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How to NOT attract bees fo the honeyflow super


#1

So, I put my flow hive frames super on last year, as a new beekeeper, around end of August in Missouri.
From a nuc of angry bees we received mid June. Seemed like it took them along time to fill out two boxes w comb and honey and such before we could add the flowhive.
By then, their were a lot of bees. So we added it and they completely covered it day after day.loads of bee interest…but hardly put a drop of honey in a cell here and there before it was removed the next day. The Flow super remained 99.9 empty of honey when we removed it for winter
So we got nothing. The bees have come through the winter stronger and madder than ever. So we made our 1st split and replaced the angry queen. So now two 1 box gives boxes from a 1 box hive with 2 new carnelian hopefully calm queens.
All of this for a few questions now
If all goes well how long before we can expect calmer bees of the nature of the new queen?
Since a new split means less bees in each and we will have to add back a 2nd box for them to build out before adding the honeyflow super on top, how soon after the split should I add the 2nd box and how long typically before that 2nd box will be built out and ready for the flowhive super?

And a lastquestion…on cleaning the flowhive super for optimal bee acceptance…So they sat basically unused in the basement all winter.
When I brought them out I quickly realized one of our cats had used a few of them for a pee board!
Soo, how to properly clean the flowhive frames to remove the pee and scent and make them attractive as aossible to bees?!


#2

You should see a marked difference in the hive in about a month as the calmer breed begin to outnumber the agro strain.

Try hot soapy water with a dash of cleaning vinegar mixed into it, then rinse with cold tap water, when it is dry the pong should be gone.
Melt some wax in a saucepan on low heat till the wax has just melted and use a 2" foam paint roller and roll till you see a covering of wax, do both sides of the frames, it seems the bees will respond to the plastic frames much better.
Regards


#3

If you think about the “bee math”, when the queen lays a worker bee egg, it takes about 3 weeks to develop into an emerging nurse bee. A nurse bee becomes a guard about 18-21 days after emerging, then she forages for 3 weeks before dying.

When you inspect a hive, you upset the guard bees, some of the nurse bees and very few foragers. So the genetics of the nurse and guard bees will determine most of the temper you experience. As @Peter48 says, you should see a noticeable difference by around a month, but you will still have some “old genetics” nurse bees in the hive at that time. If they are very mean, it can take 6 weeks or more before the old genes are outnumbered enough. Finally, all of the workers should have been replaced by about 9 weeks after the new queen started laying.

Long answer, but it is a slightly complicated biological situation. :blush:

Same answer as I always give. Only add a box (brood or super, same rules for both) when the following are all true:

  1. Every frame has fully drawn comb in most of the frame, and
  2. The comb is 80% full of food or brood, and
  3. Every frame is well-covered with bees

If all of those are true, there will be enough bees to heat and defend the new space, and they should start to use it quickly. The amount of time that takes will depend on your local nectar flow. I would guess at least a month, unless the colony is very strong and there is an epic nectar flow. In California, it can take the whole season to fill one box, if there hasn’t been much rain, and a beekeeper may not be able to add a super until the following season. Your climate is wetter, so it should happen a lot faster.

I agree with @Peter48, warm to hand-hot water with “dish soap” (as it is called in the US). You can add a cup of unscented household chlorine bleach if you want - it won’t hurt the bees. Rinse the frames well afterwards to get the soap off.

As Peter says, waxing the frames really helps with acceptance, but I use a much simpler method. When inspecting, I just take some burr comb from the hive and gently press small blobs of it onto the Flow frame faces with my hive tool. When I did that last year, the bees were waxing the cells within 2 days, and filling them with honey within 2 weeks. All of the blobs of wax get removed very quickly, you are just taking advantage of the “footprint” pheromones in the wax to make the plastic frames smell of the hive. :wink:

One last thing. August is a bit late to put the Flow super on in most parts of the US. The major nectar flow is mostly over by the end of July, although some areas do get a late nectar flow in early Fall. Given the capacity of the Flow super (large), I prefer to put it on no later than May, and if I can’t do that based on my rules above, I just put a traditional medium on the hive for the rest of the season. All of my supers come off in August, so that I can treat for mites before the winter bees are all made, not that we have many winter bees in SoCal! :smile:


#4

Thanks
So given it is 4/11 now and they will need to fill in the current box’s boards of drawn comb 80% before adding the 2nd brood box…Then they will have to draw all the comb and fill that 2nd box 80% before adding a super…
It sounds like that could not possibly get accomplished in one month by May when I would want to add a super at the latest…So will I miss out on being able to add the super and not get any honey this year because I did the split? :frowning_face::frowning_face:


#5

Not necessarily. As Winnie-the-Pooh says, you can never tell with bees!

Aggressive bees have often been more productive in my hives, so maybe you are off to a good start while you wait for them to get peaceful. :wink:

Another point of view might be that you want to put the Flow super on even in late May, to hope that the bees will wax it. That way they will get going much faster next year with it. As long as you don’t have to wash off all the wax with cats’ pee again… :blush:


#6

I hope there is still the opportunity to get some honey this year out of them. I’m maybe overly anxious since it would be my first run!

…Next winter the Flow super will be stored much higher up on a shelf!


#7

Your local bee club would know how long your nectar flow typically lasts. Might be worth asking them when is the latest time that they would add a super to a traditional hive. Same should be true for your Flow super, but as it holds more honey than a medium, just keep in mind that it may not get filled or capped by the end of the season.


#8

Don’t be concerned if you don’t get honey for yourself this season, there is no benefit in extracting honey then having to feed them over winter, that will only disturb the bees. I totally agree with @Dawn_SD with her sound advise.
Regards


#9

I washed mine in the sink with dawn dish washing liquid and rinsed the h-e-c-k out of the frames then scratched burr comb on them. Just working on them in the garage a few bees came to investigate the wax on the frames. I only used soap cuz I had some wax moth larva (not much) and it seemed the hygienic thing to do but I’m not certain.