Just thought I would share this FAQ in case you have some bees who are not taking to the Flow Frames too quickly.
Why aren’t my bees filling the Flow™ Frames?
In: Frequently Asked Questions
There could be many reasons why the bees aren’t filling the Flow™ Frames.
The two main things we have found that increase the rate at which bees fill the frames for the first time are:
- Lots of bees on the Flow Frames.
This is the main factor. If when you look in the rear window and the side window and there are not many bees, it will probably take some time for the bees to build up and start working on the Flow Frames.
- A good nectar flow.
Honey won’t be stored in your hive regardless of the number of bees unless there is enough flowers around with plenty of nectar.
Things that you could try if you want to get the bees working on the Flow Frames sooner:
- If you have other honey supers on the hive, removing some of them or all of them so the Flow super is full with bees is likely to get much faster results.
- Pressing some bees wax into the surface of the Flow comb can get them working on the Flow frames earlier. You can use chunks of burr comb, wax foundation or wax cappings. The bees will then re-distribute the wax onto the Flow frames and start working them.
- Heat up some beeswax and paint it onto the Flow frame surface. If you try this, be careful not to get too much wax in the base of the cells or in the upper movement mechanism as this may jam the mechanism when it comes time to harvest.
- Sprinkle a little sugar water (2 parts water to 1 part sugar) on the Flow frames. To do this you will have to take the frames out of the super so that you don’t get the water in the upper parts of the frame where the tool is inserted. Using this method there is a risk that the sugar will crystallise in the parts of the flow frame and cause jamming issues. While some beekeepers have reported using this method, we have not proved that it makes any difference.
The feedback we have received so far is; lots of beekeepers saying the bees filled all the Flow™ frames quickly, sometimes in a week or two, and some are saying it took quite a while for the bees to start work on the Flow™ frames for the first time.
Bees don’t always do what you would like. We received feedback from one customer that had two Flow hives beside each other of similar strength. While one hive filled the Flow frames quickly the other is taking it’s time to start on the Flow frames.
If your bees are taking their time to start storing honey in the Flow frames you may like to try try one of the things above. Please let us know how your hive goes.
What to expect to happen as the bees start to work on the Flow frames:
- First the bees tend to seal the joins in the bottom of each cell, they will use either new wax they produce or recycle wax from elsewhere in the hive
- Then they start to complete the cell walls
- Then they start to fill the cells with nectar
- Then they draw the combs out beyond the Flow frame with their wax
- Typically they start toward the center of each frame and work their way out towards the edge
- Once the honey is ready and the cell is full, they cap it with their wax
- When you can see mostly capped cells in the end frame view, it’s likely that the rest of the frame is mostly capped and ready for harvest
See also FAQ: Do the bees willingly fill the Flow™ comb compared to the traditional wax comb? - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/do-the-bees-willingly-fill-the-flow-comb-compared-to-the-traditional-wax-comb/p/39
We have done a lot of testing with Flow frames in the same hive box as other types of traditional frames.
The preference from hive to hive varies but we have generally found that Naturally drawn comb on a wooden starter strip is built on first, followed by Flow frames and wax foundation at a similar time. Plastic foundation seemed to be the last to be built on.
If you have feedback on this please write to us - http://www.honeyflow.com/contact/p/3
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