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Is this a bee larvae?

I tapped three of the frames in my 7 frame flow hive about ten days ago and when inspecting the other day I noticed that a couple of them didn’t seem to seal properly when closed. The bees were busily putting honey into the cells but I could see that there was also honey in the runoff channel at the bottom - about half full looking from the back of the frame. So I looked more closely in the access port where the tool is placed and noticed that the platform that you lift or lower to open or close the cells seemed to be at a higher position than the adjacent ones. Hope that makes sense.

So I put a tube in the frame to drain the accumulated honey that I assumed was dropping into the lower hive and making a pretty good mess. I drained some out and then attempted to close the cells more tightly but it was pretty hard to try and force the platform down any more. I think I was successful as after a couple more days I don’t see any accumulated honey at the bottom. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this indicative of some other issue?

The reason I’m concerned is that when draining the accumulated honey in the channel a rather large larvae came out. So I’m wondering if there are brood hives in that frame and that they may be preventing the frames from closing properly. The original honey I drained had a couple of tiny larvae as well but nothing else other than what I guess are some wax bits.

I’m new to this, have just one hive (brood box and flow super) and things seem to be going well otherwise. Pic attached is the larvae and one that follows is the frame view from the back.

Your profile and post don’t say where in the world you are located. I would guess that is a drone larva (larvae is the plural… :blush:) but it is hard to tell. If it came from the Flow frames it probably is a drone. The reason for that can be one of several things. Either that you are not using a queen excluder and the queen is laying in the Flow frames - she can only lay drones there, as the cells are too deep for worker brood. Next, you have a damaged queen excluder and the queen is getting above it. Third, your hive is short of space, and you really need a second brood box to give the queen space to lay somewhere other than the Flow frames. More information would help distinguish which of these is most likely. :wink:

Looking at your 2 other posts, it seems that you only have one brood box and no queen excluder. That may explain the drone larva in the honey. But I still don’t know where in the world you are. Do your local beekeepers use 2 brood boxes normally?


Hi Dawn thank you for your reply. You are correct I did not have a queen excluder as I read differing opinions and decided to exclude the excluder. But when I saw the small larvae in the first tapping I had a sneaking suspicion that exactly what you described was happening, the queen laying in the flow hive. So I did put an excluder in when I had the hive apart the other day. I just don’t know if she was up top or down below. It would be a bad scenario if she were up top and couldn’t get down.

However the bees seem to have returned to their normal routine and I don’t see any sign of swarming. I also think you are right that I need another brood box and I have some frames on the way and hoping to put one in this weekend. The hive seems pretty crowded and there was comb being built on top of the brood box frames but there was very little activity in one of the end frames I pulled, just a few cells built out but it did have bees on it.

Would you suggest putting the new brood box below the present one or above it? I read somewhere else that on the bottom made more sense but I don’t want to make the same mistake I made with the excluder.

I am in BC Canada, about middle of the province, 500 mi. North of Vancouver. Local beekeeper seem to use two or three boxes.

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Here’s a pic of the top of the brood box showing the comb being built on top…


This is Gerald down below you in Western Washington. I live in a similar climate as you. I’d suggest running double deep eights under your Flow in our wet/cooler climate. Looking at your box of bees its full n ready to explode. I’d get another deep on there. My Not sure how much they will fill. Here east 20 plus ms SE of Seattle our main blackberry flow is about done except for a few shelter area got a second bloom with the cooler/wetter summer this year. We are about 3.28" above the normals in rainfall so far this year so flowers thus flows are great down here. We have some fireweed n goldenrod blooming present n other weeds.

Here’s my Present “Flow-Hive set up: <img src=”/uploads/honeyflow

suggest since bees usually move upward to add over your present brood box now. That’s my thots n 2 cents worth … Take care whatever you decide n really enjoy your bees.


I would put the second box below the first, for several reasons:

  1. It is less of a thermal stress for the bees to keep the brood warm if the new space is below (hot air rises)
  2. They normally build down in cavities, so you are more likely to get nice straight comb
  3. The queen seems to use the new box faster than if you add a new box to the top.

I suggest you do it ASAP - I am very concerned about one brood box being able to make it through winter in BC. When the second brood is full, I would consider a third. I would certainly take off your Flow super until you have those brood boxes filled.

Good luck!


Hi Gerald thanks for your reply. I wanted to put a second brood box on last week but found I didn’t have all the parts - I have a few old langstroth hives I inherited and am reconditioning them with new frames but didn’t have enough frame parts. Hopefully they will arrive this week and I’ll get it on on the weekend. I’m going to try it on the bottom as some of what Dawn and says and another article I read makes good sense. Lifting the super is quite a chore, I’m also 70 (noticed you mentioned that in another post) and almost got a hernia putting the super back on while trying to avoid crushing bees crowding out of the brood hive. :worried:

Hi Dawn, thank you again for your reply. I am adding another brood box, hopefully this weekend and will follow your suggestion of putting it below the existing brood. However, I’m not sure about removing the super. Why would you suggest that…is it so the bees build up honey in the brood chamber for winter use? I am reluctant to remove the super as I’m not sure how do do it…do I smoke the bees out of it or? And I don’t know where I would put it. It seems like taking an expensive investment out of production only a few weeks short of season end. Local bee keepers seem to consider mid August the time to shut down honey harvesting. Your thoughts are much appreciated!

I totally relate to that. I will never have 10-frame deeps, because I can’t lift them on my own. Even a full 8-frame deep is a huge challenge, and I need painkillers for several days afterwards. My solution is to keep an extra empty deep, or even a nucleus box on one side. If I need to move a full deep, I transfer half of the frames into the empty box, then lift and/or manipulate the deep box and put the frames back when I am done. You need space beside the hive to do it, but it works when you can’t lift the full boxes without injury.


By the way Gerald only one of your pics came through on my side, not sure why.

I would do it because sometimes bees need help with prioritization. You are finding bee larvae in your Flow honey super. That probably means they are prioritizing the Flow super for brood space. If you put another box below the existing brood, but don’t remove the Flow super, the bees now have 50% more hive space to clean and defend. You risk robbing, pests and inefficient housekeeping. They have already decided to put brood in the wrong place, so it may be a good thing to remove that “wrong place” from their living space until they sort out a better arrangement. Once there are the wrong kind of pheromones in that hive space, they will find them hard to ignore until there is a stronger scent coming from another space in the hive.

If you can get hold of a “bee escape” on an inner cover, that is my preferred way to clear the bees off. Otherwise I would drain the frames, freeze the honey/nectar for personal or bee use, and store the super in a garage etc. If the bees are still on the frames, take the super off, and lay it on its side with the frames vertical a few feet away from the hive. The bees will leave it by dusk. Most experienced beekeepers don’t leave honey supers on their hives over winter, so this is a standard procedure in hive management.

You are right, you are taking an expensive investment out of production for a few weeks. However, I look at it this way. I paid $175 for a nucleus. If I want a new queen, then including shipping, she costs another $50. So if I can’t overwinter my nucleus, I lose $175 (plus $50 if I prefer a different queen). The Flow hive is around $700, but it is hardware not bioware, and it will overwinter for many years. It costs me more to lose bees than not harvest honey, so my priority is the bees. :blush:


Hi Dawn and Gerald, You’ve been kind enough to give me some good advice and I’d like to ask a couple of more questions. I just got my new frames in the mail today so I will assemble them and install into a new brood box asap. I also ordered a couple of drone combs because from what I read they seem like a good way to control varroa mites. Do you have any familiarity with these? When I put the new drone hive it would be a lot easier for me to put a couple of ‘populated’ frames into the bottom box with the other empty frames and replace them with the new drone combs. If you agree with doing this can you suggest where I should put the two drone combs, anywhere in particular…on the edge, middle etc. Or am I trying to be way too creative here ? :neutral_face:

Yah ! I’m looking at that ! Not sure why … I see several blank spots where pix’s should be … See if I can correct or Recify the mystery missing pix’s. Thanks for the note

Gerald your pics came through now, great! What the heck is that thing that looks like a cob of corn on a fork in pic #11 I think?

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Bee’s wax roller. Basically a paint roller to apply a layer of wax to the flow. :slight_smile:


I don’t use them because I hate deliberately killing bees, even drones. I have hygienic bees (Italian VSH bees), which so far have done a pretty good job of controlling the varroa. I have a system for vaporizing Oxalic acid if the mite counts get worrying, and that method is used in Canada too if you wanted to investigate.

Anyhow, to answer your question, the drone comb would be best placed where drones are normally laid - at the outside of the box, or the second frame in from the hive wall. The queen tends to lay drones in the cooler areas of boxes - close to outer walls or around the edge of frames.

Great pics, Gerald! Thanks for sharing.


I enjoy my bees a lot… Takes me back to my youth when I raised them as a teen beekeeper as a school agriculture project.

Often I sit by my small pond n waterfall watching my five colonies including the Flow-hive busy, busy, busy. Hard to believe 6 months ago I was wanting for my Nuc’s n building hive boxes in my small woodshop.

Take care,
. Gerald

Small Hive Beetle Larvae??

or wax moth larvae?

Looks like SHB to me. Others may have more experience. :blush: