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I added the flow hive and that's what happened


I checked by hive regularly this spring, then about 10 days ago on my strongest hive I added the queen excluder and the flow hive. The bees didn’t work any of the flow hive frames.
Early today the hive swarmed.
One tip a beekeeper from california suggested painting wax on the frames, to get them to fill the cracks and bring in the nectar.


What happened to the medium supers you said 10 days ago needed 30 days to get drawn?


Sorry for your (swarm) loss. :cry:

I believe that @Cedar has suggested using bridge/cross comb to smear onto the Flow frames to encourage the bees up there.

I am on a hunt for my personal Bee Holy Grail of trail (footprint) pheromone, so that at least I can make them go and investigate the plastic. I know that Lemongrass Oil is a homing pheromone, but I want something more subtle that is normal inside the hive. I would like to paint it on the queen excluder and the Flow frames. Just a dream. :blush:


Your bees were probably preparing to swarm before you added the QX & flow super. An inspection would have verified that. If they were preparing to swarm, you could have opened the brood up & placed some brood & bees above a QX in a traditional super. Wait for the population to increase further before swapping the traditional super for the flow super.

At the same time as you opened the brood up, tear any queen cells down & check on them in a weeks time to tear any more queen cells down. Do this as well as open the brood up until the desire to swarm has passed. When opening the brood, place the frames of brood above the QX.


I can’t help but think that in most cases at least: if the bees don’t go onto the flow frames it is due to some other issue- not the flow frames. I say this because our bees so readily moved onto the frames and started filling out the comb. One month after we added the frames they were over half full of capped honey. I expect they will be fully capped by the end of this week when we do another inspection. The bees didn’t seem to have any issue getting to work on them. From our experience it seems if the bees are ready- and have no other options- they will readily take to the flow frames. Having said that perhaps different types of bees- or different environments- maybe there is more of an issue?


The medium was half drawn.


Hi Michelle, well done. I agree with you. If there is a good population with lots of foraging bees & your in the middle of a honey flow, of course the bees will take to the flow frames.

I think the bees will be more interested in gathering, processing & storing the honey rather than worrying about whether they like the flow frames or not.


Dawn, can you send the video where Cedar talked about this, please. I plan on adding my flow frames in the next week or 2.


It wasn’t on a video, Marty. It was in a posting, I think from @Faroe a week or so ago, in a thread about bees being reluctant to use the Flow frames. She said that Cedar suggested it.


Thank You, at my local club meeting, they talked about doing this exact think with frames that my have set for a long time. It is cool how all the knowledge comes around. :slight_smile:


do you know of a video where someone shows doing this? I have a 1000 question and as they say a picture speaks 1000 words much less video :slight_smile:

Looking to understand how much how to use, who to brush it on I assume using some of the hives own wax?

I guess the real question is also, should I attempt not to do anything 1st and then if they don’t use it, then attempted to do the above?


I think simple is good, so yes, I would try without doing anything first. Lots of people on this forum have had bees take to the frames without doing anything.

As far as the wax concept, I think Faroe was implying that you just take a piece of excess bridge comb and rub it on like a crayon - nothing fancy and don’t try to melt it or dip the frames. The idea was just to make it smell like the hive by smearing a bit of wax (and perhaps some nectar if it was in the comb) onto the plastic. Here is the posting she wrote:


My experience was that in a nectar flow they quickly filled the cracks with no other action taken…


Hi All,

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 (assuming a strong colony and a good nectar flow):
-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

Let us know how you go,



Thanks Cedar,
I moved the flow hive from the colony that swarmed and put it on another hive, which currently consists of two deep brood boxes and one medium. Do you suggest i remove the medium honey super and just put a queen excluder and the flow hive right above that?


Just in case anyone is really worried- here is what our bees had done in around 3 weeks time- and we didn’t do anything to the flow frames other than install them when the hive was booming:


@Semaphore That’s awesome!


I think it is her hand-off, low-stress approach that helps. :blush:


I am the California beekeeper mentioned in the original post. I have a yard with about 12 hives. We are in the middle of a very strong nectar flow. All of the hives in this yard were drawing comb and filling it with nectar at the time that I set up my Flowhive. I split a strong colony and put most of the bees into the Flowhive. The result was that the bottom deep was absolutely packed with bees. For several weeks the bees did not touch the Flow frames despite the favorable conditions and high population. They indeed started making swarm cups and I could see the queen was getting honey bound in the brood nest. After talking to Cedar, I painted melted beeswax on the frames. One week later, the bees had filled the gaps in the cells with the wax I had applied. Two weeks later and they are now storing honey and capping it.

I think this hurdle of getting the bees to use the Flow Frames is very similar to using plastic foundations. Some colonies have no problem using it and others it takes some coaxing. If your bees are the latter, it is entirely possible that they might swarm if they feel too crowded in the brood box.


I’m a first-time beekeeper. This weekend I will be installing the nucleus. It is a 5 frame nucleus going into an 8 frame brood box. I am pretty sure no one can give me an absolute answer on this but can I get a general idea of when I will know the right time to add the flow frame super? I do have some beeswax I ordered to make candles so I may be proactive and at a very thin coat to a couple of them.