I’m from the far south coast of N.S.W. And a recent purchaser of a flow hive.
A wild swarm was placed in the brood box nearly 3 months ago and they got to work building comb straight away, and now the brood box is completely full of comb, brood and looks very healthy.
My problem is although there is an increasing number of bees in the super they appear to be sightseeing only.
I’ve noticed no bees a returning to the hive with pollen for the hive, perhaps the reason is an absence of a lot of pollen.
As a total novice I’m not sure why they are not placing honey stores in the super.
Would love some advice with this problem.
For a new hive I would not be surprised that ther is no honey in the super. They will be using it to build their population, we only get their excess. Also, remember the rule that you don’t rob a first year hive, let it build up before working it.
You will need to do a brood inspection to make sure that all of the comb on the frames is fully built. Sometimes what you see on top of the frames is different to how it appears. Make sure that the combs have a good % of worker comb & that all of the combs are positioned nicely in the frames with no cross combing. This is assuming that you used all starter strips.
Once your hive has a really good worker population, they will take advantage of any honey flow & quickly fill your honey super for you.
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. May just leave this season to let it build up.
Combs are fully filled but not essentially straight.
The other thing that many have found useful is to put some hive wax onto the Flow frames. Some do this by melting wax and painting it on. Others just rub some wax or even burr comb onto the plastic surface. It makes a bit of a mess, but the bees tidy it up. More importantly, it puts hive pheromones and a hive “smell” onto the plastic, encouraging the bees to accept it faster.
If you leave them to build up this season, be prepared to put another box on the hive otherwise you may have them swarming. The thing with this is to leave the stores for the bees’ use, in a good season you can often sneak a frame or two for yourself though
Hi Dave. Just a couple of tips: Make sure the vast majority of the brood is worker brood. Also be careful with the crooked comb. Put it back in the way it came out, otherwise if you put them back in with combs touching each other in places, especially brood, the beetles will seize the opportunity to lay eggs in those areas.
Jeff, this is a complicated thing to understand from written words. Any chance that you and the lovely Wilma could make a video to demonstrate the concept at some point? Thank you in advance, and love you both!
Hi Dawn:) many thanks. The feeling is mutual.
To try & explain: If the bees go off track with a comb, they will follow suit with the next one & so on. You can imagine if they weren’t put back in the same way, there could be a circumstance where the brood was touching each other, not allowing a bee space for the bees to work that brood. In that case a mated beetle could crawl in under that brood without getting chased by workers. Thus giving the beetle an opportunity to lay eggs. That situation could be compounded if the beekeeper squashed some bees between those touching combs. The workers find it hard to remove those bees that are squashed between combs, giving the beetles an added opportunity to lay eggs.
Someone could reply by saying “I use beetle traps!!!”. However it only takes one mated female that didn’t get trapped to start the ball rolling & eventually slyme a hive out.
I’ll give that a try and see if that helps. Lots of SHB present at the moment I’m being diligent to eradicate as many as I can.
I’m sure things will improve as summer kicks in but as suggested best to let first season bees with their honey.
Hi There. I had a similar problem. I put the bees in at the start of Jan 2016 and they took 9 months to start using the honey super. I didn’t put any wax on the Flow frames, but just trusted they would eventually take advantage of them. When winter came I put a sheet of plastic on top of the brood frames, as I do with my other hives and found burr comb there. After that I noticed they started to use the Flow frames. Best wishes
Hi Ed, oh wow, that’s not from your hive, surely? We’re into SHB activity around here at the moment, it’s become hot & humid, just the conditions they love.
Anyone around here with flow hives will need to watch the sbb for debris buildup because they lay eggs in that.
It’s mine from last year. I took the super off and waited too long to extract. There must have been beetle eggs in there that hatched.
I never would have thought that they were up your way, even during the summer. I’ve been telling folks in the U.K. that they shouldn’t have anything to worry about in relation to SHB. Maybe I’m wrong.
I’m having to clean the debris off the bottom boards because a couple of weak colonies absconded on account of shb grubs in the debris. The strong colonies get rid of it before it builds up. I was all set to get some bees to strengthen a weak colony yesterday, but I was too late. The weak colony absconded, I’m guessing because of shb grubs in the floor debris.
Please have a read through this topic for more options to encourage the bees to use your Flow Frames.