they start storing.


Put it on top of the Flow super. It will help with evaporation from fanning and encourage them to fill and cap the Flow frames. Mine haven’t moved up into the traditional box until the Flow super is really full. :wink: