Nervous about packed Hive

I haven’t posted here since my beginning , where I offered some info I though might be worthwhile to people and got abused! So I have not been back. My local beekeeper isn’t really interested in helping me and I live in a small rural town. On inspecting my brood box , I have found it is completely full, in fact removing the frames to check them tears off honey comb they have built out. They have not ventured into the flow frames. There are heaps of them on top of the QE but don’t seem to want to go up. I took some advice from a poster on here last week and turned the QE 15 degrees to allow some to venture up. No luck. I might try to rub the frames with the excess comb as suggested. They seem to be busy and building comb dverywgere but where they should be.
Also. Do the flow frames come set at the proper alignment for the bees to start building- or am I supposed to do something to them ? It is quite hard to know if I am doing the right thing. Does anyone have an online mentor? The guy here just doesn’t seem interested. He sold me the NUC, but I haven’t seen him since and he doesn’t answer my calls.

Hi Isabelle,

If you posted a photo of the flow frames from the side people could tell you if they are alligned.

As for the bees using the flow frames, I tried rubbing with wax and honey to no avail. what worked for me was:

Remove one of the worker brood frames from the brood box (and shake off all the bees in case you have the queen on it). Replace this with an empty foundation (or foundationless) frame. Then remove one of the flow frames in the super and put in the brood frame. This will draw bees up through the excluder to look after the brood, and they will start working on adjacent flow frames.

Once the bees are working the flow frames and the brood has emerged, then the standard frame can be removed and the flow frame replaced.

This year, the bees went straight up and started working as soon as I put it on.

I find the people on this forum are very supportive and I use them as my online mentors all the time :slight_smile:

What I find really useful is to photo each frame when I do a brood inspection. I can then post photos here for feedback. The experts on here can spot if there are any issues and advise if you have an excess, or not a lot of bees - which massively influences if or when they move up into the super (or if they are likely to swarm etc).

Good luck with it all!



Hi Isabelle, is there a bee club near you? You might be able to find a mentor at a bee club. Is there any other beekeepers you can call so you can offer to pay for tuition? Actually I believe that Flow has a lot of free learning videos on line.

Forget about the bloke who wont answer your calls.

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Thanks so much for your reply! :smiley::+1::honeybee:

Isabelle Dabrowski

Thanks for that. I might see. I think the closest is adelaide at 150kl away :disappointed:

Isabelle Dabrowski

You are welcome Isabelle, I think a good place for you to start would be the flow learning videos. I haven’t seen them myself. I only saw them mentioned in the forum.

I’m not sure if Flow still promotes foundationless frames for the brood, however I’m a fan of frames with properly fitted wax foundation.

Hi Isabelle, a packed hive is the sign of a healthy colony and is what you should expect from your bees. It is unlikely that your hive will swarm this year if your queen is this years queen. Don’t be afraid to trim any comb off around the brood frames, this will make it easier for you to manage, drop into a bowl and takeaway from your hive to prevent any robbing behaviour from any other colonies in the vicinity. You may need to be a little brutal, breaking comb to get at your brood box is sometimes necessary. Be careful with the queen excluder, do not allow any gaps where the queen could pass through, this is very important.
Considering that you are concerned your bees are not going into the Flow super, can you tell us what your brood frames are looking like. i.e. are the bees depositing honey where the queen should be laying? Across the brood frames the workers will leave a half moon shaped area in the middle of the frames for the queen to lay, if this area is filled with honey then this will be an issue. Otherwise if it is full of all stages of brood (eggs, larva & capped pupating) then all good. This will help us here to guide you.
There is a good FAQ section to help you entice the bees into the Flow super, I recommend you also give this a try… make sure the hole in the Inner Cover has been closed off to prevent the bees laying down comb in the roof as this will deflect them from getting the Flow frames ready.


I would say it may still be a little too early in the season here in SA to start worrying. give the bees another 4 weeks and you will probably see more activity in the flow super. They won’t put one drop of honey in until they have more than they need down below.

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I would say you need to clean up the frames so you can inspect them. It can appear a brutal job but it must be done. You could rub some of that wax and honey on the flow frames to try and start interest in the bees. However, if there is not a flow on then they will not be interested in a honey super.

You must ensure your QE is fitted correctly, you don’t want brood in your flow frames.

Also put a tile over the hole in the inner cover to stop the bees getting into your roof cavity, you don’t want them building up there.

Take plenty of photos of your hive, the entrance traffic and frames and post them so we may be able to help you more.



Thanks for that. I will take some photos when I inspect next. Thanks for your help. It is great

Isabelle Dabrowski

Ok. Thanks. I will have more patience :smiley::+1:

Isabelle Dabrowski

I too live in a small town and after telling my local beekeeper that I was using the Flowhive came with another beekeeper, had a laugh and told me in no uncertain terms that, it was never going to work.
After having his say, wants nothing to do with me and won’t even sell me a queen.

That was last year and now the bees are going gang busters and I learn a lot online. I’ve modified my Langstroth hives and have been stung many times.
I too wish I could actually speak to someone near by but nobody is interested.

Be persistent and don’t give up.


For people without mentors for whatever reason. Bees are just bugs and pretty simple. Keep the hive strong, don’t have the entrance too big (you need it busy), don’t over rob them (they need to eat too), keep the frames cleaned up, open the brood in spring and don’t be afraid of adding a second brood box if necessary.

Don’t worry about those that want nothing to do with your flow hive, its just a harvesting system.



Ok. Thanks

Isabelle Dabrowski

Yes. My experience exactly.
At least he sold me a NUC but that was it.
Country towns are funny. Unless you are born here they don’t have much time for you. We have moved here to retire. A two acre property which I have planted up with lots of plants. So the bees are pretty happy.
I will continue to read a lot and ask questions.
Thanks for your support :smiley::+1::honeybee:

Isabelle Dabrowski


Thanks Rob :+1:

Isabelle Dabrowski

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Interesting you say that.

When we bought the property from a farmer many people wanted to know what we did and who we are. We then got cheated by a couple of cunning farmers and are now left alone. Thankfully.

The farmers all complain about no new blood coming to town. They like to take money by selling their excess land to city dwellers then just ignore them.

We now been here for 20 years and know enough decent people.

Exactly. Many of these old towns are dying and it would be good if they made outsiders feel welcome.
We keep to ourselves most of the time.
You would almost be a local after 20 yrs. lol

Isabelle Dabrowski

The same farmers probably welcome the likes of volunteer groups such a Blaze Aid after a natural disaster. Then after they have left, never give them a second thought. I hope I’m wrong.

Hmmm - I hope not as well

Isabelle Dabrowski