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Need advice about timing



I am writing from outside Boston, MA USA. The weather has been spectacular.

I installed my flow frames about 10 days ago. I painted them with some wax from the hives and some purchased. Around the same the same time I ended up removing two frames of brood (one looked to have queen cells and got the advice from this forum to remove) and a frame of honey and put them into a nuc and put in three new frames with wax foundation in the top brood box.

The hive is very robust. Bottom box has lots of brood and nice patterns. Top box has 3 frames of capped honey. The three new frames all have drawn comb and some nectar.

I see bees crawling on the flow frames but do not see any evidence that they are deposing any nectar. Can someone give me a general idea of how long it takes the bees to prep the flow frames and what I should be looking for to know that they are doing that.

Much appreciated.


I had the same concern when installing my flow frames. It took about two weeks possibly three before seen anything. They needed to go in and fill all the joints to keep Honey from flowing elsewhere

Even after three weeks it was still hit miss on whether or not they were really taking to it

Then I saw this, was very pleased. But for whatever reason I would see honey like this at the end of the frame go back the next day and it would be gone I guess they’re moving it around I don’t see yet seeping through the unsealed joints. For moves around at the end of the frame.

Starting to fill up all of them now looking much better I’ll see about taking the photos this afternoon and possibly posting


Just want to make sure I understand your hive setup. You have 2 brood boxes with a Flow super on top? Are both of those brood boxes bursting with bees when you inspect them? You said the top box has 3 frames of capped honey, but does it have a lot of open or empty cells too?

The reason for my questions is that the bees will probably not use the Flow super until they have almost run out of space in the other two boxes, and they have enough bees to defend the honey stored in the Flow super. If the two brood boxes are full, then the speed with which they will fill the Flow super is going to depend on the current nectar flow. Great weather doesn’t always mean good nectar flow, as we can readily tell you in California… :hushed: If your local beekeepers say that there is a good nectar flow at the moment, then you should see the Flow super fill up over two to six weeks, depending on colony strength and remaining space in the brood boxes.


I’m going to say it’s too late. If there is nothing in the Flow super at this point put it away until next April. If both brood boxes (I use 3 in NJ) are packed with bees, comb, and resources, think about adding another conventional box, size doesn’t matter, for the bees to store the fall flow. It’s unlikely that they will cap it though, maybe a frame or two. We’re coming into the summer dearth and the bees are going to burn through some of the stores they have. They’ll replenish that with the fall flow (you guys have an awesome goldenrod and aster bloom). Also, very soon it is time to deal with mites so you have healthy, fat bees going into fall/winter.


Everything depends on the flow. A strong flow and a weak flow and no flow are totally different outcomes. There is no simple answer as to “how long” in beekeeping… other than raising queens and when eggs hatch etc…


Thanks for the response. That is encouraging.

Can you post a picture of what your frames look like through the side window. I keep think that I
did not reset or adjust them appropriately.


Thanks for this response and the clarifying question about the

I did add a couple of empty frames to the top box when I removed one that I thought had queen cells into a nuc (I also moved another frame with lots of brood). The have drawn comb but not all of the cells are completely full. Very helpful!

Also, another question from a new beekeeper… how do you know when there is a good nectar flow?


here is two photos, one a few days after I set the flow frames in place and the other just taken about one hour ago.

also here is a link to all my photos I have uploded to photo site thus far. I have quite a few more to upload.


You need local knowledge and observation of your hive. If your bees are piling in honey, and lots of it is uncapped, you have a good nectar flow. The best way to know is to ask your local beekeeping society, or a local bee supply store with helpful staff. They can certainly tell you.



Please expand on you know if you’ve got a good nectar flow. More particularly about the uncapped honey. This is the 1st I’ve heard of this. With my flow frames/hive inspection last week, my guess is it was 90% full of honey and only 10 or 15% of that was capped and I’m talking all the frames.

An additional but similar question do bees move the honey around with in the hive/flow frame. I will open up the rear access panel of the flow frame and see honey deposited in several of the cells. Look again the next day and it’s no longer there. Other cells have honey in them and then the next day that will be moved or gone again. Not understanding this at all.

At 1st and it still may be the case I thought they had not filled the comb all that well and it was dripping through. I don’t see evidence of that fluid on the cells below where they had 1st deposited so I don’t believe it’s dripping through.


If they are not reset the caps won’t fit…


Just think about it simply. Nectar is about 30 to 70% water. Capped honey is under 20% and usually under 18% water. Bees have to spend quite some time fanning and concentrating the honey before they can cap it. If there is a strong flow, there will be lots of uncapped stores, because they won’t have had time to fan it enough to ripen it all. They will get there eventually, but during a strong nectar flow, you will see a lot of uncapped stores compared with during a dearth.

Yes, they do this all the time, especially if it isn’t capped, but they even move capped honey.


Or, think about it like this: you have a huge family & there’s a special on lunch meat at the store (…and they only eat sandwiches), but only for a limited time. And you can’t go shopping again until you empty your cart. You’re a bread baker so no worries about enough bread. You take home all you can fit in your cart, slap it all down on some more of the bread you have ready, & run back to the store for more sandwich makings while somebody deals out more bread so you can fling out lunch meat…nobody worries about capping those sammies until the special’s off!


So my flow frames are about 80-90 full of honey of that only about 10-20 capped all that in just over 7 weeks. What is that saying if anything?

Dearth? I don’t thing it has started yet?


It is saying you have had a fantastic nectar flow recently, which may even be continuing now. They haven’t dried it down enough to cap it yet - could take a week or two more.


WOW!! That’s what I was hoping to hear. Certainly not totally what I was expecting 2 months ago. There is still so much to learn.

If there’s another post to this next question is let me know I would rather not mix threads here.

Where would I find the thread on feeding bees their own honey back in the winter.


Exciting update from me. I have been seeing lots of activity on the outside frame (through the window) but no evidence of any nectar deposits- when I look from the end. I checked the frames yesterday and was so pleased to see the attached photos. Beautiful comb and lots of honey. No capping yet but they are clearly working on it!


Beautiful photos. Thank you for the update. :heart_eyes:


I will be in Boston, starting Saturday and thru Friday for a conference. I know I will have some down time. Would really enjoy meeting up with people that have bee’s and the Flow Frames to see there setup and just chat. Let me know if interested. I will not have a car. I will have to use uber or mass transit some how. Let me know, would be cool.