How to manage brood boxes next season

I live in NE Ohio, so long cold winters. I have a Flow Hive. I have one brood box, then queen excluder, then Flow Hive. What is best practice after harvesting Flow Hive? Seems like one of two options. One is to simply remove the Flow Hive and reduce to the single brood box. Second is to replace the Flow Hive honey super with another brood box.

The first option seems to leave the colony short on space and available resources over the winter. The second option gives them plenty of space for resources but results in two brood boxes next spring. I can’t just remove the top brood box and replace with Flow Hive because queen might be “upstairs.” Is there a best practice for managing the brood boxes and honey super in northern climates?


I’m in Columbus, not as snowy but similar temps to you.

I’ve overwintered with a single deep, I fed them until they were stuffed to the gills last fall and they had plenty left before the maple bloom and early spring.

You could consider removing the flow super in mid summer, doing all your mite treatments and letting them store anything they can get in the summer and fall (goldenrod and aster) for winter time and feed them in October to get them up to weight.

Also consider watching the university of Guelph YouTube video on single brood boxes - their climate is similar to ours and probably have similar nectar flows.

Do you have a drawn out box of frames that you can put in the second deep?

She probably will be upstairs, you can probably evaluate on a warmish day in March, remove the lower box and shake whatever bees are in there into what was the upper box, let them build up in the spring for a bit before adding the flow super.

Thank you for these excellent suggestions to a new-bee keeper.

I’m on the Gold Coast Qld flow hive 2 my brood box is 80% full should I add another brood box or is that just putting off a swarm to a later date. My Queen is doing so well but I would much rather manage 1 brood box if I can any thoughts on managing my almost full brood box and stop a potential swarm. Thankyou

Hi Bill, I’m on the Sunny Coast. I only use single brood boxes, which I find to be much easier than trying to manage two. There are ways to prevent swarming, however it requires starting a second hive when the time comes.

Thanks Jeff so how do you manage to keep it to one brood box when it gets overcrowded with grubs and bread and little room left for the queen to keep laying


He splits the hive = takes out some full frames and puts in some empty ones. Then the full frames can be used to make a new hive, or sold to somebody else. :wink:

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Hi Bill, basically what Dawn said.

There are a number of options. You can remove brood frames, minus bees to bolster a weaker colony. You can remove a number of brood frames with bees, minus the queen to start a new colony, or you can just remove nurse bees, in order to strengthen a weaker colony.

The trick is to manage the population, so as to avoid swarming. It’s a balancing act, which needs to be constantly monitored.

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Thanks Dawn and Jeff much appreciated