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My bees aren't using the flow frames


Hello bee buddies-

I’ve had the flow frames super on my hive for 3 weeks and still no activity. Below the super I have 2
8-frame brood boxes full of lots of healthy brood pattern and lots of stored honey and the queen excluder. There’s even honey built above foundation on the wood frames. There are and have been a few curious bees up top, but not much activity aside from some propolis joining the flow frames together. I read lots of other similar topics, but everyone seems to have slightly different issues. A few days back I followed someone’s advice and put a q-tip with some lemongrass oil up top to entice them up. any other info would be greatly appreciated!

p.s. I live in California between SF and Sacramento and there are lots of trees and flowers in bloom and my bees are VERY active. They especially are loving the huge pepper trees in bloom behind my house.


No bees in the super
To add or not to add more frames in the brood box?

Its not really about enticement, they will use the Flow frames when they have to. Oversupply of nectar is what it is about. They will move up after they have exhausted all the space in the brood boxes just give them time. I should add that it is not guaranteed, if you have a large amount of bees to feed then they may be consuming their honey stores as fast as they bring it in. have you checked all the frames in your brood boxes? Are they all full i.e. brood, pollen and honey?


Yes, i’ve checked them and all the frames are built out with comb. Lots of healthy brood, pollen and honey. Don’t know what else to do aside from waiting.


There is not much else you can do, if there is a nectar flow that continues then they will use the frames. I generally leave my Flow frames off the hive until I see all frames are full (no nectar, just capped honey) and burr comb under the roof with nectar being stored there, that way I know they are honey bound. Then the Flow goes on and they begin within a day or two, but there must be a strong nectar flow from the trees in your area to sustain the bees to store a surplus.


I’m going to do an inspection tomorrow so I can see the update and get back to you with how much honey/pollen/nectar/brood i see. thanks for the info!


Some people have found that adding wax to the Flow frames can help quite a bit. There are a lot of ways to go about this. One is to melt wax and paint it on. However, I like the simplicity of Cedar Anderson’s (inventor of the Flow system) idea. He suggests just rubbing some old burr comb over the frames like a wax crayon, so it smells of bees. It doesn’t matter if it makes a sticky mess, the bees will clear it up.


I just took a bit of honeycomb out with the hive tool and spread it over the flow frame. Just like buttering your toast :wink: Did you check if they started closing the gaps in the cells with wax? That’s the first thing they’ll have to do.


I just replied to @Jstrano in another thread, he was asking about pollen patties and mentioned he wants to put his Flow supers on soon. I shared that it’s been noted a few times on the forum that bees propolizing the Flow frames is a sign they’re not in a position to make more stores…


It seems like you have see other other threads in regards to this, but just in case you haven’t seen this link - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/why-arent-my-bees-filling-the-flow-frames/p/194#a1


Hi Dawn-
I’m going to try this in a little bit. Do you suggest rubbing the old burr comb on each side of each frame or just simply one? I see that Cedar also suggest to just stick on a piece of burr comb on a frame and let the bees deal with it. Sorry for being so clueless, but when I have everything opened up I want to know exactly what my goal is going to be!


If I was going to try it, I would do both sides. You could stick some burr comb onto the frames too, if you have enough. I think the idea is just put enough hive smell onto the frames that the bees accept them faster.


This afternoon I peeked in the top of my super and on the side window and noticed the the bees are much more busy in the flow frame super. Most bees were in the middle few frames, but I couldn’t really tell how much work they had done. Through the side window I noticed that they had started to build the side walls of the cells on a small portion of what I could see. Very exciting!


My flow has been slow developing but it has been very hot here in North Florida. So they may spend time cooling off and bearding. So two months since putting in a nuc I have many bees working just not much honey


Hi Ryan-
I am a new beekeeper so my experience and knowledge are limited but I initially had the same with my Flow frames.

Someone on one of these forums pointed out to me that even if you have a robust hive the bees are not going to start depositing nectar in the honey super until they have filled all the cells in the brood boxes.

In addition, it looked from the side and end windows that nothing was happening but when I checked the frames all the activity was in the middle frames toward the front. So I have some beautiful comb and honey. Not sure if any had been capped yet because I have not checked in a while.

I did paint some beeswax on the frames but I am not sure if that is necessary.

Good luck



The super is still empty so I’m trying to encourage the girls :wink: