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Managing a Flow/Hybrid super- Anyone Have Experience?


#1

I have one hive with a Flow Hybrid super on it. It holds three flow frames in the centre and 2 regular frames on each side (4 total). My initial idea with this arrangement was to pretty much leave the four standard frames for the bees - and to regularly harvest the three flow frames. However I have had that super on for over 3 months now- and I have found the bees have completely 100% capped the four regular frames- and only filled the flow frames around 30%.

So 10 days ago I harvested one of the four regular frames and replaced the empty sticky in the hive. When I checked today the bees had once again 100% filled capped the regular frame I had harvested- yet the three flow frames are no where near ready to harvest.

I now have a dilemma: do I go ahead and harvest the 12kg’s of honey I have in my regular frames- or do I leave everything as is and wait until the bees fill the Flow frames as I had initially planned? What to do? A bird in the hand- or two in the bush?

Does any forum user have experience with the hybrid super- and has made a harvest from the Flow frames yet? Hw do you manage your regular frames? I would be interested to hear how other people have gone using this type of set up.


Flow Super Hybrid
#3

Yes, a good question which regretably i can’t answer. But i look forward to reading of others’ experiences.


#4

Interested to hear the answers on this too. I will be placing a hybrid super on my second hive this coming summer. I would add that when I harvested my flow frames this past summer I did the three in the middle first. I did this because the frames on the edges weren’t 100% full yet. This was close to the end of the summer. When I checked those frames again two weeks later they were still pretty much the same and the bees had focused on refilling up the center frames again. Its crazy that your bees did the exact opposite with the hybrid setup. Definitely follows the bees will do what the bees want to do mantra. I suppose if they have all of the standard frames full and they have excess honey to store that would force them to put it in the flow frames.


#5

Hi Michele, I started with a full flow super (6 frames) on my hive. The decided to change to a hybrid so I would be able to rotate frames from brood box up into (hybrid) super to reduce chance of swarming in swarm season. But I find the same as you, I also had a standard honey super on top of the hybrid super and the bees filled all frames in that super, 3 of the 4 standard frames in the hybrid and hardly touched the flow frames. Everything I hear and read says bees always prefer wax frames over plastic, so what do I do, take off the standard honey super, hybrid super and place the full flow super back on, giving the bees less choice? But then I will squashing them from 3 boxes down to 2. I don’t want to make them congested and they decide to leave. I don’t know what to do, I have had my flow hive 1year next month and haven’t look like harvesting.i have a second hive I might try flow frames on that, been told some bees take to plastic a bit easier than others. Anyone else?


#6

I think this is the right approach, I would leave the standard frames in until they start filling the Flow frames. I think once the Flow frames have been filled once the problem will go away.

Can I ask if you’ve waxed the Flow frames? Have they closed the gaps yet? Or are they staying completely away from them?

Shameless plug of link folllows for waxing the Flow frames:
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/how-to-encourage-bees-to-use-the-flow-frames/5099/94?u=rbk


#7

G’day Jack, with my robbing mentality, I would take the honey. There is another alternative you could try if you don’t want to rob the traditional frames. With the traditional frames fully capped, you could checkerboard the flow frames between the traditional frames. I have done a similar thing in the past, I’ve placed foundationless frames between frames that are fully capped. The bees built beautiful straight comb & filled it with honey & capped it. I can’t see why that wouldn’t work with flow frames unless the flow frames wont fit on the ledge where traditional frames normally sit.

With the foundationless frames, you need wax on the top bars, otherwise the bees wont do it properly.


#8

The only issue with checker boarding in the hybrid super is that if you move the Flow frames out of the center position, the end inspection hole won’t be enclosed by the clear ends of the Flow frames. As a result, the bees will be able to move through the end of the frames and out of the super if you remove the inspection cover.

If you do take this approach (which I agree is a good idea) just remember to keep the end cover on. :smile:


#9

I think I may have that same robbing mentality as you Jeff :yum: Now that I have my two frame spinner- those 4 fully capped frames look mighty tempting… You can’t really easily checkerboard a flow hybrid as the frame rest rebate is cut out lower for the flow frames at the back end. Still the three frames are wedged right between 4 fully capped frames so on two faces the flow frames are facing walls of capped honey. In my hive the bees have worked on the flow frame quite a bit- they have filled in all the gaps with wax- and they have put some honey in. the super is packed with bees. However it is very clear they prefer the standard natural combs. Many times honey has appeared in the rear cells of the flow frames only to disappear the next day. I am thinking now that those four are fully capped- the bees have real no choice but to work the flow frames? I might have to give up on that bird in my hand- and pray for those two in the bush…

Still hope someone with who has robbed their flow Hybrid flow frames might chime in?

On another note I inspected a full flow super yesterday- at the rear end the centre frames seemed to be 100% capped and full- however on inspection they had empty sections in their middles- whilst two side frames were 100 capped- though they didn’t appear to be by looking in the rear window…


#10

I’ve now completely harvested my Flow hybrid super twice. The bees did fill the normal frames first but once they started on the Flow frames, they filled them quickly. Following my first harvest, I replaced both window side frames with starter strips. This allowed me to observe my bees filling the nearest flow frame. They filled it and drew comb on the inside starter strip at the same time. Six weeks after I harvested the first Flow frame, all the Flow frames were once more, full and capped.

The Flow frame nearest the window had been built out into the space below the starter strip. It wasn’t a big problem and I trimmed off the extra wax after harvest.

To avoid a repeat of the problem, I replaced both inside Langstroth frames with ones that were filled with honey, capped and even. This means there are now even surfaces for the bees to build towards as they work on the Flow frames.

I currently have a starter strip nearest the window so I can observe my bees.

The girls are moving nectar around in the Flow frames but I don’t know if they are filling. Towards the end of next week, I will be lifting one of them to check its weight.


#12

The issue is that the clear sections at the back of the flow frames need to be pressed up firmly against each other… this provides the ‘windows’ or ‘galleries’ when you remove the rear cover. If you have a standard Langstroth frame in between two flow frames this back section won’t be sealed off when you remove the rear inspection cover.

There are photos of this exact issue here:
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/my-hybrid-hive-plastic-frames-and-flow-frames/8571


#14

I just remember they were running Technoset frames, so I found it quickly searching for that. Not sure how quickly I would have found it otherwise! :smiley:


#16

I also have one of the hybrids.
The bees are certainly busy with the 4 regular frames and have built the comb and filled it all with honey .
I have however did rob one of the flow frames so far and taken two of the regular fames as well .
I dont know if there is any rules to all of this.
I simply regularly watch the flow frames to see if full and monitor the 2 regular frames in the window .
What ever you do they seem to produce lotsa honey.


#17

Also- the flow frames have a lower rebate ‘rest’ at the back window side. The flow frames have different lower ‘lugs’ at that end than normal frames. On a full flow box there is basically no rebate at the back side- you could not put langstroth frames in a flow box as is.


#18

I had a look at the rebate on my full flow super compared to normal super and it appears about the same 15 mm approx.


#19

at the rear end of the Flow super- the frame rest is maybe 5-7mm lower than the frame rest at the other end. Have a look. If you tried to hang a standard frame there it would not hang straight. If you tried to hang a flow frame in a standard box- the back end would stick up higher than the box…


#20

Yes I see what you mean. I was measuring the front😋


#21

You can see the 3 frame flow hybrid super here- you need to scroll through the photos:

https://www.honeyflow.com/shop/flow-hive/flow-super/p/132

It would not be too hard to modify a standard box like this- you need to cut down the rear rebate in the centre- and cut out the rear removable door part for extractions- and install a metal strip at the bottom of where the three flow frames go. Ideally you would also want a window on the side. In any flow super the rear ends of the flow frames all touch each other creating a ‘window’ with no gaps. This means when you remove that rear panel there are no spaces where bees can get out whilst you do extractions. The metal strip at the bottom is important as well as there is a little gap created there between the bottoms of the flow frames- and the rebate in the lower brood box.


#22

Try putting plastic frames beside the flow frames. Apparently bee like waxed, flow and plastic… in that order. So, they might fill the flow frames before building out the plastic. It’s a theory anyways!

I’ve built/ adapted a couple of 10 frame langstroth boxes for 3 flow frames and 5 regular frames. Didn’t take any pictures during construction, just followed Cedar’s vid. The bees are working in the flow frames a little bit. Will check again tonight and report back.

I think the main thing with bees collecting excess honey (and this applies to the Half Hog people too) is that you need a REALLY strong colony. Just bursting at the seams!


#23

Hi Michelle here is photo of my hybrid I made from Cedars video and info in the manual that came with the flow hive super (pictured under the hybrid. It was a bit of mucking around, but not to hard, got the metal and wooden knobs from Bunnings. My bees had started to use the flow frames as you can see but lost interest instead preferring the wax frames. Cheers Tim


#27

Sting is correct
Just checked mine and they have started on the flow frames in the middle and there is less activity on the outer plastic frames.