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Multiple Flow Frame supers per colony


#1

This is a question to the Flow Team, really.
Once nectar starts flowing bees need more than one super to mature and cap their honey. Last year I had six supers on one of my colonies before the bees started capping any.
It would mean that presuming I’m leaving one super for the bees over winter I would have to have four supers of flow frames…
Is there any way round this?


#2

This is from our FAQ’s page.

How many Flow™ boxes (supers) do I need per hive?
(Frequently Asked Questions)

One Flow™ super per hive is the simple answer as you can keep tapping off the honey which gives the bees room to keep working and making more honey. However, if you live in areas with a very high nectar flow, or if your existing beehives are particularly large, we would recommend you use two Flow™ supers or more. The Flow™ hive is new and we are interested in your feedback as to how many Flow™ supers are best in your situation.


#3

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#4

Yes, I understand that but how do you extract the honey in the supers under the flow frames?


#5

What I am trying to say is that here in the UK we have nectar flows when the bees make surplus. If foragers collect in dribs and drabs, when there is no such flow, they use it and any small surplus is stored in an arc over the brood in the brood frame.
When there is surplus to put in supers I have found that the bees will not cap one super for the beekeeper to take away to replace with an empty one. They will work on a stack fairly commonly waiting till the last moment to cap the lot. Sometimes the odd frame is capped and the beekeeper has to amalgamate the boxes to get an extractable one.


#6

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#7

Sorry I don’t mean to sound incomprehensible.
I’ll try to explain. You have a super which the bees are filling. It has flow frames in it.
They won’t cap it because they need more space to reduce the water content, i.e. another super.
I then add another super and then maybe another.
Yes, I can swap frames over as you suggest and that works very well but I have only one Flow Frame super so unless I have ALL my supers equipped with Flow Frames I will have to extract the ordinary frames in the normal way.

Most years I’ll have three supers on each colony.
Last year, as you know was an exceptional year for honey but no OSR here, just Bramble, Rosebay and Balsam.


#8

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#9

Can you explain the reasoning behind the flow going at the very top? Versus supering over the flow super?


#10

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#11

I guess my thinking would be that I would want the most energy put into the flow frame and filling and capping that first so that it could be drained more quickly. Then the additional supers would really be more back up rather then the focus of their energy. Would it work that way? or is there a flaw in that logic somewhere?


#12

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#13

Got it that makes sense. Thanks.


#14

Blimey Dexter, I wish mine would. They start backfilling the brood.
I think under supering is the right way to go if the frames are yet to be drawn otherwise it doesn’t
matter.


#15

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#16

each hive needs inspecting, rather than presuming that all hives will be the same
Absolutely agree.
I like the log analogy, another super is extending the log which in nature would be bigger than they need at any one time, enabling them to make comb as they need it. In a managed hive, of course, they don’t have that space till you add it.
All I know is that my bees won’t cap super stores while there is a flow on, preferring to bring in the nectar. I have to read them to know when to give more space or they backfill the brood nest, become honey bound and make swarm preps.
I’m interested in adding some Flow Frames to the association apiary. Most of the founder members are real stick-in-the-muds and getting them to embrace poly hives has been an uphill battle even though as a generalisation, as most conies are on OMF, bees do better in them.
I am trying to get to grips with the limitations of the Flow system as it applies to me and it appears that most of the frames will still have to be extracted in the traditional way with a spinner.


#17

I was thinking about this too. As we all know…adding supers during a flow enables the bees to readily store the nectar. Depending on humidity, temperatures etc…they will then cap them as the moisture content reduces. You have to give them enough space to evaporate the moisture too. I have noticed that the central frames always get capped first. So perhaps there is a case for putting 3 flow frames in the centre of each super…when they are stacked on a good flow. You may still end up with 3 or 4 supers but will be able to extract as the centre ones are capped. This will possibly reduce the number of supers required.


#18

I’m waiting for my hive so I’m brand new at all this…

I’m in Central Victoria Australia

So My brood box on the bottom is full and I’ve got my flow super on top of that and its filling up fast because I’ve got the hive right next to good bee fodder. To ensure that my bees keep working I wait for the 1st super to almost fill and then I add another super on top? The flow continues and when the second super is getting close to full will I be able to drain the 1st during a heavy flow or will it still be uncapped or unripe? Will I need to add a third super?

If I can drain the first super do I need to rearrange the place in the stack? For that matter when I add a super should I add the empty super underneath the almost full one?


#19

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#20

For me one of the selling points of the flow hive was the elimination of having to open the hive to extract the honey. Meaning we didn’t need to disturb the bees.

Do we need to open the hive before cracking the frames? Is opening it enough or do we need to pull a frame or to out to see how they are going.

I know the brood needs to be inspected but this is not a super frequent thing?